In Tokyo, the sounds of the city can be intense. With a metropolitan area of around 40 million, you can expect to hear plenty of interesting sounds as you are exploring. Some are completely in your face like advertisements, while others are more pleasing. Both of these have their place in our Top 5 Favorite Sounds in Japan.
5. The Shops
Entering a Japanese shop can be overwhelming at times. When you walk in, there are so many things you can dream of buying. However the stores are not very quiet even when they are empty. There are screens on many of the aisles advertising products, and they play very loudly. It is part of the intensity and experience of being in a Japanese city. Since it was different than anything we’ve ever seen, it made the list of favorites.
4. Westminster Chimes
In Kyoto we got to hear the school chimes go off. Since anime is a favorite hobby of ours, we were happy to hear them in real life. Shortly after World War 2 the Westminster Chimes were adopted in Japanese schools. Prior to that they used the same sirens that were used to warn of upcoming bombings. That sound was replaced as it was traumatic to keep hearing those sounds after the war was over. Here are the sounds if you are not familiar with them. http://www.orangefreesounds.com/westminster-chimes/Photo by James Willamor Creative Commons
3. Senbonzakura by Wagakki Band
We went to the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, which was one of the most wild and crazy shows we had ever seen. It was very loud and extreme like just about everything else in Tokyo. But there was one song we kept hearing throughout Japan, and especially at this show; Senbonzakura by Wagakki Band. It is an awesome song, and we ended up buying the album to remember our time there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_xTet06SUo
2. The Hotel Elevator
When we stayed in Tokyo at the APA hotel in Akihabara, the cute voice in the elevators announcing the different floors was entertaining. We were each trying to mimic it, but Brianna was great at it as she is already cute. During our stay, this was a part of our daily routine. Here is a short video of the experience.
1. Train Arrival Tones
We absolutely loved the trains in Japan. They were efficient, timely, and came with pleasant sounds. Both on the train and prior to boarding, you would hear some calming tones. Even the voices announcing the train arrival was really pleasing. Each time we heard the train announcements we were very excited. We’ve discovered that these tones and even the lighting were designed to make passenger travel more calm. It also helps with the anxiety of the long Japanese working hours, and commuting with thousands of people. Here are the tones of the Yamanote line in Tokyo. http://yamanote.style/#
Japan is an incredible country to visit, and even listen to. One of the things we look forward to most is experiencing these sounds again, as they mostly make us happy. We plan to be there around April 2020 so follow along as we begin our journey in June 2019.
What sounds have you heard on your travels that were especially memorable?
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One thought on “World Highlights: Top 5 Sounds of Japan”
I can imagine Japan is crazy but these experiences add to it, some interesting sounds here. On the train arrival tone selection – you’ll occasionally hear children’s voices on the PA system in the London underground for the same reason. They found commuters were more likely to take care / listen when it was a child’s voice as it was more calming.