Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Annual Event in the Giant Earthquake Year

EMU JR East 209-1000 series leaves Omotesando Station, Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line

The winter illuminations are an annual event in Japan. We can see a lot of beautiful illuminations here and there. According to the media, over 70 percent of people said that illuminations reminded them of the approaching Christmas and New Year holidays.

In Japan, now there are about 2.6 million Christians in total. They make up only 2 percent of the population; however, Japanese people alternate between being Christians at Christmas and Buddhists at New Year - very flexible (!).

Joking aside, the most traditional and famous illuminations in the Tokyo metropolitan area are on Omotesando Avenue in a downtown area. Omotesando is a well-known fashion town, which was built 90 years ago.

Last week, I visited Omotesando Avenue on the way back home from my office. I saw many visitors, who were smiling and enjoying this annual event, the same as previous years (see the bottom photo). But, as you are aware, this is a special year in which we experienced the giant earthquake and tsunami on March 11th. Nearly, 20,000 people are dead or missing. Half a year ago, I couldn't imagine that the "Omotesando Illuminations 2011" would be able to be held on schedule. I am really pleased that we could hold this annual event peacefully, overcoming the electric power shortage after the nuclear power plant disasters in Fukushima.

For your information, to get to Omotesando Avenue, it is convenient to get off at Tokyo Metro Omotesando Station (see the top photo). 3 subway lines reach this station; they are Ginza, Hanzomon and Chiyoda lines.

"Omotesando Illumination 2011" is held near Omotesando Station, Tokyo Metro subway lines

More information about Omotesando: http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/attractions/omotesando/