Shopping areas in Japanese cities are generally busy until surprisingly late at night, as even when the stores finally close, there are still plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars to keep things bustling. Away from the metropolitan hubs, however, it’s often a very different story. As along with years of economic stagnation, the combination of a shrinking population and large-scale urban migration have hit regional towns hard. Meaning that it’s really not that difficult to find places where the streets are empty.
And mere facades of former times.
A town that has seen better days….
What was it like during the daytime? There are signs that some stores may still be open.
Definitely. Fascinating place, but obviously sad at the same time.
The following day it was raining, so stuck with these evening shots. But while there were a few shops open, the vast majority of places were still shuttered up.
You have captured some magnificent desolation in these photographs – just a heartbeat from being haiko.
How do you decide on the angle to show them at? I always try and crop my stuff so that vertical is vertical. Too conventional I guess.
Have you ever come across a book called “Tokyo Nobody” by Masataka Nakano? It’s 70 or so daytime photographs of the Tokyo metropolis showing scenes you would expect to be heaving with people and vehicles and yet there are none. I saw the title on the spine of a book in the untidy room of the protagonist in the anime 5cm per second and took a chance and bought it. It really is remarkable to see places like Shibuya, Akihabara and Shinjuku devoid of humankind like that.
Of course his photographs are tricks of circumstance and, I believe, took an awful lot of patience to achieve, whereas yours are documenting the truth.
I don’t think we have the same ghost-town creating bleed of population to the cities in the UK. Rural villages become taken over by the second homes of the city rich – which is an altogether different and less visually interesting problem.
Thanks! Yeah, a lot of abandoned places for sure. And like you say, very different from what’s happening in the UK.
Good question on the angle. Not something I think about to be honest. Just what feels right at the time. Think it was the curve of the road that influenced these.
Yes, seen that book a few times in secondhand bookshops here. Even better, one has a few original prints for sale too. I totally agree, fascinating to too see those places utterly empty.
Martin B says
Fantastic photo’s, almost post apocalyptic and reminiscent of some of the scenes from the film 28 Days Later.
Thank you. There was certainly that element walking round the place. Wasn’t that late at all, but absolutely nobody about. It was a very similar situation the following morning too. Must have been fairly busy once. Quite affluent as well I suspect. But those days are obviously long gone…
Love these shots; can’t get enough of them. Amazing how clean everything is, and free of graffiti and vandalism.
But okay, enough is enough – you created these in some kind of 3D graphics program, didn’t you? Or this is a theme park venue, like the Ramen Museum, right? C’mon, I can see the ceiling already, you can’t fool me with angled shots LOL
Thank you! Yeah, hadn’t really thought about that, but they are surprisingly clean, aren’t they?
Haha, I genuinely wish I could create such things!
Hans ter Horst says
I like this one! The future of Japan in a nutshell 🙂
Cheers! Yeah, definitely not an unusual sight. One that will only get more common too.