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[Hidden Wonders of Japan] Houseboats Weave a Sea of Shimmering Lights in Odaiba





Like a giant tree gradually stretching out its roots, Tokyo has been expanding by reclaiming land from the sea. Since the beginning of the early Edo period, 5,800 hectares of land over a span of 120 years has been reclaimed for the port of Tokyo. This is comparable to the size of Tokyo's Setagaya ward.


The artificial island of Odaiba was constructed by reclaiming land around a battery of forts assembled during the Edo period. Construction of the island began during Japan’s period of rapid economic growth after WWII, as the city was in the midst of the excitement over preparations for the last Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964.


The reclaimed area was vacant land for a while. Then, in the Heisei era, the Rainbow Bridge, the Fuji TV building, and the new type of transit, the Yurikamome line, were built. Since then, the area has flourished into a brilliant waterfront.


In the twilight hours, a chilly mid-autumn sea breeze sweeps across the well-maintained beach at the Odaiba Marine Park.


A houseboat can be seen gliding across the deep dark wave front towards the port. One after another, other boats come in. The small harbor is soon filled with colorful lights glowing from the lanterns on the boats.


The photograph is a composite image created by layering the bright areas of 92 images that were shot consecutively over 20 minutes. The result is an image of the many light trails made by the houseboats.


Next summer, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games triathlon and swimming competitions will be held here at the Odaiba Marine Park. The dazzling lights over the sea will surely give the event a new level of glow.


(Click here to read the article in Japanese)


Author: Kengo Matsumoto, Photo News Department

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