All About Japan

This Ferris Wheel Will Play Tricks on You!

Technology Yokohama Kanagawa

You might not know it if you’ve never been to a theme park here, but Japan loves Ferris wheels! While you won’t find one at Tokyo Disneyland or Disney Sea, almost any other respectable amusement park in Japan will have one. One of the biggest of all is the Cosmo Clock in the bayside Minato Mirai 21 district of Yokohama.

At a towering height of 112.5 meters (369 ft), for a number of years the Cosmo Clock was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. It has since lost that distinction, but it remains an iconic symbol of Yokohama. As such, its operators make sure to keep it spruced up and in the public eye.

Since Minato Mirai’s dazzling skyline makes it a popular dinner date spot, the Cosmo Clock’s nighttime light pattern gets periodic additions to keep things fresh. Often these take the form of seasonal motifs, such as red and green at Christmas, but one Yokohama native recently spotted a new pattern that isn’t just colorful, but also an awesome optical illusion.

Instead of illuminating the entire wheel, the new pattern only lights up portions of select spokes. Since the pattern uses three different colors, if you’re standing far enough away that the unlit spokes are lost in shadow it looks like there’s a giant, rotating cube floating in the night sky.

As per its name, the Cosmo Clock is also a clock. And while the time's a little blurry in the picture, it looks like this particular pattern is shown at around 10:10 p.m. So if you’ve got a thing for clever lighting, head on down to Yokohama's Minato Mirai 21.

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