The first time I ever reflected on my Tokyo photography was April 23, 2014. It was a bright morning, just after the last of the fallen sakura blossoms had disappeared from the sidewalks. I was wistful—my maiden voyage to Japan would be over in a matter of hours—and reflective, traipsing through Shinjuku for what I hoped wouldn’t be the last time.
Obviously, this wasn’t my final foray in Tokyo, or even close to it. On the other hand, as I recently completed what was probably my 20th or 21st swing through the city (amid decidedly chillier weather, and an ongoing global pandemic no less), I felt quite similar to how I did seven Aprils ago.
Returning to Tokyo at the end of my 2014 trip evoked in me, for the first time ever in Japan, feelings of familiarity and nostalgia, in spite of how sparingly I’d really gotten to know Japan’s capital. Today, although I’ve invested literal years of my life digging into its nooks and crannies, Tokyo still arouses a delightful sense of foreignness, even in parts of the city I thought I knew.
(Well, it isn’t always delightful. There are times I’ve been out taking pictures of Tokyo, many of them in fact, that I get lost when I have neither the patience nor the time to find my way back.)
I’ve assembled this collection to be near-universally inspiring. That is to say, whether you’re closer in your depth of connection to the city to where I am today, or are more akin to the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed (late) 20-something savoring the Shinjuku sun with a cup of Mt. Donut coffee in tow, I hope looking through these images will encourage you to continue peeling away Tokyo’s layers.
The images I’ve curated chronicle Tokyo moments throughout the past seven years, although I haven’t arranged or labeled them as such. Tokyo is weirdly timeless, in spite of the decidedly futuristic aesthetic that surrounds you as you sightsee, both amid the neon of night and during hanami along the Meguro River or in Yoyogi Park.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if your Tokyo photography fit in well alongside mine!