Pre-war, bomb surviving, Tokyo substation in the snow

In 1945, as part of the United State’s strategic bombing of Japan, the Hitachi Aircraft Company in west Tokyo was hit 3 times, causing huge damage and the loss of over 100 lives. Against the odds, however, the substation below survived intact; its shrapnel pitted walls still giving away its past even today.

Now powering nothing, but instead surrounded by a park, it serves as a solemn reminder of very different times. And a building that during the second heavy snowstorm in the space of a week, had an odd, stark beauty.



    • says

      Thanks a lot. I thought it made an interesting contrast to the more traditional ‘shrine in snow’ shot last week.

    • says

      There certainly are!

      Skytree is impressive for sure. Never ceases to amaze me just how big it is. But beautiful? Not really. And like you say, all those countless photos don’t make it any prettier…

  1. Allie says

    God I love that shot. Such contrast with the damage highlighted by the snow. Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      Not at all. Good to hear you like it so much. It’s a fascinating sight in nice weather, but even more so in the snow.

  2. says

    So powerful. I like that you included the (I assume?) apartment buildings in the background. Faded by the snow it really gives the illusion that more than just time separates the two buildings; like they’re from completely different worlds.

    • says

      Thanks a lot! Yes, I purposely put the apartment buildings in the frame to highlight the ‘now and then’ contrast. It really is an unusual sight. A really thought provoking one too. In Japan, so much just gets demolished, so it’s good to see somebody had the foresight to save this one.

  3. Don says

    Nice shot, Lee. I like that there is still some color in the foreground of shot, but the snow seems to naturally desaturate the background. Very evocative.

    • says

      Cheers, Don. Yeah, the snow gave it a really faded, old look, which considering its age and history was absolutely perfect. I always stop and look at it when I pass, but this was the first time to see it in the snow. The possibility of an interesting shot of it was what got me out of the house, and fortunately it was even more striking than I had hoped.

  4. kate says

    Hey Lee, Love the photo. Also, thanks for that Google Maps link, great the way you can “walk around” the building.

    • says


      You are welcome. Glad you could ‘explore’ it. Looks very different on a fine day, doesn’t it?

  5. john says

    Aesthetics aside, I wonder how the locals see it? Some such reminders are left standing, and some are demolished.

    • says

      I don’t know to be honest. From spring onwards the grass area round it is full of families picnicking and enjoying the park. I guess it has just become part of the landscape to them. But the plaques outside the building explaining it and the area’s history are always being read with obvious interest by less regular visitors.

      • MrSatyre says

        I take it from your comment that it’s considered to be an historical landmark of some sort?

        • says

          Yes, definitely. If you look at the picture, you can just make out 3 metal plaques on the fence at the front of the building. They give details about the former factory and the substation itself. The dates of the bombing raids and the aircraft used. Plus the number of lives lost.

  6. says

    Nicely captured, I hadn’t seen this one before. I hope you can do some more, similar snow-covered structures after the next snowstorm!

    • says


      Sadly I don’t know anything quite so interesting, quite so near to home, so it’ll mean having to chance Tokyo’s snow averse trains…

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