Tokyo is famous for “scramble” intersections, where all directions of traffic stop and allow pedestrians to cross any way they wish. It is quite a sight to see. We have a couple of scramble intersections in Toronto, but they pale in comparison to the sheer volume of people in Tokyo.
Most major intersections in Tokyo are of the scramble variety, which is quite convenient if you’re a pedestrian. The one pictured above was not very busy in comparison to others, such as Shibuya crossing. Only a hundred or so people were crossing at each cycle here. In Shibuya, there are likely thousands crossing at every cycle. Absolutely amazing.
One detail you can’t see from this image is a police stand/lookout on the adjacent corner. Each cycle, a police officer would blow a whistle prior to the signals changing. This is essentially a warning to those still crossing to hurry up before the signals change and the traffic begins. In a city so technologically advanced, with automated machines everywhere, they still rely on officers to blow the whistle every few minutes. Weird.
I shot this photo hand-held, which isn’t too tricky with an ultra-wide angle lens. I probably annoyed a few locals by standing still on the corner when the signals changed, and everyone expected me to start crossing. I think my 6’2″ stature and pale white complexion was a clear indication that I was a tourist. That and my camera strapped around my neck. 🙂