Tourist destinations in Japan are not only promoted in broad daylight. Many of them can be seen at night in huge industrial zones. This phenomenon is called “Kojo Yakei.” It kicked off in 2007 when a book featured beautiful photographs of Japan’s industrial buildings and factories as well as their locations. It became so popular that many tourists started booking bus trips and boat cruises just to see these amazing industrial complexes.
Joining a Kojo Yakei tour will give you the chance to see the crammed towering steel castles of industrial zones. Many of these have furnaces with billowing smoke which seem to never sleep. They look tangled in several silver pipe works where most gases and liquids pass through. Some may look like giant alien creatures in a science fiction movie. The tour places you in a seemingly different environment with otherworldly sights, sounds and smells. Remember though that this is just near the center of Japan’s big cities. Thus, the tour is often joined by young urbanites who are a bit adventurous and curious.
The inspiration for this tour came from a book called “Kojo Moe” which literally means “factory passion.” It was written by Ken Oyama. Upon publishing the book, it immediately became a best seller due to its generous pages of portraying these colorful industrial buildings as objects of magnificent grandeur. So many photographers have actually hopped on the bandwagon to make similar factory photo books.
To experience Kojo Yakei, you can join the Yokohama Factory Night Scenery Cruise or the Kawasaki Factory Night View Tour. The former follows the route of Tokyo’s shoreline. It is a chance for you to enter canals which lead to industrial sites. The first tour costs around 3,500 yen per person with the tour leaving at 7 pm from Yokohama. On Thursdays, the tour leaves around 8 pm. For reservations, it is best to call 045-263-9360. The latter night view can be done by bus every first and third Friday of the month. It costs around 4,500 yen per person with the tour leaving at 5:00 pm. It normally lasts for 3 hours. You can call 03-6436-0395 for reservations.
Kojo Yakei is a definite stand out from the normal way of touring in Japan. It gives you the chance to admire the lesser-known aesthetic beauty of the chemical industries throughout the big cities.