A while back I wrote a brief post about the beauty of Kawaguchi at dusk. Looking towards the tall buildings on the banks of the Arakawa, I saw a ragged strip torn from the darkness, revealing a lingering orange horizon. I loved this moment, so I posted a few pictures, wrote a few words, and that was it. What I didn’t mention was what came after the darkness: a small steel mill, hissing and purring, sparking and glowing. I watched like a stargazer.

Upriver, moments later, a beacon: a large Mt. Fuji, pulsing through the darkness in a rainbow of neon light.

Fuji Pachinko neon Kawaguchi Tokyo from river

It was awe-inspiring from a distance…a landmark that all in Tokyo should know. So why hadn’t I heard of it? And what was it doing up here, on the northern border of Tokyo? Should this not be as famous as Boston’s Citgo sign, or Osaka’s Glico Man? (map)

So I took a few pictures.

And some video.

As I walked closer, the sign shrank in stature, revealing itself as a simple roadside attraction, yet still emitting hypnotic allure. So I took even more pictures:

And some more video.

There was a more elaborate sign on the opposite side. And a storefront that I could clearly identify as being a pachinko parlor. I should have known. The sign spelled it out in large, red letters: パチンコ pa-chi-n-ko. Of course, I couldn’t read katakana back then, so I must have imagined that this sign related to a more sophisticated enterprise.

And I took more pictures.

And more video.

Like those sad men inside, I was entranced by the flashing lights outside. In a trance. So I took even more pictures.

The business is called Pachinko Fuji パチンコふじ, and it appears to be somewhat of an old parlor, a feeling I could get from the building’s entrance:

Mt Fuji pachinko interior
Multiple blogs remarked on its old-timey, parquet floor. (Photo source)

fuji-pachinko-parquet-floor-kawaguchi-tokyo

If I actually liked pachinko, I would have been in heaven. But I don’t, so I was in Saitama. Map:

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