Translated by Sandy Lau
A Lantern Festival At Tokyo Station? 5 Events We'd Love To Have In Tokyo
Written by Chu
With an influx of population and a sharp increase in tourists, there are more people than ever in Tokyo. Popular seasons and events draw an immense crowd to areas such as Asakusa and Shibuya. But what would you do if these places were empty?
Tokyo's population density is over 9,000 people per square kilometer, with around 14 million international tourists visiting each year. The city is ranked fourth in global city rankings.* Listed below are some of the most popular areas in the bustling metropolis, with large crowds going to and coming from these spots daily.
・ Sensoji Temple's Kaminarimon
・ Shibuya Scramble Crossing
・ Showa Kinen Park
・ Tokyo Station Plaza
・ Meguro River
Suppose these popular sightseeing spots were to become empty of people, allowing you to do whatever you wished. Have you ever considered what you would do?
Today, we introduce activities that would be fun to try in these five spots. While these are merely the fantasies of our MATCHA editors, it would be nice if they could come true someday!
Based on results of the A.T. Kearney Global Cities Index, a comprehensive ranking of major international cities based on economic, societal, and cultural factors. See more: https://www.atkearney.com/global-cities/2019
１. Track and Field Events at Sensoji Temple Kaminarimon
Sensoji Temple's Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) and Nakamise-dori Shopping Street are spots you should visit in Asakusa. Both areas are bustling with visitors—regardless of day or night. Here, you'll see countless people taking photos with their cameras or smartphones of the famous sights.
What if a track and field competition was held at Kaminarimon? Tons of people would surely enter the games!
The course would run from Kaminarimon to the backstreets of Asakusa, north of Sensoji Temple. This course would make it possible to experience both the crowds of Asakusa and the calm of the streets behind Sensoji.
Sensoji Temple is lit up daily from sunset to around 23:00. The temple grounds illuminated by the lights create a romantic atmosphere. Pay a visit during the illuminations when you have a chance to visit Sensoji Temple.
２. Dodgeball at Shibuya Scramble Crossing
Shibuya Scramble Crossing, used by approximately 500,000 people per day, is an iconic crosswalk with the highest amount of traffic in the world. Over 1,000 people cross from all directions each time the traffic signal turns green.
Now, if we were able to take advantage of the shape of the intersection, then we may be able to have a dodgeball tournament with Shibuya as the backdrop! It would certainly send shockwaves to the world!
Shibuya is actively growing, with new commercial buildings being constructed one after the other. SHIBUYA STREAM, a commercial complex with shops and restaurants, and Shibuya Scramble Square, the tallest building in the district, are new symbols of the vibrant Shibuya area.
After you've snapped a picture of the scramble crossing, make sure to visit these energy-filled spots.
３. Group Jump Rope Among the Gingko Trees in Showa Kinen Park!
Showa Kinen Park in Tachikawa City has flowers that bloom throughout the year, allowing visitors to interact with nature while still being in Tokyo. You can admire the cherry and rapeseed blossoms in the spring and sunflowers and hydrangeas in the summer. In autumn, there are cosmos, gingko trees, and maple trees. Alternatively, there are plum blossoms and camellia flowers in winter.
Flowers can be enjoyed each season at Showa Kinen Park. However, autumn is when the park sees a significant upsurge in tourists. This is when the grounds become colored in the glistening yellow of the gingko trees.
The second you see the rows of gingko trees and their sparkling yellow leaves, the word "beautiful" will escape from your mouth. Next, you will instinctively pull out your phone from your pocket and begin taking pictures.
It would be wonderful to have a large group jump rope under the rows of glittering yellow gingko trees. As the gingko leaves flutter upon kicking the ground, it will transform the scene into a vibrant and whimsical sight.
４. Release Lanterns at Tokyo Station After a Rainy Day
Tokyo Station is an important traffic hub that is serviced by the East Japan Railway (JR East), Shinkansen (bullet train) lines, and the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line. Over 3,000 trains run through the station per day. It's not an overstatement that you'd be able to travel all across Japan from this one station.
The large lobby in front of Tokyo Station's Marunouchi exit was designed by Kingo Tatsuno, a Japanese architect. This red-brick building—inspired by neoclassical architecture—gives it a calm, dignified ambiance.
If it were possible to fulfill our dreams at Tokyo Station, our writer would like to stand in the pools of water reflecting the station on an evening after a day of heavy rain. This lovely scenery would be unforgettable.
If we were able to release lanterns here, they would beautifully shine in the otherworldly puddles that have gathered rainwater after the storm. This unparalleled view would surpass the scale of the Pingxi Tengu Festival, a famous lantern festival in Taiwan.
５. Dragon Boat Race during Cherry Blossom Season at Meguro River
Meguro River is a famous cherry blossom spot where approximately 800 cherry trees have been planted across 3.8 kilometers (around 2.3 miles). Come spring, the rows of blossoms almost resemble a pink dragon nodding its head and wagging its tail with delight at the sight of visitors.
Both sides of the river are lined with Japanese restaurants, izakaya (Japanese pubs), and Italian eateries that serve delicious food.
When the sun sets, enjoy the night cherry blossom viewing along the Meguro River. Filling the area with an air of elegance, it differs from its appearance in the day with this romantic atmosphere. If it were possible to have Dragon Boat Races (*1) on the lovely Meguro River, then Qu Yuan (*2) would have participated as well.
*1 Dragon Boat Race: a Taiwanese custom that takes place on dragon boats on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar.
*2 Kutsugen (Qu Yuan): a politician during the Warring States period of China. The custom cherishes the memory of Qu Yuan, who committed suicide, on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar in Taiwan. He is thought to have begun the custom of dragon boat races.
Dream in Tokyo
In Taiwan, there's a popular saying that "dreams are followed by hope." What we introduced in this article are merely the dreams of our MATCHA editors, but wouldn't it be fantastic if any of these events actually happened in real life?
We have introduced the best possibilities that feature the unique qualities of each spot. It would be great if these dreams were to come to fruition someday in the future!
Illustration courtesy of Rainwood
Photos by Pixta