Shinjuku Southern Lights 2011-12

This illumination festival is a must see if you happen to run a blog that has both “tokyo” and “penguin” in the title. It’s the only festival I know of that features the JR Suica penguin. There’s also a light cathedral for couples.

Shinjuku Southern Lights is held each year on the the Shinjuku Southern Terrace. There is still some construction work going on as part of a further development of Shinjuku station. The illumination festival and the businesses on the Southern Terrace are unaffected by it.

The tree illumination is pretty much standard although this year only the trees right next to the exit were decorated. In 2008 I wrote about the illumination festival and they had more lights in the trees back then.

The cathedral changed designs and is made for couples. Press your hands on the two pads and the light will change. I don’t think this is based on an actual analysis. Just imagine if that device would tell the truth – “oh dear, I’m afraid you two are totally incompatible. Even a tea cup would be a better marriage candidate. No illumination for you two”.

Unlike the Ebisu illumination festival, the lights and the shape of the “cathedral” changed over the years. However, the real difference every year are the penguins – how they look and what they are wearing. Although I’m fine with just the penguins, it would be nice if an all-star Japan Rail transportation card team would make an appearance. I’d imagine them be a more formidable team than the Justice League: The SUICA penguins grabs the attention, the Kitaca flying squirrel provides air support and the ICOCA platypus and TOICA chicklet coming from behind. It seems there were cards available at one point celebrating the collaboration service.

On the other side, Takashimaya Times Square had a big virtual christmas tree.

This is not part of the Southern Lights but just like the last years there is some illumination in front of Shinjuku Station’s east exit as well.

Mia Jaap

Journalist, developer and passionate about Japanese and Korean language. Japan is my #1 country for travelling, penguins my favourite animals.

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