Sensory over load in the metropolis

Eager to make the most of our limited time in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo we head out into the bright lights of Shinjuku again.

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It’s a whirlwind of colour and sounds, endlessly scrolling sky high adverts and a flock of humans.

Coming from a tiny rural town in the midland of the UK, it is just about as far away from home as can ever be possible.

Every single wall, building, shop or arcade is an eyeball blasting shock of colour and pattern.

The proliferation of girly bars jar against the saccharine sweet, relentlessly cute decor and plastic tat vending machines that seem aimed at children.

Moving on just slightly we come to Kabukicho – the largest red-light district in Japan, without the official red-light prostitutes. Instead, it is full of host and hostess clubs, bars, and love hotels.

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Godzilla rears his huge head above the skyline to once again terrorise the city’s inhabitants.

Kabukicho is  often called the “Sleepless Town” and the district’s name comes from late-1940s plans to build a kabuki theatre. It never happened but the name lingers on.

It is truly an assault on the senses – almost fit inducing with its strobing neon, incessantly scrolling billboards and  . . giant neon robot women!

If ever there is an image that sums up the wild ride that Tokyo is – these are it!

Primarily used as a lure to get you into the Robot Restaurant (a robot techno neon nightmare) you can sit in these immense ladies and manipulate their arms up and down!

While the candy bright colours and flashing lights are disconcerting enough, the area also has a very seedy, downright dangerous, underbelly.

In 2004, according to a spokesperson of Metropolitan Tokyo, there are more than 1,000 yakuza members in Kabukichō, and 120 different enterprises under their control

There have been concerted efforts to clean up the area’s reputation with crackdowns on the gangs and illegal brothels.

However there were a lot of sharp suited young men hanging around the clubs who left us slightly unnerved. Whether gang members or toutes trying to get the single men into the girly bars, we moved on quickly!

Next up the rabbit warren of bars that is the Golden Gai. Stay tuned!

 

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