<p>Photo: Kabukicho district</p>

Pedestrians flock to the bright lights of Tokyo’s Kabukicho District, the city’s pulsing center for shopping and nightlife.

Photograph by Puku/SIME-4Corners Images

Mention Tokyo and the images come fast and furious: the whoosh of the bullet train, hundreds of thousands of commuters texting on tiny mobile phones, the precision of a sushi chef, a sumo wrestler thumping the ground. The world’s largest metropolis—nearly 34 million people in commuting distance—may be a blur, but it’s a very genteel one. Look closer and you’ll notice refined touches everywhere: fashion, architecture, manhole covers (yes, manhole covers), the exquisite wrapping of a package, or the way your shoes are magically turned in the right direction when you’re ready to leave the city. All this and Hello Kitty too.

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