The rather grim semi-rural landscape that borders Tokyo

It’s often hard to know where Tokyo ends and another prefecture begins, as the concrete scenery of nondescript buildings seems to go on forever. The odd river or park the only gaps in the monotony of grey.

Yet after crossing one particular stretch of the Edo River in east Tokyo — rather aptly by the capital’s only man-powered ferry boat — it feels like entering a very different world.

In fact not just a different world, but also a different time.

rural Japan


  1. Don says

    I loved seeing these changes in areas from the train when we were travelling this spring. Part of the lure of Japan for me really is this contrast in the urban fabric – a fabric which both covers so much of the land but is seemingly held back from others. It really is like no other place. =)

    • says

      Yeah, I know what you mean. Plus at night, the landscape comes alive with colour. It’s even beautiful in parts!

  2. Jeffrey says

    I worked in Da-Saitama for about 18-months. Much of the work would take me into areas of Tochigi and Ibaraki bordering Saitama. Japan doesn’t “do” suburbia and ex-urbia well. Outside the cores of the major cities, planning is just abysmal where not absent all together.

    About the only positive aspect of the population decline is that many areas will return “to nature.” Of course the problem with too many areas is that the man-made scars on the landscape, since they never raze abandon buildings, will remain for literally centuries.

    • says

      Yes, very true. I’ve driven a fair bit in Ibaraki ad Tochigi, and despite being ‘out in the country’, a lot of it isn’t very pretty at all…

  3. says

    Love that ferry (Yagironowatashi) There is indeed a bizarrely open uniqueness to the landscape around this river. In fact aside from the Sumida river through the centre of the city, Tokyo’s rivers are amazing places to photograph. Love this photo story by Benoit Dupuis:
    Nice picture by your goodself as always. Glad the city farmers wear those hats it makes the connection with the rural heart of the Japanese clear despite the surroundings. Love it.

    • says

      Thanks a lot, Damon. Very kind of you. Cheers for the link too. A great idea done really well.

      Yeah, it was an interesting walk, in an area I haven’t really explored. Will have to get out there more often. Totally agree about the hat too. Without it, the photo wouldn’t have been the same.

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