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

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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

    @Tim Morrill: I love that walk!

  • Tim Morrill

    Today, from Sannomiya to past Motomachi Station to the east, one can walk under the …

  • Kjeld Duits

    They are right. They are very ugly and noisy. Unfortunately, about the majority of the …

  • Tornadoes28

    I thought it was interesting seeing the elevated tracks in Tokyo with the shops and …

Kobe 1930s • Elevated Railway Tracks

Steam Train on Elevated Railway Tracks in Kobe

A steam locomotive pulls passenger cars on elevated railway tracks in Kobe. When the railroad connection between Kobe and Osaka was opened in 1870 (Meiji 3), Kobe was still a small town and the tracks didn’t appear to be in the way. But as the town grew, the tracks ended up being right in the middle of the city center, cutting the town in half. As traffic increased, this division turned into a major drawback. So in October 1931, the tracks were elevated. In neighborhoods that attracted many people, shops and even some homes were built under the tracks, people didn’t seem to mind the thundering trains above their heads… During WWII the area below the tracks serviced as a welcome shelter for countless people who lost their homes to fire bomb raids.

The mountain on the far left is Takatoriyama, which has a Shinto shrine that offers an amazing view of Kobe, its harbor and Osaka Bay. From here you can see as far as Kansai Airport and Wakayama Prefecture. On New Year’s Day the place is crowded with people who want to catch the first rays of the first sunrise of the year.

For more information about the railway in Kobe, read Kobe 1900s • View from Aioibashi and Osaka 1930s • Osaka Station.

The Google map shows Daimura near current Motomachi Station, this photo was shot in this general vicinity.

Photographer: Unknown
Publisher: Sakaeya Shoten
Medium: Postcard
Image Number 70222-0015

Quote this number when you contact us about licensing this image.
You can also licence this image online: 70222-0015 @ MeijiShowa.com.

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Posted by • 2008-10-09
Add Comment

I thought it was interesting seeing the elevated tracks in Tokyo with the shops and yakitori stands underneath them. In the US, elevated tracks are not too popular because people feel they are ugly and noisy.

# Tornadoes28 · 2008-10-10

They are right. They are very ugly and noisy. Unfortunately, about the majority of the tracks in Japan’s big cities are now elevated…

# Kjeld Duits · 2008-10-10

Today, from Sannomiya to past Motomachi Station to the east, one can walk under the JR tracks. The passageway is lined with all kinds of shops oriented toward young people. It’s so crowded on weekends one can barely pass through, however it certainly is an interesting stroll.

# Tim Morrill · 2013-07-14

@Tim Morrill: I love that walk!

# Kjeld Duits · 2013-07-14








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