7 min read
Jan. 11, 2024
In the fall of 2023 I spent a bit over two months in Japan. The first month was mostly spent traveling Hokkaido and Kyushu (Fukuoka, Kumamoto, etc.) and the last month was entirely spent in Tokyo.
As I thought about my time in Tokyo I knew I wanted to do a photo project of some sort. I have gotten into taking photos again this year and Tokyo is one of the top places in the world for street photography. It also happens to be potentially my favorite city in the world which also added to the motivation.
I knew I wanted to do something that would be across multiple days and would be a challenge. What I ended up settling on was walking between two of the busiest landmarks in Tokyo, the Kabukicho Godzilla and Hachiko at Shibuya Station over the course of 24 hours. Functionally it was walking back and forth between Shinjuku and Shibuya.
I then broke the day up into two hour increments, which was enough to walk between the two and still have time to stop and shoot photos. So every photo walk ended up being 2 hours over the course of 12 days total so I could experience all hours of the day.
A "selfie" of me taken on one of the many nights I spent walking to find interesting things to shoot. I used the Fuji XT-5 35mm lens the entire time and it never failed me throughout the entire project.
I'm not sure really why I settled on the format of walking between Shinjuku and Shibuya, but looking back I think I was just looking to have a goal to work towards. I also happened to be staying in Shinjuku so it made it easier to get out and shoot when it was time to go.
I was also inspired by photographers like Ed Templeton and people I saw on instagram who go deep on the places they photograph. Ultimately I think it turned out neat as it showcases how drastically different a place can be and who is out and about (or not at all times of the day).
After the project was complete I calculated a few stats which I think speak to how long the project took:
The project ended up being more of a challenge than I had first expected. I thought the challenge sounded simple enough but it turns out walking two hours every single day for 12 days straight is hard, especially when sometimes the two hours is 2-4AM. The compromise I quickly made with myself was that I wouldn't do 12 days straight. This turned out to be both better for my feet and better for the photos as the first 12 days after starting were all good weather and I was hoping for varied weather to shoot photos in.
Looking back I think had some of the best experiences in the dead of night when no one was around, which is rare in Tokyo. One of my favorite memories was crossing Shibuya crossing completely by myself, which typically has hundreds if not thousands of people crossing at the same time. It almost felt like I was in a movie and was the last person in an abandoned city that was once full of life. I will really appreciate memories like that and feel lucky I had ability to stay in Tokyo long enough to do a project like this.
Below I post some of the the notes I took from every day as I walked in italics. Some of them are random or me trying to learn how to shoot better photos along the way, but I will mostly let the photos do the talking.
10PM - 12AM Shinjuku -> Shibuya
no notes tonight
12AM - 2AM Shibuya -> Shinjuku
2AM - 4AM Shinjuku -> Shibuya
4AM - 6AM Shibuya -> Shinjuku
6AM - 8 AM Shinjuku -> Shibuya
8AM - 10AM Shibuya -> Shinjuku
For whatever reason I ended up doing this 2 hour window on my last morning in Tokyo. It is interesting to look at my notes with a couple thoughts about heading back home.
10AM - 12PM Shinjuku -> Shibuya
12PM - 2PM Shibuya -> Shinjuku
2PM - 4PM Shibuya -> Shinjuku
In hindsight this may have been my best day of photos. Very happy with how a lot of these turned out.
When I first posted my photos on instagram I honestly felt a bit ambivalent about them. After putting some of my favorites all one page, it makes me appreciate the project more and I'm really happy with how a lot of my shots turned out.
I'd love to do this in another city, maybe in another format but I really enjoyed seeing a place at all times of the day. I'm not sure if i'll make this a "series" but there is likely a lot more to come in the form of photos since I have really been enjoying this new hobby and learning how to best shoot with the Fuji X series.
If you made it this far, thanks for checking out all of the photos and please feel free to reach out to me for any and all questions or comments.