Ogikubo in Black and White

Kampachi Road traffic
Kampachi Road near Ogikubo.

Photographing Ogikubo has never been high on my list of priorities. That is quite strange as I’ve lived near it for some years. One reason is that getting there is a little tricky. It isn’t that far in a straight line, but it is a long walk. Going by train is more comfortable. But that means I need to make a roundabout train trip. In short, its location is not the best. The other thing is that it lacks photographic appeal. Compared to other places in Tokyo, it is a bit bland.

It has a lot of ramen shops, though! That makes it popular with locals. And, there is a 24-hour supermarket, but that is groceries. If you want real shopping, you need to go to Kichijoji, Shibuya, or Shinjuku. Even Nakano offers more. As a place to enjoy a night out, Ogikubo is on the quiet side. More of a salaryman kind of place?

I think half the problem is that Ogikubo is old. Many of the buildings date from the 1970s, or maybe even the 60s. It’s like modernity skipped it, rather like how Shimokitazawa used to be.  Shimokita evolved. It developed into an area where Tokyoites could spend a night out. People enjoy looking through its many second-hand clothes shops. Ogikubo has never changed. It is an excellent place to live.

The location is excellent. he station has the Chuo, Sobu, and Tozai lines that make other places in Tokyo accessible. Going east or west by train is simple. Shinjuku and Shibuya aren’t far away. Commutes to work are usually easy for most people. Nothing is too far. 

Rents also seem reasonable by Tokyo standards. It has all the amenities you could need (including a Don Quijote and a 24-hour Seiyu supermarket). It can be a charming and quiet place with some temples, shrines, and a few small parks.

But, there isn’t a lot for photography. If you are an avid street photographer and like working with people, that is different. Ogikubo can offer you something. That genre has never been my strong point, though.

In my case, I’ve never been able to go there and get a lot of “keeper” photos. The area doesn’t have much that attracts me. It does have a few bright spots, though. One of them is Otaguro Park.

The park is small but lovely. It was named after Motou Otaguro (1893-1979). He is said to be Japan’s first music critic and owned the house on the grounds. Incidentally, he lies in Somei Cemetery, another beautiful place in Tokyo. I recommend this place for an autumn visit when it lights up for night visits. It is popular during that season.

Otaguro Park entrance
The entrance to Otaguro Park.

Ogikubo is a pleasant place to live as it has everything you need. But if you are a photographer, you might find better places in Tokyo. Still, I could be completely wrong! That is most definitely a possibility. If you can set me straight, please give me some tips. I’d appreciate that. 

Ogikubo in Black and White photo gear:

  • Camera body:  Fujifilm X-T3
  • Lens: Fujifilm XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

For more black-and-white articles, look at:

External guides for Ogikubo:

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