OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN, a photo blog of Japan in the Meiji, Taisho and Showa periods

Old Photos of Japan
shows photos of Japan between the 1860s and 1930s. In 1854, Japan opened its doors to the outside world for the first time in more than 200 years. It set in motion a truly astounding transformation. As fate would have it, photography had just been invented. As the old country vanished and a new one was born, daring photographers took photos. Discover what life was like with their rare and precious photographs of old Japan.
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Recent Comments  
  • Kjeld Duits

    I really appreciate your comments. I am having a hard time fitting the research and …

  • Rob Oechsle

    I really appreciate your careful, detailed descriptions of the old photos, as well as the …

Arashiyama 1890s • Floating Logs

Floating Logs at Togetsu Bridge, Arashiyama, Kyoto

Floating logs in Arashiyama, Kyoto. In the back, the Togetsukyo can be seen. The bridge marks the point where the river changes its name from Hozugawa into Katsuragawa. Further upstream it is called the Oigawa, which flows through a breathtaking gorge called Hozukyou, or Rankyou.

The gorge is filled with rapids, dramatic rock formations and beautiful mountain views. It stretches 16 kilometers from Hozu Bridge in Kameoka to the famed Togetsukyo in Arashiyama.

For many hundreds of years until about 1948 (Showa 23), the river was used for transportation of people, goods like rice, barley, wheat and charcoal, and timber from as far away as Tamba.

Because the river connected to the Yodogawa, it afforded unlimited opportunities for fast transportation to Osaka long before highways and railroads existed. Even construction materials for the massive Osaka Castle and several temples were transported down this river. It became Kyoto’s main artery of commerce after its narrow gorges were excavated around 1606 under the direction of the prominent Kyoto merchant Suminokura Ryoi (角倉了以, 1554-1614).

The logs were floated further down the river and were then driven on carts from Marutamachi (literally “log town”) to Nijo where they were cut into lumber (see Kyoto 1890s • Kamogawa).

Since 1895 (Meiji 28), the 2 hour trip down the river is a popular tourist attraction (Hozugawa Kudari). Nowadays, the boats transport some 300,000 tourists annually who are attracted by the captivating seasonal changes of the gorge.

British Pathe has a charming narrated clip of of both the log rafts and the tourist boats on the Hozugawa (terribly mispronounced because of the usage of outdated spelling) dating back to 1933.

Photographer: Unknown
Publisher: Unknown
Medium: Albumen Print
Image Number: 71205-0016
Quote this number when you contact us about licensing this image
Posted by • 2008-05-13
Add Comment

I really appreciate your careful, detailed descriptions of the old photos, as well as the odd tid-bits of info and anecdote that you throw in.

I’ve been to Kyoto, but have never made this river run. Should really do it someday.

# Rob Oechsle · 2009-06-06

I really appreciate your comments. I am having a hard time fitting the research and writing (not to mention the scanning, organizing, uploading, etc) into a schedule that includes all the other things that I have to do.

The river run is lots of fun. I have done it many times. This year they are going to try to recreate the log runs!

# Kjeld Duits · 2009-06-06








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