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Thread: Tokyo, Japan

  1. #1

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    Tokyo, Japan

    Tokyo is full of photographic opportunities which range from the ancient, to the modern, to the futuristic. I can think of few other locations in the world more friendly to photography.

    For those who are visiting the city, you find plenty to capture your interest. If you prefer the mountains or landscape, you'll find them easily accessible by train or bus. The coastlines in Kanagawa are breathtaking, as are the mountains around Hakone (including Mt Fuji). There are quiet villages and farmland within an hour of the metro Tokyo area.

    Many people come to Tokyo to shop, and for those who enjoy photography, Tokyo is a shopper's paradise. You'll find anything and everything related to photography here, both new and used.

    The Shinjuku district of Tokyo is home to the giant Yodobashi camera store. Here you'll be able to find pretty much any product you could need or want. I was there this weekend and was surprised to see that they have a large assortment of Polaroid large format films in stock. The different floors of the store sell different items, from point-and-shoot digital cameras to 8x10 large format cameras and accessories.

    As neat as Yodobashi camera is, it cannot compare to the numorous "chuko-kamera" shops which surround it. "Chuko" means "used", and some of these shops stock thousands of used cameras, lenses, tripods, bags, and obscure accessories. Some of them even specialize in old boxes and manuals for collectible cameras. What's even better is that the items in theses stores sell for less than what they sell for on Ebay in the states.

    Some of these stores are somewhat difficult to find, as they are in alleyways on the second or third floor of whatever building they are located in. Just look for the symbol 中古カメラ which means "used camera". Map Camera has the best selection of good, used medium and large format cameras and lenses, and they often have incredible prices. Fuji instant backs sell there for about $29, and I bought a Polaroid 545 pro back from them (in the box, no less) for $50.

    Be careful, you could spend days hunting through these shops and end up not having any time to take pictures...

  2. #2
    OMU
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    Hi,
    I tryed to visit Yodobashi homesite, but the stie I found was only japanes.
    Is there a english site?

  3. #3
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    I used to study Japanese, and I was wondering today what word the Japanese use for "photography". Not "photos" or "taking photos" but "photography".

  4. #4
    Aurum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sangetsu View Post
    ..........Be careful, you could spend days hunting through these shops and end up not having any time to take pictures...
    Guilty! I'd love it, but my credit card would spontaneously combust
    "Flatter Me, and I May Not Believe You. Criticize Me, and I May Not like You. Ignore Me, and I May Not Forgive You. Encourage Me, and I Will Not Forget You."

  5. #5
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    Hi Sangetsu,

    Yes, I agree Tokyo has a lot to offer. I also visited Osaka and Kyoto in the late 1980s. What I prefer though is the countryside, quiet small towns where my presence as foreigner and photographer was noticed the second I came in. I loved to talk with people on the streets and in villages. My Japanese was extremely limited and many people I met struggled with English. But that was no problem as we managed to understand each other most of the time. Many times, I was offered tea or a cold drink by people I had just met 5 minutes before. They invited me to their home and we tried to communicate. I met their children or elderly folks. I showed them some pictures I took earlier and few words were actually necessary.
    Landscapes were my favourites and I recall the amazing beauty of Mount Fuji, one of the most beautiful mountains I've ever seen.

  6. #6
    Iwagoshi's Avatar
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    Sangetsu,
    Thank you for the Tokyo update and the information on the "chuko-kamera" shops. Since I will be in the Greater Tokyo area later this month, is there a "chuko-kamera" shop that you recommend? Also is there a better place to buy Fuji Rembrandt paper and chemistry than Yodobashi, possibly a small "Mom-and-Pop" or enthusiast shop?

    Thanks,
    Terry



 

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