If you’re fond of Japanese culture and architecture you have to visit the Old photos of Japan photo blog.
There are hundreds of pictures on the page, which is edited and maintained by Kjeld Duits. It’s an amazing collection of old Japanese postcards, books and photographs and is kind enough to share. I am more than grateful.
Two streetcars pass by the Hattori Building in Tokyo’s fashionable Ginza. Carts are parked under the verdant trees. This classic tree-lined avenue with buildings only three floors high is utterly different from the Ginza that we know today. The only thing that is remotely similar is the existence of a clock tower.
The Oriental Hotel was Kobe’s face for more than a hundred years. At the time that this photo was taken, it was known as one of the best places in Japan to stay, and even more, one of the best places to eat. It didn’t attract only foreigners visiting Kobe, but also Japanese people who used the hotel as a high-class meeting place.
Two women in kimono stand at the entrance of a house. There is a huge stone lantern and the large open area in front of the entrance suggests much space between the entrance and the gate.
Women sit in the window of a Meiji period brothel in Yoshiwara, Tokyo’s well-known red light district.
This glass slide shows the second Osaka Station in all of its glory. Opened in July 1901 (Meiji 34), the Gothic style building was two stories high and built of granite, giving it a massive and imposing look. Osaka Station was one of the city’s must-see tourist attractions.
Osaka City Hall in Nakanoshima. Built between 1918 (Taisho 7) and 1921 (Taisho 10), Osaka City Hall was designed by representative Meiji Era architects like Yasushi Kataoka, Hikotaro Imabayashi and others, who followed an original design by Yokichi Ogawa. It was said that the tower on the roof was built to make City Hall look just a little higher than the nearby District Court, which had been completed in 1917 (Taisho 6) and had a very imposing red brick tower (partly visible behind City Hall on this image).
Osaka already looks thoroughly modern on this postcard, with the stone City Hall in the foreground, the street cars, automobiles and the concrete and brick buildings in the back.
A panoramic view of Osaka from the Osaka Prefectural Office, looking towards the North East. During the Meiji (1868-1912) and Taisho (1912-1926) periods, Osaka’s Prefectural Office was located on the small island of Enokojima, between the Kizugawa River and the Hyakkenbori Canal. Completed in July 1874 (Meiji 7), the Neo-Renaissance style building featured a dome on top. Next to the building stood a tall tower. The photographer somehow managed to lug his heavy and cumbersome equipment to the top level to preserve this incredible view of Edo-style Osaka for future generations.
Dotonbori (also: Dotombori) seen towards the east. The crowded and lively street was filled with teahouses (shibai-jaya), restaurants and theaters. Dotonbori was designated as the theater and entertainment district of Osaka in 1621. By 1662, it counted no less than six Kabuki theaters, five Bunraku theaters and a Karakuri (mechanical puppet) theater.
The three-tiered Koyasu Pagoda at the entrance gate to Kiyomizudera, possibly one of the most celebrated buddhist temples of Japan. The temple itself is behind the photographer. The pagoda contained an image of the buddhist deity Koyasu Kannon, which is believed to ease childbirth. In 1911 (Meiji 44), the pagoda was moved to a valley next to Kiyomizudera. It still exists and looks beautiful in Spring when it is surrounded by countless cherry trees in full blossom.