Tokyo in Pics


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

Tokyo at Night - Takaido

Tokyo is a great city to shoot at night.  It literally is the city of light. The sheer amount of light here turns the night into a completely different place, especially for photography.  Even the drabbest places, yes there are some really drab places in Tokyo, become something special. I live near Takaido station in Suginami ward, and to be honest, while it is a good place to live in, it is pretty boring during the day.  But, at night, it becomes really interesting and and I love taking long exposure shots on it.

Kanpachi at night, literally a river of light

The reason for that is Kanpachi-dori (Kanpachi Road).  Kanpachi, which for some strange reason you’ll often see written as Kampachi, is one of the busiest roads in the city.  It’s a monster, especially at night.

An express train caught passing Takaido station with all the traffic underneath

The amount of traffic on the road is insane.  It literally becomes a sea of cars. Well, maybe not quite a sea, because a sea has that has some rhythmic motion to it.  Kanpachi doesn’t, it is often a stop-start type of road. I don’t have a driving license, so I can only imagine what it would be like.  With so many traffic lights and intersections along it, the flow of the traffic is often interrupted. It makes for interesting photos. I imagine with the slow pace of traffic, anything that can play music must get a real workout.

Kanpachi isn’t only cars and motorbikes as you see a lot of big trucks and buses on it too. So, if you set your camera up but get it as low as possible, it’s possible to get some interesting pictures.  Experimenting with photography is always important.

This is the place where I love to take pictures from - looking down on all the traffic

My favourite place is the pedestrian bridge just past Ozeki, one of the local supermarkets.  At night, there isn’t much foot traffic so you can set up your camera and tripod without causing anyone problems.  From the bridge you can get some really interesting shots from both sides. There are some other great places near the station as well, where you can catch the trains, some of which will stop while others are expresses which don’t.

That is pretty much it.  Takaido, typically suburban Tokyo during the day, but sparkles a little more at night.  And while it doesn’t rank up there with other places like Ginza, Shibuya or Shinjuku it does show another side of Tokyo.