A solitary figure is standing in the usually vibrant district of Shinbashi, Tokyo. Unlike Ginza, its exclusive neighbor to the north, Shinbashi caters to the average Tokyo worker with reasonably-priced restaurants and bars. This is from our book Earth, Water, Wind, Fire, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscape. Click on the image for a larger view.
Tokyo Station at night after the rush hour. When it opened in 1914, half a million passengers used the station in the first year. Today, 420,000 people pass through daily on over 3,000 trains. This is not the busiest station in Tokyo. From our book Earth, Water, Wind, Fire, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscape. Click on the image for a larger view.
From September 30th, visitors will not be able to view the fish market. October 6th, 2018 marks the last business day for the Tokyo Central Wholesale Market in Tsukiji: the market will move a few kilometers away to Toyosu. I was fortunate to be able to visit the market at its peak in the early 1990s. I produced a small book on this amazing place: Tsukiji: Tokyo Fish Market Suite. While the market is clearly in many people’s hearts, the aging 1935 structure was in need of updating. I am grateful to have experienced this place. Still, access to the fish market and its famous tuna auctions will not be the same. Click on the image for a larger view.
In the 1990s, shopping streets were a common feature of Tokyo neighborhoods and a central locus for communities. Shops were often multigenerational family businesses. Today, large department stores and online retailers are making the economics of running local stores difficult, if not impossible. This street in Koenji from the 90s is typical of many of these thoroughfares. Click on the image for a larger view.
Shinobazu no Ike, or Shinobazu Pond, is located in Ueno Park, Tokyo. This is all that remains of the marsh that has been filled since Edo was established in the seventeenth century. The eastern part of Tokyo was reclaimed from this marsh and is protected by a series of flood walls. During World War II, the pond was used for growing rice. After the war, discussions on whether to convert the area to baseball fields were held. Boating on this pond goes back to 1931. This image is from our book Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscapes. Click on the image for a larger view.
What looks like a peaceful Japanese garden is Number 3 Daiba, a fortification built in 1853 as a response to attempts by US Commodore Perry to open Japan. Beyond that is the artificial island of Odaiba, which was constructed after World War II and one of the planned sites for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Between the two high-rise apartment building on the left is Tokyo Gate Bridge, the furthest extent of the city into the bay. Number 3 Daiba was originally built several kilometers off the coast of the city in open water. This image comes from our book Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscapes. Click on the image for a larger view.
Kasai Rinkai Park is on Tokyo Bay. It is an artificial island built to preserve the natural habitat of Tokyo bay destroyed by development. The bridge in in the background is the main highway that connects Tokyo with Chiba, Tokyo Disneyland, and Narita International Airport. The loudspeakers on the post warn people of approaching tsunamis. This image is from our book Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscape. Click on the image for a larger view.
If there was a defined edge to the city of Tokyo, this would be it. Tokyo Gate Bridge is the furthest public highway built out into Tokyo bay. The island on the horizon is Chuo Bohatei, Tokyo’s largest landfill, which is reaching the edge of the municipality’s border. This image is from Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscape. The image is also an optical illusion: can you tell if the bridge piers are getting thinner or taller the further away they are? Click on the image for a larger view.