Ueno Park is a large green space in central Tokyo and a great place for a walk around the city with the camera. There’s temples, museum, a zoo, entertainment – including Taiko drumming blogged here, flea markets and plenty of people. It’s also beside a large shopping area, the Ameyoko Shopping Street so you can easily fill a day here. And like Tokyo there’s any number of JR and metro stations in the area to get here.
All shot on the Nikon F60 and Kentmere 400 or Kodak Tri-X
Osaka is a nice city to visit and works well as a base for trips elsewhere (Kyoto, Hiroshima etc) albeit without an overwhelming must-see identity of its own. It is however clean, safe, friendly – and has a Universal Studios park. I’d only a few days in the city armed with the Nikon F60 and Huawei P9 and got some shots.
A good place to start is downtown at the Shinsaibashi shopping street, 600 metres of covered shopping.
There’s also every conceivable eating place, including a bit of crab.
One of the main sites for a visit is the Osaka Castle in its large gardens. It focusses on local history and art as well as some viewpoints of the city.
Osaka is also the site for Japan’s Universal Studios theme park. Cue lots of Minions but I was particularly taken with Hogsmeade, Asian style.
Practicalities – we stayed in the suburbs at the wonderful Rainbow Hostel near Imazato train station about 20 minutes from downtown. The area was nice and quiet and you’ll not go hungry
And of course in Shinsaibashi there are plenty of camera stores. Nice that film is still widely used in Japan.
Most visits to Japan will include a trip to Hiroshima – to the Peace Park with the Atomic Dome and the various monuments, and to the museum. Like many war and memorial sites, they’ve been photographed countless times but it’s still the best way of recording your own visit, your thoughts and having an aide-memoire as one gets older.
All pictures taken on Kentmere 100 in the Nikon F60.
There are a number of peace activists and displays around the park. This is an in-utero survivor from the bombing meeting with tourists.
The Asakusa district in Tokyo is a real tourist trap, traditionally a ‘pleasure quarter’ – we don’t have many of those in NI.. – it’s a great day trip for the temple and the market.
Photographically I arrived with an Olympus Trip 35 / Fomapan 100 which had a broken meter so was shooting manually on 1/40th – and a Nikon F60 loaded with Tri-X. On probably the brightest sunniest day of the year. Probably a case for digital..
Anyway – the Sensoji temple
A Chōzuya, for pre-worship purification
Then for shopping, there is the Nakamise arcade area.
It’s a smallish area but you can still be sold the guided tours
The magic of travel is that at home two of the least likely things I would do would be worship and shop. With or without the camera.
Compared to Northern Ireland, Tokyo is an assault on the senses – the crowds, the skyline, the neon – and I love it. Another major difference is the abundance of camera stores and the availability of second hand kit and film. I stocked up on Fuji Acros 35mm – at about 60% of the UK price. (as news arrives of its imminent disappearance..)
Shinjuku and Ginza are districts that don’t seem to stop and are probably most like the image many people have of Tokyo before visiting. There’s the architecture…
The taxis are classy looking 80’s styled Toyotas. They are however bloody expensive, so it was exterior shots only.
Tokyo Taxis, Ginza
There are many eating options – local as well as global burgers
And claw grabbing is a local pastime..
Of course, at some point Godzilla was going to make an appearance
Kit was Fuji Acros 100 and the ever reliable Nikon F60.
Taiko is traditional Japanese ensemble drumming – a full-on percussion experience with visuals to match. These were shot in Ueno Park, Tokyo on a Sunday afternoon but there are all sorts of shows, classes and competitions to go and watch and take part in Taiko.
These shots were taken on Kentmere 400 film – cheap and cheerful but very grainy on scanning (they do sit nice and flat though..).
It does however do a much nicer darkroom print.
And of course, when in Tokyo – give it a go yourself.
Kit: Nikon F60 with Kentmere 400.
Me and Oskar shot on a Huawei phone
Candid street portraits are one thing – asking to take a picture is another. And there’s no harm in asking, especially if the subject is willing or doing something to attract attention.
Or if you’ve just had the third consecutive lunch in his restaurant. The Shinjuku district of Tokyo is coming down with cafes and restaurants – many at inflated tourist prices. There are however plenty of cheap noodle bars – often without any English menus or signage. This particular place had a vending machine to select from a picture which then printed out a ticket. You give the ticket to the guy in the photo and he’s cooks up some noodles. No need to speak – just some positive body language, a smile and a thumbs-up. After the third day, I asked to take the photo. He obliged.
Then there are those who are on public display. The guy above hangs around Shibuya station with his signs. Other than that I’ve no idea what he’s about, but he likes his photo taken.
The girl below was intent on selling me a t shirt. I resisted. I’m a bit old for Mickey Mouse which she seemed to eventually agree.
All above shot on the Nikon F60 and Fuji Acros 100. Having an old film camera also seems to help with street portraits