15 September 2011 ~ 14 Comments

Shooting Trains In Japan

Well, I guess even an amateur photographer should find a niche, and I think I’ve stumbled upon mine.

Since childhood I have had a deep and abiding love for the trains. I practically grew up on the NYC Subways and I know the lines and stations probably as well as the train staff. Learned many a life lesson aboard the trains. (Maybe I’ll write a book about my life on trains someday!)

Even many of the posts on this blog, beneath my notice (and readers of Loco in Yokohama have probably noticed this) take place on the trains.

To me, the trains have always represented power, mobility, escape, sanctuary and, most of all, peace of mind. I’ve gotten some of the best sleeps of my life within the lulling embrace and comforting confines of a subway car.

I had a interesting thought yesterday that’ gave me a “What The…” pause for the cause: Perhaps the reason I lose patience with our hosts is because they, in a sense, commit what I consider to be sacrilege! When they commit their acts of “terrorized-ism” in the one place in the world my soul has sanctified as Holy Ground, the offense is compounded. Like spitting on a Mosque.

So, with this new nugget of knowledge of Self, I can see why a good HALF of my photos are connected to the trains here. At least now that I know where this is coming from I can focus properly and not haphazardly on what is clearly STILL a passion of mine.

I wouldn’t call myself your typical Trainspotter or one of those Densha Otaku you see running around here in Japan (generally looking strange as all get out). I think my passion is not so much on the trains themselves- their styles and vintage and all that stuff- (though I do love the history of trains) but more with the everyday life on the train and in and around the stations. Not so much on the train and station staff but on the commuters themselves. Not so much on routes and timetables but on the human interaction with these machines. I do get off on the architectural design of stations, though, and the way most stations here in Japan are the heart of the town, with all veins and arteries of the area leading to and away from the station.

I wonder if those distinctions were clear enough. Gotta work on that. The pictures below illustrate it though, I think.

I also want to continue shooting other stuff, as well.  I’ll figure it out, but if you have any suggestions I’m all ears.

Below are 12 shots I took this week. Gonna pass on the poll this time around but comments are welcomed.

Thanks in advance.

Tsunashima Station


Kikuna Station


Kikuna Station Gate


Jiyugaoka Crossing 1


Osaki Station 1


Yokohama Station


Jiyugaoka Crossing 2


Toyoko Line


Jiyugaoka Crossing 3


Kikuna Station Bus Stop


Jiyugaoka Crossing 4


Osaki Station 2



Who is this guy, Loco, anyway? Click here!

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14 Responses to “Shooting Trains In Japan”

  1. Caroline Josephine 15 September 2011 at 11:19 pm Permalink

    I’VE GOT OUR NEXT PHOTOSHOOT. Caroline + Trains!

    You know I love trains man. And I love your shots of the trains. We could legit go all out and actually do a photoshoot and everything.

    or you can tell me to shut up 😀

    LOVE THIS : I do get off on the architectural design of stations, though, and the way most stations here in Japan are the heart of the town, with all veins and arteries of the area leading to and away from the station.

    So true. It’s the reason I haven’t gotten lost and ended up on the other side of this island just by pure dumb accident.

    This is great. I love your photos and I do love the train photos a lot. I especially love shots of the tracks, or from the front car looking ahead at where you’re going.

    • Locohama 15 September 2011 at 11:33 pm Permalink

      That actually sounds like an excellent idea. Super modeling on the trains. I’m in! And thanks for the love, CJ! Now that I’m “focused” they’ll probably be much more to love (-;

      • Caroline Josephine 16 September 2011 at 1:31 am Permalink

        Awesome! Let’s make a date then! Wow, I’m actually really excited about this!

        Well I love what you’re focused on, so expect much more love to come 😉

  2. April 16 September 2011 at 12:04 am Permalink

    I love the train photos. I have an emotional response to all of them. I guess because I immediately remember all the trains, and train stations I encountered on my trip in Tokyo.

    Keep taking awesome train photos, please!

  3. Eadwacer 16 September 2011 at 2:28 am Permalink

    I particularly like the Jiyugaoka Crossing 1 shot. It looks like two different photos side-by-side

  4. allen 16 September 2011 at 3:20 am Permalink

    The pictures look amazing! Can’t wait to see them in person!

  5. Korin 16 September 2011 at 11:21 am Permalink

    I love these pictures. They make me so sentimental…

  6. Stacey / SuteisiChan 16 September 2011 at 9:41 pm Permalink

    I really hate the transit system out here in Ottawa. We’re the national capitale of Canada and we don’t have a subway. We have 1 over ground train. And buses. THAT’S IT! They are never on time, they are always dirty and stinky, the drivers always look like they’re hating on their lives, it’s just really not a good experience.

    I had no idea of the transit system in Tokyo when I traveled there, I just knew I wouldn’t have a choice but to experience it first hand and I was feeling really nervous about the whole thing, since I don’t like the transit out here to begin with. (I’ve taken transit systems in other cities in Canada and I haven’t liked any of them! None!)

    To my (happy) surprise I actually quite enjoyed traveling around Tokyo with their train system, it’s clean, it’s quick, it’s effective! I was amazed! The transit people out here could learn TONS from the japanese transit system. Every morning I looked forward to going out and taking the train to explore a new area of Tokyo! The only bad experience I had was Shinjuku… OMG Shinjuku! I got lost once and sworn I would never return to Shinjuku station on my own. NEVER!

  7. Kyon Xyclone 16 September 2011 at 10:34 pm Permalink

    I agree man, I have the same love for trains, for instance just standing at the end of the middle platform at Munchen Hbf makes me really nostalgic. To be honest I’m not sure why that is.. pictures are awesome might I add, i mean if you had like a professional camera you could easily be getting a lot of money for selling them to use in magazines and the like,

  8. Jay Dee 17 September 2011 at 9:42 pm Permalink

    I also love the trains. My focus is less on the trains, not so much on the people, but on the architecture of stations and the neighbourhoods surrounding the stations. I get a completely different feeling at different stations/neighbourhoods, and I like to try capture that feeling by taking neighbourhood tours. I’ve done nearly 30 stations, but have yet to post them on my blog. I have to do something about that.

  9. jim 18 September 2011 at 1:43 pm Permalink

    Enjoy your photos but find the color overly saturated and unnatural. To me this distracts from the quality of the photos. However, I recognize that some others prefer this type of photography. I look forward to seeing more of your photos and your writings. Thanks for your postings.

    • Jay Dee 19 September 2011 at 12:52 am Permalink

      I use the same system for photos as he does sometimes. It’s all Instagram, which has filters to make the photos look vintage. There are a couple of filters that do saturate the colours.

      • jim 19 September 2011 at 1:59 pm Permalink

        I appreciate your comments. To me extreme color saturation is an artistic approach to photography. Using filters for photo correction in difficult situations is understandable. I like a natural photograph to capture reality particularly for general landscape scenes. But it is all a matter of individual preferences.

  10. kp 25 September 2011 at 1:01 am Permalink

    Meant to comment ages ago, but got side tracked. I could not agree more with your interest not so much in the trains themselves but the live and lives in and around them. Growing up in Oklahoma I had no train experience until coming to Japan, so it was an adventure and a treat getting to know the train system. I thoroughly enjoy using the trains and thoroughly enjoy the images you capture in and around the trains.

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