Tokyobling's Blog

Tokyo Buildings

Posted in Places by tokyobling on March 24, 2012

Unlike in European cities (and I assume most North American cities as well), Japan has pretty lax laws on regulations regarding the look of buildings, this means that within a single block, anywhere in Tokyo you can have every imaginable kind of material, color, look, design or purpose of a building. Old wooden buildings from 1946 can be seen next to a gleaming sky scraper in steel and glass, while in the middle of a busy banking district you might find a lumber yard or a corrugated metal storage shed full of boxes of machine parts. When I first arrived in Tokyo this was probably what surprised me the most, the total lack of uniformity among buildings in the same block or on the same street and such a huge variation in looks and purposes. Some people love this, some people don’t agree with it, but for the most part this is what gives a lot of Tokyo it’s character. Among bigger Japanese cities Tokyo is also special in having a quite noticeable difference in general look and feel among the different areas or wards, at least I feel that there is more variation inside Tokyo than in many other Japanese cities that I have visited.

While walking around Ginza and Tsukiji the other week I took these photos to just show a mixture of buildings and streets in central Tokyo, an area that peaked economically in the 70’s and early 80’s. There’s a handful of older buildings left, and a few newer buildings that really makes this part of the city so varied. I can’t pretend to think that all of these buildings are beautiful, but I wanted to show you something less blingy and maybe more “everyday” boring here on the blog. Personally I think that these old buildings, the holdouts from another age, are the most interesting. I always wonder what kind of people or businesses still call them home? You can also tell that Ginza is a rich area, even their old semi-abandoned buildings are clad in copper, which must have been very pricey back then. As a tourist to Tokyo, these streets are not high on your priority list of places to experience I think! Enjoy!


12 Responses

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  1. Chorwin said, on March 24, 2012 at 6:08 am

    their building are so special and uniq.
    A little bit surprise that the street is quiet.. even in a big city like Tokyo.


    • tokyobling said, on April 3, 2012 at 9:46 am

      Thank you! Yes, some parts of central Tokyo can be quite peaceful on Sundays and holidays… (^-^)


  2. Timi said, on March 24, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Oh, I like that one on the 4.-5. shots, even between the modern buildings it has a nice feeling I can’t describe.


    • tokyobling said, on April 3, 2012 at 9:46 am

      Thank you for the kind comment Timi! (^-^)


  3. Irina Kolak said, on March 24, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Thank God for that. I love the mix of styles. Those old buildings that look like a spaceship brought them and left them there pretty much seem like the soul givers to the streets.


    • tokyobling said, on April 3, 2012 at 9:47 am

      Absolutely! This mix is what makes Japanese cities so unique! (^-^)


  4. Lili said, on March 24, 2012 at 10:11 am

    How much I love this mix of old and new buildings!
    That’s why Tokyo is unique for me 🙄
    I noticed that old houses have all recreated a little part of nature with some flowers and plants. It’s really nice 😀
    And vending machines are here
    I miss Tokyo.. so thanks fa lot for your shots 😉


    • tokyobling said, on April 3, 2012 at 9:48 am

      Thank you for the thoughtful comment Lili! I agree, back in the old days nature was so much more important for people even in central Tokyo. I think it is coming back as we see much more wood and decoration in modern Japanese architecture. (^-^)


  5. Tokyo Buildings « Kirsten Writes said, on March 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    […] Via Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInStumbleUponRedditEmailDiggPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]


  6. Ulrik said, on March 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Very interesting to see. I wonder what kind of person lives in the little white house in the third picture…


    • tokyobling said, on April 3, 2012 at 9:51 am

      Thank you for the comment Ulrik! I agree… there’s so much I’d like to know about these buildings…!


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