Place your bets now for what you think the biggest energy consumer in the largest city in Japan is.

If there is one thing Tokyo has, it’s a whole bunch of lights. Whether it’s the running lights of a business or lighting up an iconic landmark, the capital city of Japan is a bright metropolis of buzzing electricity. So how much does it cost to keep things lit? Japanese site Spotlight recently did some research to find out!

Electricity consumption is often calculated by kilowatt hours (kWh) and though every electric company is different, for the purpose of this article, we are going to work with a cost of US$0.25 per kilowatt hour. Locations that Spotlight looked into include Tokyo staples such as convenience stores, pachinko parlors, Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Tower and the Skytree. So let’s see what they discovered.

First up, convenience stores!

5372565207_c0e25d060c_bFlickr/Marko Kudjerski

They’ve got to keep the cold drinks cold, the hot drinks hot and heat all the food to their appropriate temperatures. They are often open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and one is never depressed going into a convenience store, as they provide welcome shelter from the weather — cool in summer and warm in winter. To keep these magnificent and convenient stores running, it takes about 14,416 kWh and costs about $3,604 a month.

12020282553_97b7b22797_kFlickr/Stephen Kelly

Pachinko parlors are arguably the nosiest places in Japan and there’s really not that much action going on. It’s just people sitting at their individual machines, full of blinking, colorful lights, and trying to direct shiny balls into small slots. Even so, they are still very popular all over the country, with about 8,680 parlors counted in 2014. In a month, to keep everything running, pachinko parlors use an average of about 64,005 kWh, coming to a whopping $16,000 per facility.


The Rainbow Bridge, a 1,903 foot suspension bridge that connects Tokyo Bay and the man-made island of Odaiba, is lit up every night for about 5.5 hours. Three different colored lights are illuminated on the large, white pillars making them appear as a rainbow. From dusk to midnight, these lights uses about 28,050 kWh and comes to a monthly total of $7,012.

lights 3 (4)Wikipedia/Taro Tokyo

Perhaps one of the most iconic landmarks in the city, Tokyo Tower is often pictured in anime, manga and film to signal that, yes, we are in Tokyo. Inspired by the Eiffel Tower, its orange and white lattice makes it the second tallest structure in Tokyo. In a 30-day period, the “light up” of Tokyo Tower costs 630,000 yen which works out to about 23,333 kWh, making it about $5,833 per month.

lights 3 (2)Flickr/Zengame

The final structure we will look at is the newly completed Skytree. Towering above everything else in the city, it’s the tallest tower in the world and double the size of Tokyo Tower. Covered in LED lights, it generally alternates between the sky blue Iki and the purple Miyabi. As with Tokyo Tower, the Sky Tree is only lit up for about five hours at night. The various LED colors require different amounts of energy, but on average it uses 17,700 kWh in a month for a cost of $4,425.

What this means is that pachinko parlors are not only boring (in our opinion), but they’re also consuming a ridiculous amount of energy! Maybe someone can develop a way to make energy from all that knob twisting…

Source: Spotlight
Top image: Flickr/Zengame