OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN, a photo blog of Japan in the Meiji, Taisho and Showa periods

Old Photos of Japan
shows photos of Japan between the 1860s and 1930s. In 1854, Japan opened its doors to the outside world for the first time in more than 200 years. It set in motion a truly astounding transformation. As fate would have it, photography had just been invented. As the old country vanished and a new one was born, daring photographers took photos. Discover what life was like with their rare and precious photographs of old Japan.

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Yokohama 1890s • Grand Hotel

70330-0034 - Grand Hotel, Yokohama

The Grand Hotel opened on August 16, 1873 (Meiji 6) and was soon considered the height of Western culture and elegance in Japan. It was located on the Bund and overlooked Yokohama Harbor.

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Yokohama 1900s • Samurai Shokai

70314-0030: Yokohama 1900s • Samurai Shokai

Antique and art dealer Samurai Shokai at Honcho 1-20 in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture. It sold silk, porcelain, lacquerware, jade, cloisonné, damascene and more.

The company, established by Yozo Nomura (1870-1965) in 1894 (Meiji 27), was one of the most respected dealers in Japan. It even offered financial support to traditional craftsmen, such as silversmiths and lacquer artists, so they could produce high quality products.

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Kobe 1910s • Kobe City Hall

70301-0020 - Kobe City Hall

Kobe City Hall was located next to the Local District Court, on the former grounds of Hachinomiya Jinja, a shinto shrine. It was Kobe’s second City Office and completed in 1909 (Meiji 42).

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Osaka, 1905 • Yodoyabashi Bridge

70219-0003 - Yodobashi Bridge

Yodoyabashi bridge, Osaka. The building on the left is the Osaka branch of the Bank of Japan, located on Nakanoshima island. It was designed by Tokyo University Professor Tatsuno Kingo, and completed in January 1903.

What makes this postcard especially interesting is the arch in the back.

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