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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Arashiyama 1880s • Togetsukyo Bridge

Togetsu Bridge, Arashiyama, Kyoto

A man is fishing while women in kimono cross Togetsukyo (literally, bridge to the moon) in Kyoto’s Arashiyama. The buddhist temple Horinji can be seen on the hillside at the far end of the bridge. The bridge received its poetic name after Emperor Kameyama (1249-1305) mentioned that the bridge appeared to stretch to the moon.

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Tokyo 1890s • View from Atago-yama

Panoramic View on Tokyo

A spectacular view on the city of Tokyo from Atago-yama, a hill some 26 meters above sea-level. Shops and dwellings have taken the place of the great residences of the daimyo. In the far background, the roof of Tsukiji Honganji can be seen. Beyond that is Tokyo Bay.

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Tokyo 1890s • Koamicho, Nihonbashi

Warehouses in Nihonbashi, Tokyo

Heavily loaded boats are docked in front of a long row of warehouses in Koamicho in Tokyo’s mercantile quarter of Nihonbashi. The photographer was looking towards Yoroibashi, a steel bridge built in 1873 (Meiji 6), but carefully kept it out of the image’s frame. Most probably he wanted to preserve the Edo Period atmosphere of the scene.

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Kyoto 1890s • Tea Field and Toji Pagoda

Tea Plantation and Toji Pagoda, Kyoto
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Many people who have visited Toji’s wonderful temple markets will be astounded by this rural image of tea fields with the the five-story pagoda of Toji in the background. The tea fields have long since dissapeared and the temple is now surrounded by busy roads and modern buildings.

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