An image of Nagoya Castle. You can see the donjon at the inner citadel and a small tower. The buildings in the foreground form part of the honmaru palace. The structures on the ends of the roof are golden shachihoko, a mythical animal with a dolphin body and a lion head that protects the building from fire. This image is extremely valuable because it shows what Nagoya Castle looked like during the Meiji Period before many buildings were destroyed by the Earthquake of 1891 or torn down.
From the late 19th century on, Tokyo’s Asakusa Park was a park in the modern sense, an amusement park. This is where the masses went to enjoy themselves. The park was filled with theaters, restaurants, unlicensed brothels, and once movies had reached Japan, scores of cinemas. Asakusa Park pretty much remained Tokyo’s main entertainment district until well into the 20th century, even surviving the devastation of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 (Taisho 12).
Tomitake-tei (富竹亭, Tomitake Hall) on Bashamichi-dori, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, a stone’s throw from Yoshidabashi Bridge. The theater, which was active through 1912 (Taisho 1), was owned by Takejiro Takeuchi (竹内竹次郎), who ran three other yose in Yokohama.
Kotohira-gu, popularly known as Konpira-san, a Shinto shrine in Kotohira, Kagawa Prefecture. Amazingly, the main shrine building seen on this image—built in 1877 (Meiji 10)—looks virtually exactly the same today. This is one of those relatively few places left in Japan where you can truly jump back into time.
The Grand Hotel opened on August 16, 1873 (Meiji 6) and was soon considered the height of Western culture and elegance in Japan. It was located on the Bund and overlooked Yokohama Harbor.
Antique and art dealer Samurai Shokai at Honcho 1-20 in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture. It sold silk, porcelain, lacquerware, jade, cloisonné, damascene and more. The company, established by Yozo Nomura (1870-1965) in 1894 (Meiji 27), was one of the most respected dealers in Japan. It even offered financial support to traditional craftsmen, such as silversmiths and lacquer artists, so they could produce high quality products.
A crowd of harbor workers load high quality Kyushu coal onto a US army transport ship in Nagasaki. As soon as ships entered Nagasaki Harbor, hundreds of men, women, girls and boys swarmed around them on coal barges, built temporary structures, and started to load the hungry ships with coal. The spectacle was popular entertainment for the passengers.
Kobe City Hall was located next to the Local District Court, on the former grounds of Hachinomiya Jinja, a shinto shrine. It was Kobe’s second City Office and completed in 1909 (Meiji 42).
Yodoyabashi bridge, Osaka. The building on the left is the Osaka branch of the Bank of Japan, located on Nakanoshima island. It was designed by Tokyo University Professor Tatsuno Kingo, and completed in January 1903. What makes this postcard especially interesting is the arch in the back.
Boats are docked in front of a long row of warehouses in Koamicho in Tokyo’s mercantile quarter of Nihonbashi. Ogawa was looking towards Yoroibashi, a steel bridge built in 1873 (Meiji 6), which can be seen in the far right of the image.