Sadly, some of the largest and most beautiful light displays in Tokyo will not be held this year. Both Takashimaya Times Square and Ebisu (both famous for Christmas lights) have decided not to do them. I didn't find out why, but I assume it's either because of the earthquake, power saving or money issues. Too bad. Those were two I always look forward to.
Times Square may be out of the running, lights wise, but the Southern Terrace still has some lights on display. I shot this one the other day.
The theme seems to be Tanabata and...penguins. Perfect fit. Um, yes. There's also this lighted up archway near Krispy Kreme where you and your significant other can embarass yourselves in front of strangers by holding hands under the arch and touching these two sensors (one on each side of the couple). If you're meant to be together and get married, it starts to glow white or pink and you hear wedding bells. If you aren't, well a red light shines and you hear "wahh wahh wahhhhhh" music. Romantic, innit?
Still in the vicinity of Shinjuku station, I shot these pics over at Mosaic Street near the Odakyu line (southern exit of Shinjuku Station).
Not a huge display, but the lights are still nice. It closes down after 10, though, so if you show up after the shops close, you won't see anything but a white barricade blocking the trees. Voice of experience, here. There's also a cute little Christmas display window as you go down the hill towards the west exit.
I also went out to Roppongi Hills (now that I live a stone's throw away) and took some pics of the annual Artelligent Illumination, or whatever it's called. It's beautiful, but they've done the exact same illumination for like, 3 years or more. Let me illustrate. This year:
And the same thing in 2009. The only difference is the lights on Tokyo Tower.
They're still beautiful to go see, especially when it rains. It makes for a nice walk down the hill back to Azabu. I recommend it to anyone who hasn't been. Another shot of the hills.
And finally, even small stations are doing illuminations (why oh why isn't Times Square? *cries*).
I may be far from home, but the spirit of Christmas finds me even here.
Next week when the huge illumination/sound experience that is Shiodome's light show starts up, I'll run over and snap some pics for the site. I went last year on a whim and loved it. Unfortunately, my camera ran out of batteries after about 6 shots and 30 seconds of video. I didn't want to stay another 30 minutes just to see it all again.
If you're interested, from December 6th, Shiodome Caretta will have it's annual illumination set to music composed by some famous violinist I'm too lazy to google. It's all choreographed so that the lights and music affect each other. Lasers, smoke machines and much more await you every half hour from 5 p.m., I believe. Let's all go out and enjoy!