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Life in Tokyo | Best Photo-Moments 2020

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

First year living in Tokyo | Husky Loves Japan Photo-Diary

Sakurai Futamigaura: A white Tori Gate on a Japanese beach at Sunset.
Contact Husky Loves Japan if you want to use our photos. We'll hook you up with hi-res images for free.

Life in Tokyo started in early 2020 for yours truly. A strange and pandemic journey it has been. Nothing went according to plan. Intended excursions and expectations went down the drain, for the most part, while unexpected moments became the highlights of the year.

In hindsight, I would not want to be without any of the minor or major moments in my life in Tokyo the past year. The situation forced us to make some creative choices, to explore some lesser traveled paths, and to seek out some less risky destinations for exploration.

The following picture series is the best moments I managed to capture on camera from my life in Tokyo in 2020. Many times, the best moments fled from us before we could get the camera ready. Other moments are just too magical to waste time on worrying about lighting and shutter speed.

In other words, the following photo diary is not my favorite moments of 2020, it is my top 20 photo moments. Some of them were planned, like the trip to Mount Fuji or the viewing of Cherry Blossoms. Most of them, however, were places or incidents that just happened to catch my eye when walking around Tokyo, or taking trips around Japan.

Without further ado, here are our favorite photo moments from my life in Tokyo 2020:

1. Gotanda Izakaya (View from Yamanote Line)

Izakaya and Family Mart at night, located outside Shinagawa Station in Tokyo.
Get your cash at Family Mart, loose it at the Izakaya right next door. (Tokyo life in a nutshell.)

On the way to downtown Tokyo from Haneda Airport - in a haze from sleep deprivation, jet lag, and an unusually deep nose-check at arrival - I happened to catch a glimpse of this Izakaya from the train. By chance, it became one of my favorite shots of all 2020.

2. Japanese Souffle Pancakes

Stack of Japanese souffle pancakes, with cream and chocolate bits on top.
Japanese souffle pancakes, aka edible clouds, is a taste experience not to be missed.

There are few better ways to start your life in Tokyo, than to down a stack of Japanese souffle pancakes with some locally brewed craft beer. This Husky is not the biggest sweet tooth in the world, but who am I to resist perfectly fluffy chocolate clouds like these?

3. Astro Boy (Asakusa Graffiti)

Astro Boy graffiti at Nishi-Sando shopping street in Asakusa, Tokyo.
Astro Boy to the rescue, here in action at Asakusa.

Graffiti is a rare thing in Tokyo, even ones as obviously ordered and sanctioned as this one. That doesn't make it any less impressive, and a big contrast to the atmosphere found in most parts of Asakusa. Head over to Nishi-Sando shopping street to find this rare graffiti.

4. Cherry Blossoms at NakaMeguro

Cherry Blossoms in full bloom alongside NakaMeguro River.
Meguro River at Nakameguro is a magical place in spring, and incredibly crowded. Take care!

Cherry blossoms is an obligatory tourist activity in Japan, and Nakameguro is one of Tokyo's cherry blossom hot spots. This moment was by no means coincidental. Out of the 50 or so pics I took this day, this slightly askew view of the spectacle captured the ambiance best.

5. Izakaya Sake Cup

Close-up of a sake cup at a Japanese izakaya.
Sometimes the cups just align in perfect harmony.

Going to izakaya's, or Japanese tapas bars if you will, always makes life in Tokyo feel more authentic. The clamor of Japanese salarymen and shouting waiters feels timeless somehow. The perfect lining up of sake cups was a rare moment of beauty though. Luckily I still hadn't got so far down the sake bottle that I forgot to pick up my camera.

6. Sumida River, Sky Tree & Golden Poo

Tokyo Sky Tree and Asahi Golden Poo, seen from Sumida River.
Sumida River has some very nice walkways for summer promenades.

Asakusa has more to offer than tourist traps and kitchen wares (Kappabashi). Along the Sumida River is a nice walkway with some even nicer views of iconic Tokyo buildings. Here you'll also find quite a few restaurants and bars with very nice atmosphere.

7. The Obligatory Shot | Tokyo Skyline

Tokyo skyline, seen from the restaurant floor at Ebisu Garden Tower.
Tokyo from above is a sight that never ceases to amaze.

There is something special about seeing Tokyo from above. We've checked out the view at Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo Tower, Mori Tower Sky Deck, New York Bar at Park Hyatt Tokyo, and Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatory. This view is from the restaurant floor at the Ebisu Garden Place.

8. A Closer Look at Mount Fuji

Japanese local village in the foreground, Mount Fuji in the horizon.
These farm settings enhanced Mount Fuji perfectly, the harsh sunlight less so.

Having seen Mount Fuji from afar at the lookout points mentioned above, we had to take a day trip to get a closer look. On the way we stopped at this picturesque village to snap some shots of a Japanese garden with the majestic mountain in the background.

9. Ginza Rock n’ Roll

Street musician and pedestrians in a busy street in Ginza, Tokyo.
You can't stop rock 'n' roll!

This was just one of those moments that can't be created or recreated. We were on our way to the oldest beer hall in Japan - Ginza Lion Beer Hall - when suddenly this street musician whipped out his electric guitar and started jammin' in the middle of the street.

10. Jiyugaoka’s Little Italy

European inspired houses in Tokyo, also known as Jiyugaoka's Little Italy.
It's like stepping into an Italian village... In Disneyland.

Jiyugaoka has become my turf since moving to Tokyo, and its most famous tourist attraction is this little square known as «little Italy». It comes complete with its own gondola, and is something you visit once, and probably never need to see again. Looks cute though.

11. Sangenjaya Alleyway

A narrow alleyway in Sangenjaya, Tokyo.
Yokocho restaurants is where authentic Tokyo food experiences are found.

I love Tokyo «yokochos», or old school alleyways with local restaurants and bars. My favorite yokochos are in Ebisu, Yurakucho, Kichijoji, and this small spider's web of streets found right next to Sangenjaya Station.

12. The Happiest Guy in Tokyo

French bulldog in a wheel-chair for dogs, looking very happy that his operation went well.
Tokyo is full of tiny dogs, but none as charming as this happy fellow.

Sometimes you just happen upon these guys, who takes whatever obstacles life throws at them with a smile. This little fellow, waiting outside Natural Lawson for his walking partner, was all smiles and wiggles. A real heart-breaker and a true inspiration to us all.

13. Shibuya Crossing Powernap

Construction worker having a powernap in the middle of Shibuya crossing.
Don't underestimate the power of napping.

Another moment where I praise the existence of my smart phone. Tokyo life is hard, even when you have your Toy Story helmet on. Sometimes you just have to take a breather, even when working in the middle of Shibuya Crossing.

14. Tokyo National Museum Garden

Two ladies in kimonos enjoying afternoon tea in the Tokyo National Museum Garden.
Let's enjoy the view, of someone enjoying the view.

This moment was both planned and not. The Tokyo National Museum Garden is idyllic in its own right, but finding myself right behind two kimono-clad ladies having a coffee break in the park... Thank you, Tokyoite strangers, you made my day.

15. Japanese Garden

Street-view of a Japanese garden behind a large concrete wall.
Japanese perfectionism on display for all to see.

Most Tokyo residents are not lucky enough to enjoy the luxury of their own private garden, but the ones who can, they go all in. This lavish estate made me wonder many a time who lives behind the fence. A politician? An Actor? The yakuza? Whoever they are, they know to make the most of their Japanese garden.

16. Making our First YouTube Video

10 cans of Japanese fake beer. A Japanese park in the background.
Even cans of Japanese fake beer look amazing in traditional Japanese surroundings.

For us who can't afford our own garden, the many green lungs in Tokyo are a blessing. This tiny park is one of our favorite spots. It turned out to be the perfect location for our YouTube video about Japanese fake beers. Too bad that all the insect noise destroyed the sound.

17. Tokyo Public Bath House

Public bath house in Setagaya, Tokyo.
Old public bath houses like this are quickly disappearing in Tokyo.

Public bath houses are found all over Japan, in all sizes and standards. This old bathing house looked very authentic to me, but the next month it got tore down and turned into a new building project. All that is left, is this morning moment caught on camera.

18. Kusatsu Hot Springs (Onsen)

The hot spring waters in the middle of Kusatsu's town square.
The onsen-stink at Kusatsu was vile, but the hot springs were amazing.

Life in Tokyo 2020 meant getting out of the big city on holidays and weekends, to avoid the insane crowds, and take in the less traveled paths. Not that Kusatsu is void of people. The onsen town is a very famous tourist destination, but compared to Tokyo commotion, it was like taking a breath of fresh air after having worked a few months in the coal mines.

19. Toranomon Food Court (Christmas drinks)

Christmas drinks with coffee, strawberries and fresh herbs, at Toranomon food court.
Tokyo Christmas Excess - Coffee-Strawberry-Mint-Cocktails.

My plan was to spend the holidays with my family in Norway, but when trapped in Tokyo for Christmas, I had to make the best of it. Check out our video about Japanese Christmas Traditions to see how it went. Life in Tokyo during this festive season turned out a-okay.

20. Sakurai Futamigaura | Fukuoka Tori Gate at Sunset

Sakurai Futamigaura: A white Tori Gate on a Japanese beach at Sunset.
Sunset by Meoto Iwa (The Wedded Rocks) - The perfect end to any journey.

I was fortunate enough to be brought along with some Japanese friends to Fukuoka's Itoshima Peninsula, and its Futamigaura Beach. Little did I know that this would become one of the most memorable moments from my first year in Japan.

Life in Tokyo certainly has a lot of excitement to offer, but it is just the tip of the ice berg of what Japan has to offer. Please join our journey, and we'll keep on posting more photos and writings about our Japan adventures and our Life in Tokyo.

Thanks to all of you who signed up for our news letter over the last year.

We appreciate your support :)

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1 Comment

Ole Kristian Strøm - Syversen
Ole Kristian Strøm - Syversen
Apr 24, 2021

Very interesting and well written.

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