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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Unbeaten Tracks in Japan • Isabella L. Bird
Unbeaten Tracks in Japan

In 1878, just 19 years after Japan opened it first ports to the world, and a mere ten years after the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, an adventurous 47-year old woman from the UK set out to explore the interior of Japan. The country was virtually unknown to Westerners, and a woman traveling only with a guide seemed outrageous. Everybody advised her not to, but she went anyway and wrote this unique and vivid journal of what she saw and experienced.


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Yokohama 1890s • Grand Hotel

70330-0034 - Grand Hotel, Yokohama

The Grand Hotel opened on August 16, 1873 (Meiji 6) and was soon considered the height of Western culture and elegance in Japan. It was located on the Bund and overlooked Yokohama Harbor.

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Yokohama 1900s • Samurai Shokai

70314-0030: Yokohama 1900s • Samurai Shokai

Antique and art dealer Samurai Shokai at Honcho 1-20 in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture. It sold silk, porcelain, lacquerware, jade, cloisonné, damascene and more.

The company, established by Yozo Nomura (1870-1965) in 1894 (Meiji 27), was one of the most respected dealers in Japan. It even offered financial support to traditional craftsmen, such as silversmiths and lacquer artists, so they could produce high quality products.

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Kobe 1910s • Kobe City Hall

70301-0020 - Kobe City Hall

Kobe City Hall was located next to the Local District Court, on the former grounds of Hachinomiya Jinja, a shinto shrine. It was Kobe’s second City Office and completed in 1909 (Meiji 42).

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