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The Surprising Ways Tokyo Has Changed In The Last 10 Years

When photos of Tokyo taken, for example, in the 1950s are compared with recent ones, it’s easy to see how much the city has changed. But what about in the last decade?

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In 2007, writer Tatsuo Mitsuchitook photos at various spots throughout the city. Then he returned to those same places this year and once again took comparison shots. The result is fascinating.

The images below are courtesy of Mitsuchi and website Daily Portal Z.

Toranomon (2007)

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Toranomon (2017)

Don’t believe this is the same place?

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Mitsuchi uploaded this helpful image on Daily Portal Z to point out that, yes, this is the same spot.

In front of Tokyo Station (2007)

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In front of Tokyo Station (2017)

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Ginza (2007)

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Ginza (2017)

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Otemachi (2007)

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Otemachi (2017)

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Look how recent the new buildings are.

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What caused these changes? Ten years ago, there were more old Showa-era buildings in Tokyo. They were built right after the war and were starting to show their age, so they have been replaced with gleaming new structures. Other buildings were only a few decades old, like the ones in the 2007 Otemachi photo.

Japan has a long history of building buildings only to tear them down with new ones. This is an earthquake-prone country, so that makes sense. But it’s deeper than that: the main shrine buildings at Japan’s most important Shinto shrine Ise Jingu are destroyed every 20 years. This has been going on for over 1,300 years and is something about Japan that hasn’t changed.

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Nippori Station (2007)

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Nippori Station (2017)

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Also, during the past decade, there has been an increase in foreign tourists, especially from China, leading to hotel construction and renovation. Not all the changes have been drastic.

Akihabara (2007)

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Akihabara (2017)

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But many of them have been.

Iidabashi Station (2007)

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Iidabashi Station (2017)

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For more, check out Daily Portal Z. You can also follow Mitsuchi on Twitter here.


Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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DISCUSSION

fakemanscreams
Fake_Manscream

Very cool stuff. I’ve only lived in Tokyo a couple of years, but it’s amazing how rapidly things get built up, renovated, and even torn down here. I often go back to visit Kofu in Yamanashi (my old college stomping grounds from 10 years ago) and I’m amazed at how much it’s changed. I’m sure it will change even more in Kofu once the Chuo Shinkansen is finished :D