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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Photography in Japan 1853-1912 • Terry Bennett
Photography in Japan

Terry Bennett has been researching 19th century Japanese photography for over 25 years. In this masterpiece he tells us the story of photography in Japan, using 350 rare images. All the known photographers are introduced with details that you will have trouble finding anywhere else. THE best book about early Japanese photography.


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1890s • Welcoming a Guest

Customer Arriving at Ryokan

Personnel welcomes an arriving customer at a Ryokan (Japanese inn) by sitting on the floor and bowing deeply. A scene that can still be seen in Ryokan all over Japan today.

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Arashiyama 1890s • Floating Logs

Floating Logs at Togetsu Bridge, Arashiyama, Kyoto

Floating logs in Arashiyama, Kyoto. In the back, the Togetsukyo can be seen. The bridge marks the point where the river changes its name from Hozugawa into Katsuragawa, further upstream it is called Oigawa. The river flows through a breathtaking gorge called Hozukyou, or Rankyou.

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Kyoto 1890s • Kamogawa

Kamo River in Sanjo, Kyoto

A beautiful view of restaurants and inns along the Kamogawa (Kamo River) in Kyoto. This photo was most probably taken from Sanjo Ohashi. The bridge in the back is probably Nijo-hashi. Kamogawa was extremely important to the inhabitants of Kyoto as can be seen from the many stairs on the riverbanks which offered easy access to the river. Besides being a crucial source of drinking water, the river brought much needed relief during the hot summer months.

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1890s • Flower Peddler

Japanese Flower Peddler

A flower peddler wearing a happi coat pulls a boat-shaped cart filled with flowering branches. A woman carrying a child on her back is carefully examining his wares. In the back two people can be seen observing the scene from inside what appears to be a shop.

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