How different do Tokyo and Fukuoka look at 5 p.m.?

Before moving to Tokyo, our Japanese-language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma spent several years living on Kyushu, the most southwestern of Japan’s four main islands. Arriving in the capital came with some culture shock for Masanuki. Tokyo is bigger and busier than the town he’d been living in in Fukuoka Prefecture, and even the way people speak is different, much more cosmopolitan than the rustic dialects he’d heard around him in Kyushu.

Those are things most people notice when moving to Tokyo from more rural parts of Japan. But there’s also one transition that’s particularly noticeable for Kyushu-to-Tokyo transplants: it gets dark a lot earlier in Tokyo.

▼ From Fukuoka to Tokyo

Tokyo and Fukuoka are about 1,100 kilometers (684 miles) apart, putting them on opposite sides of the country. All of Japan shares the same time zone, though, so with Tokyo being so far east of Fukuoka, sunset comes a lot earlier in the day in the capital.

Just how much of a difference is there? Masanuki took the above photo in Tokyo at exactly 5 p.m. on November 8. You could argue whether it’s most accurate to call it “night,” “evening,” or “twilight,” but the sun has dipped below the horizon, and car headlamps and streetlights are both on and necessary, with shadows spreading on the asphalt where there’s no artificial illumination to cast them away.

As luck would have it, another of our reporters, Takashi Harada, just so happens to be in Fukuoka visiting his family right now. So to see how much daylight Takashi had, Masanuki pulled out his phone and placed a video call to his coworker at 5:01 p.m., and when Takashi answered…

there was still enough sunshine to backlight him so powerfully that the background was washed out in white.

Takashi was out doing some shopping at the time, and he swung his camera around to show the view from the parking structure, where rays of the sun were still high enough in the sky that they were above the local mountain peaks.

Masanuki checked back in with Takashi a little later, at 5:20, by which time Tokyo was in indisputable it’s-night-now-level darkness, while Fukuoka’s sky was still sky blue.

Masanuki couldn’t help feeling a little jealous. Since moving to Tokyo, he’s pretty much had to accept that by the time you get off work in the fall or winter, it’s going to be dark outside. Meanwhile, if you’re clocking out at 5 p.m. in Kyushu right now, you’ve still got some daylight left, which is always nice for a little extra dopamine kick and mentally feeling like you haven’t spent your whole day working.

Of course, the flip side to this is that sunrise comes earlier in Tokyo, so you can take advantage of some extra sunshine at the start of the day if you’re an early riser. That’s a big “if” for Masanuki, though, and as much as he likes the Tokyo lifestyle, he misses being able to both sleep in and still see the sun when leaving the office.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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