Tokyo in Black and White - Koenji
Koenji is another place on Tokyo’s Chuo line that is extremely popular. Not far away is Kichijoji, Ogikubo, Nakano and Shinjuku. Many people might say it is a great place to live in Tokyo as it quite convenient to everywhere else. It has a good reputation due to its live music scene, places to eat and drink plus is a hub for secondhand/vintage clothes shops. There is always something to do there. For this guide, when I visited Koenji, I went just to take some pictures, not make a guide of the area as such.
It is a nice place. There are lots of shopping arcades there, all around the station. I thought it was a great place to shoot in black and white. It really suits that genre of photography. There are some modern buildings, architecture, like Za-Koenji (a theatre), which look great, but a lot of the area around the station, is really dated and old. Some people might occasionally use the word, “dilapidated”? I wouldn’t use that word in the negative sense though.
There are older buildings there as well as some really interesting architecture give the area lot of its character. The secondhand shops and all the cheaper eateries. Koenji is definitely not an upmarket area. If you’ve ever been to Shimokitazawa, it’s similar, but on a smaller scale. And whereas Shimokitazawa seems to be moving ahead, Koenji isn’t moving at the same pace. It seems to be lagging behind, progress coming slowly.
As someone once told me, there isn’t even a major department store there, which I think is still true. There is no building boom in Koenji. Is any planned? I doubt it. It would be a pity if it did happen.
It’s a great place. The things I enjoy most about Tokyo, can be find in Koenji - the older buildings; a few street restaurant, izakayas, bars and a few shrines and temples near the station, not too big, but good for a quick visit. Just make sure you visit it with a camera in hand, as there is so much to shoot.