This Writer Gal

Kakul Ehsan Butt

Tokyo: City of Neon Lights


April 2018 

Tokyo: City of Neon Lights

Tokyo blew my mind, like I knew it would. From its neon-soaked streets to centuries old shrines, the city offers both cutting edge future with loyal ties to its past. For every ultra-modern skyscraper, there is a shrine nearby. Where there are side-street eateries, offering local delicacy at an affordable price, there is a robot restaurant offering an acid trip without the drugs. The city provides an adventure at a dazzling height and so by the time you leave, you find yourself in quite a daze. Tokyo is more than just a world of Anime, Hello Kitty, Godzilla, K-pop, crazy fashion; it is an experience of a lifetime.

If you’ve seen the movie Blade Runner, or any futuristic Netflix dramas like Altered Carbon, you would not be the first person to make a mistake of believing you have entered the future. All that’s missing, are the flying cars, which I am sure will happen in the next few years. Travelling on an over ground tube from Asakusa to Shinjuku at night-time, I got an hour’s worth of city’s finest bright lights on display. Each district dazzled with neon billboards and lit up orange traffic cones on the roads. I saw traffic controllers with illuminating red stick that resembled a Jedi Knight’s light-sabre. There was not a single district I passed that was shrouded in darkness. Everything seems to be lit up at night as if to make a statement that the city does not sleep at all.

The world outside of Tokyo is much calmer and serene, and with no need for neon lights. On my way to see the Mount Fuji, I saw beautiful neighbourhoods, almost passing for display model homes. In Nikko, the way of life is slower than in Tokyo. Waiting at the train station, I marvelled at the forested mountains that surrounds Nikko. Lodged in the middle of the forested mountains is a shrine. I watched it as long as I could until darkness arrived and shrouded the Shrine from my vision.

Could I do Tokyo again? Of course, but only when Japan brings out the flying cars.

Click here to check my Tokyo itinerary for inspiration.


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