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Friday, December 30, 2005

Tokyo Luminarie

東京 ルミナリエ

(Click on pix to expand)

Luminarie, Marunouchi, Tokyo.A friend and I headed out to Marunouchi (the Tokyo Station area) tonight to see the Luminare (loo-mee-nah-ree-eh) display of lit-up arches that has been a New Year spectacle here since just under a decade ago. Kobe seems to have been the first city to start the tradition, with Tokyo then following suit.

It was another beautiful balmy winter evening with, at 7 degrees C (45 degrees F), a bit of a chill in the air, but not enough to really feel. Needless to say the whole area was swarming with people, and the body of people walking up to the Luminarie boulevard was a massive one.

The boulevard is, by day, a high-class shopping street of high street brand-name boutiques, that at New Year, by night, becomes a stretch of densely, intricately and brilliantly lit-up arches that seem to go on forever. We joined the human river and moved gradually closer. The scores of obligatory crowd control personnel were out in full force shouting through megaphones, but otherwise making no difference whatsoever to what the crowd would be doing were they not being shouted at.

Luminarie, Marunouchi, Tokyo.The spectacle of the glittering arches was captivating, but just as eye-catching was the sight of hundreds upon hundreds of mobile phones being raised to take pictures. The glowing screens looked for all the world like a modern-day candle procession and added an almost devotional element to the atmosphere.

We moved slowly through. To be honest, when my friend had first suggested going, I of course agreed, but nevertheless thought idea of lit-up archways was rather cheesy. I had to admit to myself, though, that it really was quite a sight – even if ten minutes of it is enough.

We then wandered along the dozens of shops that nestle under the Japan Rail tracks between Tokyo and Yurakucho stations looking for somewhere to eat. Spoilt for choice, we found a likely looking Korean restaurant called Totori. It was way the best Korean food we’d had for a long, long time. Check it out. (Click on card and map below).
Totori Korean restaurant card.
Totori Korean restaurant map.

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