Light and Darkness

Night shots in Japan

By Elena Lisina    - 3 min read

My first visit to Japan occurred in mid-September. I was very much surprised by the early darkness in the evening. At 6 pm it was dark and that darkness was really full and deep, not like were I am from. I later learned that the darkness came just 15 minutes after sunset.

Come nighttime, busy districts of large towns are illuminated with thousands of bright lights. From the heights of places like the observation decks of Tokyo Skytree or Tokyo Tower, the sight of the city at night is breathtaking and reminds me of a star lit sky. At night it’s good to head to Shibuya, Shinjuku or Akihabara and watch them sparkle with their neon advertising and big screens.

Night life in the cities seems to be busier than during the day and even the looks of the buildings and streets change. A few times I found myself a little lost and confused because of that change!

Nighttime illumination can be found in many places - central Osaka, the Minato Mirai district of Yokohama, Tokyo Dome City with its trees, the light and musical fountain of Hirose-dori in Sendai come to mind. Of course, that isn't a full list.

Night illumination changes the look of temples, castles and other buildings. In the daytime, Nagano's Matsumoto castle Karasu-jo looks dark, but at night the illumination changes it into light castle floating on water like a sailing ship. The temples and pagoda of Senso-ji in Asakusa look more attractive, at least for me, at night.

Many streets, however, soak into darkness at night. For instance, if you turn from Gion Shijo Street in Kyoto to some side street, you’ll be surprised by the sudden darkness. The contrast is quite dramatic! Streets of suburban districts, for example, have few bright lights with the bright spots being places like convenience stores and the few restaurants and bars that are open late. The countryside is usually pitch black...

I like night views very much and on evenings try to be in some light cheerful place with lots of people around. During hanami illuminated sakura trees are extremely beautiful and romantic!

Was this article helpful?

Suggest an edit

Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo! My photos from Japan I also place here: Matane!