Tokyo in Pics


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

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.

Koenji station in Tokyo's Suginami ward

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.

Shop or temple? You can go to both in Koenji

One of the few tall buildings in Koenji, this one a hotel

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.

Kannana-dori, one of Tokyo's busiest roads, lies on the border of neighbouring Nakano and Koenji

One of the many cafes to be found in Koenji

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.

Lots of places to drink

... and places to eat

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.

And another shopping street ...

Koenji has some bookshops among all the booze too

A mini-mini-pagoda?

Street restaurant - this one is for yakitori

Photo gallery and bar, exhibits in black and white, and I still haven't been to this one!!! Shock!!

Definitely no lawn to mow at this house

Shrines close to the station

Anything goes in Koenji