Tokyo in Pics


A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

Astro Boy and friends in Takadanobaba

For most people who visit Tokyo, there is not much reason to visit Takadanobaba.  However, if you are a fan of Osamu Tezuka’s manga series, Astro Boy you definitely have good reason to go there.  It is where you can find many of his manga and animation characters on public display!

The biggest mural, right across the road from Takadanobaba station under the Yamanote tracks

When I was a young boy I absolutely loved Astro Boy.  I loved that series and watched it religiously. So, if you don’t know already, you might be delighted to know that over the road from the station, under the tracks are two murals that eternally young android is prominently featured upon.

Astro Boy

Black Jack and friends

They’re great murals too, skilfully drawn and very large, filled with characters from Tezuka’s manga worlds, not only Astro Boy.  You’ll find Blackjack, Kimba the White Lion, Big X and a few more. But it’s probably Astro Boy that has the greater share of the wall space.

Kimba the White Lion

The pictures are all in good condition, but can be a little difficult to photograph as the footpath and road in front of the murals has very heavy traffic.  If you want to shoot the entire length of the murals you’ll need to shoot them from the station side of the road, because they are so wide. And, because you’ll be shooting from over the road you’ll always be waiting for buses and cars to move by, not to mention foot traffic.  It can be annoying at times waiting for a clear shot.

The smaller mural under the Seibu Ikebukuro tracks

Even if you move close it can be difficult as a lot of people will be walking right past you and, a few homeless sleep on the footpath in front of the murals.  However, they seem quite friendly and I’ve had a few nice chats with them about Astro Boy!

Big X helping some school kids out

The other problem photographing the murals can be the light.  As they are under the tracks, so you’ll either be fighting too many shadows cast by the tracks above and other obstacles or too little light, depending on when you go.  Shooting on a cloudy day can work well though.

Takadanobaba isn’t very far from Shinjuku, only two stops on the Yamanote line, so it is very easy to get to, then just a short walk outside the station.  So if you are a fan of Tezuka’s works I’d highly recommend you heading there to get reacquainted with these blasts from the past. You can see Tezuka’s official website here.

Here is a Google Map to give you a more precise location: