Ginza is the place for fashion in Tokyo. It has all the high-end brands. You name it; you can get it there. Christian Dior, Gucci, and Chanel all have shops there. It’s where the rich and powerful often go to relax. If you need a hostess club, it is the place. Take a big wallet! It is the place for fashion.
But, on weekends, everyday Tokyoites go there for a day out and to indulge their shopping needs. That makes it an excellent place for street photography. I followed them with my Fujifilm X-T3 camera on a Sunday afternoon.
It was a furnace. As soon as I got out of the Ginza subway station, a wave of heat hit me. Everywhere I looked, people were carrying umbrellas or portable fans. Everyone was trying to keep cool. It was too hot for high fashion.
There was one surprising thing. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have been knowing about Japan. I couldn’t believe how many people wore masks in the heat. Government officials have warned about them because of the fear of heatstroke. There is no mandate to wear them. But the crowd accepts them as de rigueur.
Ginza is the original concrete jungle. Asphalt and glass made it a heatsink. Heat reflected off everything. It felt like an oven—people dressed for comfort. T-shirts and loose-fitting clothes were the fashion.
Where did I go for street photography in Ginza?
Ginza has many backstreets where you’ll find all sorts of shops, restaurants and clubs. But most people head to Chuo-Dori (or Chuo Street/Road). Walk there and throw a coin. I’m sure it’ll hit the door of a high-class brand shop. The Japanese are fashionable people. And this is one of the places they like to hang out. I followed.
On weekends, Chuo-Dori is closed to traffic. Cars can only get across it at the intersection. Everywhere else is a pedestrian mall. Umbrellas with tables and chairs are on the road for shoppers to use. It’s nice in spring and autumn. But in the Tokyo summer, it can feel oppressive.
Photographers were there to capture it. They had their big cameras and even bigger zoom lenses. Their favorite place is the 4-Chome intersection. It’s a magnet for people. On one side is the famous Wako Department Store with its clocktower. Across the road is the Nissan Showroom.
I didn’t limit myself to that area. But the further I went from the pedestrian crossing, the fewer people I saw. Maybe they didn’t want to wander far from the cool of the department stores’ air conditioning?
Anyway, while I was walking, it gave me a chance to check out some of Ginza’s buildings. Some of its architecture is cool. The Wako Department Store, with its clocktower, is very classical. And I love the facade of the Yamaha Building. It is colorful.
Yes, I’ve criticized Tokyo’s architecture in the past. It’s a changing place, though. There were some nice new buildings in the streets surrounding Ginza’s Chuo-Dori. One day, I’ll photograph them. Hopefully, it won’t be on such a hot summer day!
Ginza is a great place for street photography. It is bright and colorful. You will find many of the beautiful people there. But if you go in summer, dress to be cool. Leave the high fashion at home to avoid the heat!
If you are interested, I used these lenses for this article:
- Fujifilm XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR
- Fujifilm XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS Lens
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By the way, have you been to Ginza? If you have, let us know what you think of it. And you can leave your thoughts and comments below.