Late summer looks.
Shinto shrines can be found everywhere in Japan. Some, of course, are large and grand like the famous Meiji Jingu in central Tokyo, but many more are small, simple structures — especially so outside the big cities. And yet while they are all unique, I’ve never seen one quite like this before, or at least not one with such incredibly striking torii gates.
Rainy season, it has to be said, isn’t the nicest time of year. The humidity ramps up enormously, and, as the name suggests, it tends to rain rather a lot. Yet despite such unpleasantness, June is a popular month to get married in, and probably just as popular as a venue is Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine. A money making machine that at the weekend sees up to around 15 weddings in a single day.
Given the surroundings and the ceremonial outfits, the public procession element of each service is quite the spectacle. An aspect that used to garner a huge amount of attention due to the shrine being a popular tourist spot, but it was just me and a young family watching on Saturday. One of the many very visible changes of the world we now live in. A new world in which this young couple are starting a new life in. But it’s a journey they are embarking on together, and one that started out in some style to say the least.
A few months ago, I photographed and wrote about danchi, or Japanese public housing. Born in the 1950s and peaking around the early 70s, this massive building project created affordable and modern housing for the nation’s growing number of young families. Fast forward to the present day, however, and many of these once futuristic apartment complexes are more crumbling relics than sought after properties.
The same also goes for the little shopping precincts that were an integral part of some danchi. Once bustling with locals, a considerable number have gone the same way as the apartments above them. Changing habits, an older demographic and fewer residents making business not only harder, but in many cases simply unsustainable.
And below is one such shopping street. A few stores on the main road are bravely battling on, but while the days and weeks come and go, the sun has long since set on this particular part of Tokyo.