Tokyo by Night

Japan often hails as “the land of the rising sun” but the sunset in my view as the car I am riding pass down the road with numerous Japanese signage in between towards the city of Tokyo is telling me that exploring it in daytime is not enough to appreciate its urban culture and places of interest.  Basking under the amber rays of sunset, it was the start of my night journey in exploring the chic city of Tokyo. From my sight, I can already see the high-rising skyscrapers of the city mushrooms in every block of the city. And the fast-paced life of people moves in the city where everything is in action. Yet I contemplate that behind everything that is cosmopolitan about Tokyo, its old charm of diverse culture and life continuous to enchant its visitors. 
       
The glowing Tokyo Tower.
Sumptuous treat courtesy of Kuya Sam.
The sunset just finished. And the sky now glows from light to dark violet, when we arrived at a park where there is a spectacular view of the Rainbow Bridge. It is a suspension bridge crossing northern Tokyo Bay between the Shibaura Wharf and the Odaiba waterfront development in Minato, Tokyo. I am wondering how it came to be known by that name, maybe because the arch of the bridge resembles the arch of a rainbow. The bridge is then illuminated with light as the night approaches.  I can’t recall the name of the park where I stay but the panoramic view of Rainbow Bridge facing over the Tokyo Bay with the skyscrapers of the city in the background is a perfect picture of Tokyo by night. The steel designed of Rainbow Bridge harmonizes with the skyline of central Tokyo. And the glitter of lights from the bridge and from the buildings adds a dramatic effect to the night view of Rainbow Bridge.

Tokyo Sunset - where our journey begins...
The Rainbow Bridge leading to the chic city of Tokyo as our backdrop.
The Rainbow Bridge's glow of colors.
It is the Rainbow Bridge that leads us to the chic city of Tokyo.  We drove crossed the bridge that is erected over Tokyo Bay.  The waters of the Tokyo Bay flashes light illuminated from the city buildings surrounding it. I appreciated it best this night time. There are lamps placed on the wires supporting the bridge, which are illuminated into three different colors - red, white and green.  Hence, the interplaying color of lights adorning the columns of Rainbow Bridge makes it majestic and beautiful. From a distance, I can already see the famous Tokyo Tower. And as we reach the end of the bridge we immediately proceed to Shibuya.

I believe it is around seven in the evening when we arrived.  It is still rush hour.  It is the time where the sea of people in Shibuya is overwhelming. It was overwhelming that I didn't dare to cross the famous intersection. The massive crowd of people of all walks of life - students, employees, young, old, expats, businessmen seems not to care as long as they cross Shibuya crossing to continue living in their urban life in Tokyo. I just stayed around the vicinity with my travelmates just to take in all this vibe of Shibuya's high city life - the air, the sea of people, the tall skyscrapers. It's a place where stop is not an option. All the while, the surrounding skyscrapers continue to flash various advertisements from three large TV screens of different products necessary to an urban life.  Brisk advertising in the exciting megacity of Tokyo is telling of its intense commerce.  Even the shopping malls seem to stimulate a brighter mood to take a second look at it.

Shibuya at night's scramble crossing.
Beware of getting lost, Shibuya is famous for its scramble crossing. In front of the Shibuya Station Hachikō exit, all vehicles stop in all directions to allow pedestrians to inundate the entire intersection.  Everything is moving and there is no slowing down of life in Shibuya. People are always seen in action here, whether walking fast, slowing down, talking to a phone, traveling with a dog or helping a foreigner for directions. Life seems unstoppable in Shibuya. They don’t seem to care if it's night time already as long as they move. 

Shibuya is Japan's version of New York Times Square. It is one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo and known as one of the fashion centers of Japan, particularly for young people, and as a major nightlife area too. It is skyscraper traffic out there too with its numerous buildings - from Shibuya's tallest Cerulean Tower to the trendy shopping place of Shibuya 109 up to NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building, the third-tallest building in Tokyo and patterned after the Empire State Building. Hence, I can conclude here that Tokyo is livelier in night time as more action is happening around the city.  I find it a unique experience to witness the fast and moving cosmopolitan life in Tokyo.

Roppongi Hills at Night.
The night seems to be young for us at Tokyo as we explore Roponggi, next.  Roponggi is another district in Minato, Tokyo.  True to what I heard it is famous for, it is home of active night club scene.  I saw bars and night clubs sprouting in every corner of Roppongi. The glittering lights and flashes of banners with Japanese characters from lined night clubs of Roppongi only add a colorful character in this district.   As I roam to its other side I saw that it is also home of many foreign embassies including ours. Sample the best coffee in one of the many quaint coffee shops while people watching is the simplest way to savor this district of Tokyo. Roppongi is a large district that I didn’t notice passing the famous Roppongi Hills - a massive shopping, housing, and dining complex as well as office spaces and Azabu area which are quieter commercial area of Roppongi Hills but also absorbed some of its vibrant commercial activity and nightlife. One could dream having a luxurious condo unit in Ropponggi Hills and throw private parties but simple flats is reported way too much pricey!

The Tokyo Tower in the city skylines.
My night roaming in Tokyo continues to a visit to Tokyo Tower. The tower is often identified to the city of Tokyo just like Eiffel Tower to Paris. But it is actually a communications and observation tower located in Shiba Park of Minato. Tokyo Tower looks burning at night as it glows in bright orange color lighting. Actually, it was my mom who burst in awe that it looks burning from the ground.  Its bright orange color simply standout in the night sky. There's an observation deck where you can have a 360 degree view of Tokyo which is best viewed by night.  I appreciate the night view of the city coupled by the glittering lights of the skyline. It somewhat set a romantic mood for me while viewing the city.  From the observation decks, there are corners where guide boards are located that will inform you about the view of the tower and retrieval of information regarding the city and the location you are viewing.  Tokyo Tower also houses coffee shops, souvenir boutiques, restos, museum and art gallery that makes it attractive for tourists to visit.

At the grounds of Tokyo Tower.
The steel structure of Tokyo Tower.
Tokyo Tower is famous in popular media culture as it is mostly used to locate a scene in Tokyo. In most Japanese animé (cartoons) or TV series that I have watched it is mostly used as a setting of the scene. So visiting the Tokyo Tower made me get some flashbacks of animé scenes that I have watched. I somehow feel that I have entered a scene in a Japanese animé or TV series. And it made me feel that I have stepped into a real life Japanese animé or TV series scene. Because of these strong recalls, it made me feel easily connected to the place.  Yet, I will never forget the bright orange glow of the tower amidst the dark sky. The sight of the tower is beholding that it stays in my memory vividly forever.

Tokyo by night was a great way to experience this chic city of Japan. I love the sight of Tokyo lit by numerous bright lights and flashes of neon colors. It elicits a moving mood. It makes me feel on the go. This is my firsthand experience of fast-pace urban living in Japan and I find this enigmatic and charming. Yet visiting this beguiling city is a discovery of its lively, artistic downtown neighborhoods and fascinating urban life.

End the night in Toyko at a kaiten-zushi.
But of course, daytime trip to the city has wonders to expect too. Best daytrip sightseeing are visits to Mount Fuji, experiencing cherry blossoms and walking inside the grounds of Sensōji Temple in Asakusa. But for now, I am satisfied being in the oasis of sparkling lights and bustling cosmopolitan night life of Tokyo while munching my crab sushi from a kaiten-zushi.

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Tokyo by Night is a recollection of my last trip to Tokyo, Japan in November 3-6, 2004 in which I experienced a memorable night tour of the city courtesy of Kuya Sam, a long-time Filipino Tokyo resident we met there. It was one of my last trips to Tokyo after 4 yearly concecutive visits since 2001 which made me missed Japan nowadays... longing for a future trip.

Some of the photos are credited to Thomas Driemeyer and Manisha Mahajan. 

Going Places: 3 years of travel, discover, experience and places...

Going Places is a travel blog with the goal of sharing the best travel experiences in each destination it features in a travel magazine-style and tell-all adventure writing.  Each destinations and places featured here is aimed to be discovered and promoted as an ideal travel destination. Travel is one great experience so a chance to see the world is a lifetime opportunity!

This travel blog would also like to encourage travel-trotters and readers to explore the beauty of the Philippines as an ideal travel destination too as there are wonderful 7,107 islands of the country waiting to be explored and experienced. Philippines is beyond the usual, experience it.

The best travel trips is shared with friends! (Puerto Galera, March 2008).
Part of the travel stories is family bonding. (Boracay, April 2008).
Going Places turns 3 this year. This blog started as a personal online diary back in 2004. But in September 2008, this blog rebirths into a full pledge travel blog because of the author's love for travel and writing. So why named and choose Going Places? The word "going" tells an action and moving actively and constantly synonymous to travel or "lakbay" or "byahe" in Filipino which is the essence and type of the blog while "places" refers to the destinations and places itself that this blog adventures and explores with. Going Places' name is a break-away from cliche blog titles to make it unique and one of a kind travel blog.

In 2009, Going Places started campaigning "Going Green", a travel for a cause campaign that promotes Green Travel - a way of travel with social responsibility of taking care and concern to the environment of the place that you are visiting. Learn more about the best of Going Places here.

Going 3!  Its time to take travel to the highest level! (Hawaii, August 2010).
This year, Going Places celebrates its 3 years of traveling and sharing the beautiful places it has featured through its travelogues. It's still like a dream that one can't imagine yet there still many goals that Going Places want to achieve. It has maintain it's motto of "travel", "places", "discover" and "experience" as travel lets you have great discoveries and great experiences in life that's why it adapted the slogan - Travel is an experience of a lifetime!

So what are you waiting for? Let's go places! And make travel as an experience of a lifetime!

Travel Show: Where's Tony?

Where’s Tony? is a weekly travel show which invites you to a wacky and one of a kind adventure. With a list highlighting the top things to see, to try, to eat, to experience and to discover in the featured destination.  It is hosted by none other than the witty and wacky DJ of Magic 89.9, Tonytony. With his crazy antics and daring pursuits in trying everything and anything in the name of adventure, you will be guaranteed of a one of a kind travel show.

First airing starts last March, I've been a follower of this show just recently before it ended its Season 1 airing. The charm of this show is not just the beautiful places that are mostly local provinces of the country it covers per episode but also of the wackiness of its fun hosts whose kinda naughty (hehe...), DJ Tonytony. As the teaser says, he will do anything and try everything in the name of adventure, you will expect a comedy-filled travel adventure with all of his crazy antics packed in this travel show!

What is also unique in this travel show is its injection of fun and comedy per episode that you wouldn't find boring to watch while you learn about the places it features. I also like the fact that they do interviews of local people in the province and featuring its local products to give viewers an authentic glimpse of what to expect in the place. They even feature out of the track sites to visit in the province.

TV Teaser

This travel show promises to take you on a wild ride travel experience to amazing destination of the country, from rustic to modern, from simple and mystic remote communities to grand spectacle of cultural festivals. It covers everything and anything that will catch the attention and tickle the curiosity of adventurous Pinoy. Watching this travel show like this has never been this fun and so good! 

Legazpi City, Albay episode

Quezon episode

Cebu episode

Where's Tony? airs every Monday, 11:30pm at Studio 23. Tonight, it will air its start of Season 2. Watch it. I highly recommend it for travel lovers! (Update: The show has postponed its pilot episode last night due to weather forecast coming to the country and schedule to resume on October 24, same time at 11:30pm, Monday at Studio 23)

Learn more about Where's Tony? by visiting its website. You may like its Facebook Page or follow it on Twitter.   

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