Thursday, 4 December 2014

Tokyo Night Walk: Shinjuku Southern Terrace

EMU JR East E351 series, "Super-Azusa" stands at Shinjuku Station
Once again, it is the season of "street illuminations" in Japan. We can see a lot of beautiful decorations on the urban streets, which are nicely illuminated by millions of LED lights. It is not known exactly what the origin of this event was; but I think that it can be traced to the Christmas lights to attract customers to shopping malls.

Today, I am going to show you the illuminations on the Southern Terrace near Shinjuku Station first. You can see train passengers passing through the illuminated street, called "Minamillumi" at this time of year. I think that this year's illuminations are simple, but more sophisticated than last year. A glowing clock on the Docomo Tower Building can also be seen behind the illuminated street.

After enjoying the street illuminations, I saw a limited express train, Super-Azusa, the EMU E351 series, standing at Shinjuku Station. This train was launched in 1993 for passing through tight curves at high speed in the mountain ranges on the Chuo Line. Just before entering the tight curves, the train automatically tilts its body to mitigate the centrifugal force. A total of 12 sets (8-car and 4-car trains), 60 units, have been manufactured so far by Nippon Sharyo and Hitachi.

Recently, JR East made a press release announcing that a new express train, the EMU E353 series would be launched on the Chuo Line soon. The E351 series is not going to be operated for very long.

Night view of the Southern Terrace in front of Shinjuku Station