Once upon a time, Tokyo was nowhere near the sprawling megalopolis that it is today. Long ago, it wasn’t a sure thing that the small fishing village known as Edo would someday become one of the most bustling cities in the world.

But let’s skip Tokyo’s early years and fast-forward to a slightly more recent age. Ever wondered what the city looked like half a century ago, before the towering skyscrapers and iconic neon lights? Today, we are proud to present a visual comparison of Tokyo, 50 years ago versus the modern day!

Fifty years ago, Japan was in the process of emerging from the ashes of World War II and working its way back to being a major player on the world stage. The 1960s saw continued economic growth and internationalization of the city; the Tokyo Summer Olympics and the completion of the first bullet train in 1964 also paved the way for Japan’s status as a modernized force among nations. It’s hard to even picture what the city would have looked like during those transformative postwar years, which is why we’d like to take a moment out of your day to show you.

Japanese net users have recently been uploading photos of Tokyo taken approximately 50 years ago on the online “textboard” 2channel. If you’ve ever visited Tokyo or are currently living there, brace yourself for some unexpected scenery with the occasional famous landmark thrown in.

Ready for a ride through time? Let’s go!

Opening Ceremony of the Tokaido Shinkansen, 1964

7Pro Tok2

8Pro Tok2

Steam locomotive, 1964

5Image Space Rakuten

A map of the Metropolitan Electric Railway

10FC2 Tsunechan

Tokyo Station, 1933


A typical traffic signal, Showa period 50s (1975-1984)


Shinjuku Station, West Entrance

▼ 1963

14Koho Metro

▼ 2011

15Koho Metro

Shibuya, Showa period early 30s (late 195s)

6  Upjo

Location of the Shibuya 109 Building

▼ 1974

16Koho Metro

▼ 2011

17Koho Metro

Yurakucho Station, Kyobashi Entrance

▼ 1963

18 Koho Metro

▼ 2011

19Koho Metro

Akabane Station, East Entrance

▼ 1963

20 Koho Metro

▼ 2011

21Koho Metro

Shimbashi Station, West Entrance

▼ 1965

22Koho Metro

▼ 2011

23Koho Metro

Tokyo’s Minato Ward, Mita District, Tsunazaka

▼ Edo period (1603-1867)

24Ouj Koshashin

▼ Today

EPSON DSC PictureBlog Img

If you’re interested in seeing more comparisons of specific places in Tokyo 50 years ago versus today, we highly recommend the phenomenal site Tokyo in Half a Century, which comes complete with detailed captions in English. The photos, which were all taken from the same perspective approximately 50 years apart, are arranged side-by-side for maximum effect.

Did anything surprise you in the photos above? Who knows what new changes we’ll see in pictures from 2065 Tokyo!

Source: 2channel via Kotaku USA
Images: 2channel