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Street Snap in Tokyo’s Traditional Downtown!



Hello everyone, I am Kohei Kudo. 

By the way, where do you usually shoot street snap? I think Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ginza seem to be great shooting spots in Japan. Even I usually go to those places in most cases when I want to shoot. However, there are only areas where we can take good photos in Tokyo. This time, I will change my mind and go to an area which is called traditional downtown in Tokyo.

1 下町ってどこ?

1 Where is Traditional Downtown in Tokyo ?




I said I would go to downtown, but where is traditional downtown in Tokyo exactlly?

Typical areas are lowland areas, such as Nihonbashi, Kyobashi, Kanda, Shimotani, Asakusa, Honjo, and Fukagawa. 

Besides that, it seems that the areas on the south side of the 23 wards, such as Kamata and Omori are also defined as traditional downtown areas. There seems to be no clear definition of where is traditional downtown area.

It is hard to define, but it seems that luxury residential area and skyscrapers area on the west side of the Imperial Palace are called Yamanote, and the traditional area on the east side is called downtown. This time, I would like to introduce a place that everyone knows, but you don't go so often.

2 今回の使用機材

2Camera and Setting









This time, I decided to use Ricoh GR Ⅱ wichi is very light and easy to shoot because I am going to walk around without no destination. My setting is below. 

・ Snap Mode 2.5m 

・ Around F11 and SS 500 

・ ISO 100-3200

・ Chose Posifilm Filter 

・ Raw +JPEG 

・Always turn on the power and carry 3 additional batteries


3 How to Enjoy Street Snap in Traditional Downtown in Tokyo



I chose Oshigami, Sumida ward for shooting spot this time. This area is very familiar as a tourist spot that visitors can see Tokyo Sky Tree, old and traditional shopping streets, temples and houses. I am going start shooting from Oshiage Station then move to the town around Tokyo Sky Tree. By the way, the weather is cloudy and it might be difficult to take impressive photos with light and shadow. Observe people in this area and shoot with different types of perspectives. 

⚠︎ This article is not about tourist spots, and I am going to write about street snap in traditional downtown in Tokyo. 




① Shoot Around Tokyo Sky Tree 

I wanted to go up Tokyo Sky Tree to take photos from higher points, but it was closed because of Coronavirus. Therefore, I went to a tall shopping center near Tokyo Sky Tree, went up to 30th floor and shoot some photos. They were quite nice because I shoot them from shadow. When you shoot in shadow and toward bright area, you will be able to capture nice silhouette!




Went back to the street and started walking around Tokyo Sky Tree. I encountered a man who was sitting and doing something interesting. I shoot him from back. 



② Shoot in Kyojima Old Town 

Next spot is Kyojima Old Town. I got lost while walking around this area, but I could see very old houses and streetscape that I could feel Showa era in Japan. Recently this area has been developing for land readjustment, so I was happy to see them. 

I also saw attractive posters of Taketsuka Kimura, who is a politician, and this poster is seen in photos that are taken by Takumi Sekiguchi, who is one of Frame Tokyo members.

Even if I have no intention to shoot the poster, it is always everywhere! 




➂ Passersby is Elderly Women / Men   

Most of men's street photographers think they want to shoot a woman with red high heels when they see such a nice subject in the city. However, you will not see it when you are shooting in traditional downtown. Instead of that, you will see elderly men who are riding bicycles and elderly women with the elderly hand truck shopping carts.



Also you will see many cats on the street!! I have a tip to shoot cats for you. When you take photos of cats, do not capture only cats, and do focus on shooting cat's life, like where / how they are living. This picture shows that the cat is main subject and surroundings, such as bicycle and a woman are subject 2.



④  Traditional Downtown, where Time Goes by Slowly 

You can discover various things while walking around the calm traditional downtown in tokyo. When I shoot in the crowded city, such as Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ginza, I need to make / think many things, such as composition, number of elements and subject as soon as I can. 

However, when I walk here, I feel totally opposite. I can slowly think those things and shoot. 




It seems that my photos on here looks not serious, but I shoot seriously for this article.

I arrived Kameido through Oshigami and kyojima. During Shooting here, I got tired so I took train to break. Lol 

Around the station was crowded, and I could find good subjects on here. Just be careful when you are shooting such a crowded areas because everyone is looking at you who is shooting something. 




Time was 5pm and it was already dark. Therefor, I stopped shooting today.  

Kameido is very famous that there are so many different restaurants, ramen restaurants and small bars. Popular one is korean BBQ restaurant. It is normal to wait around two hours to enter the restaurant. I wanted to get some drinks here, but I just went back home.  

4 まとめ

4 Conclusion 






Thank you so much for reading and I hope you could enjoy my article. I walked around Sumida ward for six hours and took 300 photos. I do not think my photos were not enough to show how traditional downtown is, but I hope you could get some sense of it.  

By the way, if it's sunny, a very beautiful sunlight falls between 16:00 and 18:00 in this season. Since there is no tall building, the light can enter for a longer time than the center of Tokyo.

If you feel be tired of the busy city, I recommend to visit and walk around traditional downtown areas and shoot street snap. 

I'm sure there are new discoveries. See you soon!

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