Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tokyo Alleyways

One of the things I love about this city, but which are increasingly difficult to track down intact, are the aged alleys in older parts of town.

These are the vanishing places in which Taisho-era (1912-26) or early Showa period (1926-89) wooden buildings lean in disarray, and you actually feel like you've been transported back to one of Yasujiro Ozu’s or Akira Kurosawa's domestic dramas from the 1950s.

About a year and a half ago in this wayward blog I got cantankerous about the disappearing old buildings in the area of Tokyo (Okusawa) that surrounds our apartment - more about that here.

I also waxed a wee bit pessimistic over at Forces of Geek on a similar theme.

Don't get me wrong; I completely understand progress and change and I embrace it in many ways.

I'm also often knocked out by a lot of the contemporary architecture going up in Ginza, Harajuku and Odaiba.

I just hate to see this historical aspect disappear - some of these alleyways and the abodes within are absolutely mesmerizing.

Today I visited one of these rare gems in Ōokayama (大岡山駅), about 15 minutes' walk from our place.

In much of the surrounding area there're new apartment buildings, but some of the shops and houses sandwiched in between are classic vintage numbers - including this alley.

Tuckedjust around the corner is also a gorgeous little inari shrine.

It's cheap thrills like this that make my world go round.


AstroNerdBoy said...

I always love these posts you do on old parts of Tokyo and the like. Are these the only pictures you take or do you take additional ones as well?

What's the plot, anyway? said...

Thanks, AstroNerdBoy - as always! ;)
Actually, yeah, today these were the only ones I took - aside from one that just didn't look all that good so I ditched it!!

AstroNerdBoy said...

I was thinking that it might be interesting to get multiple shots from different angles, if possible.

How often are you able to go out and about to look for these places?

Japan Australia said...

Great to see!! It is hard to image that such places still exist in the concrete jungle that can be Tokyo, but they make a great find when discovered.

Japan Australia

What's the plot, anyway? said...

Don't they? I get all excited when I find 'em, and my wife just laughs. I don't really go out looking for them, though - I just dig walking around and usually stumble across them in places on the way to work.