Empty Tokyo, New Year’s Eve

Spending the New Year in Tokyo: if you’re Japanese/ a native Tokyo-ite, you’ll be packing up to visit home. Professionals don’t get too many holidays a year, and the new year is an acceptable time to go home and spend time with the family.

For foreigners, Tokyo becomes their playground. Visitors come to dance the night away in Tokyo’s amazing musical venues; to gorge themselves on sushi, ramen, soba, okonomiyaki, and shop the year’s sales. You’ll notice more Chinese, English, and South Asian tourists, but when it came time to pre-game and prepare to ring in the new year, the usually busy and bustling subways emptied out and left me to my journey back to the hotel.

It was a bizarre respite: Tokyo had been a constant buzz of activity, of embarrassing excuse me’s as I forgot to stay left, not right, up the stairs; of nodding my head and bowing slightly when I bumped into others, overwhelmed by lights, stairs, arrows, signs, crowds of people, other confused tourists.

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Started my journey home from Shibuya, when stores started closing around 8PM.
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A 24 hour tourist ticket for the Tokyo Subway and Toei lines.
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The last Tokyo-ites heading home on the Hanzomon line.
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On the platform to transfer to the Shinjuku line
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Exiting the Shinjuku line, passing an empty ticket kiosk.
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Entrance to the JR station.
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Tokyo is great at symmetry.
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A New Year ornament decorates a Tokyo Metro office.
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The colors palette in Tokyo is always so thoughtful; even public utilities have a stylish scheme.
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This could be a great hallway for a horror movie. Many subways have underground passages to helpfully direct you past outdoor traffic and to main commercial streets.
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Pedestrian passage
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The pedestrian exit all the way from Bakuroyokoyama drops me off in front of my hotel.

 

 

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