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  • Writer's pictureRobin Yong

Uonami-Shiinamachi 魚波

Updated: Jan 20

Uonami-Shiinamachi 海鮮料理 魚波 椎名町店 (Seafood Bar Uonami Shiinamachi)- one of the most photographed locations in Tokyo by professional and street photographers. This quaint izakaya is right next to Shiinamachi Station in Tokyo, a bit north of Shinjuku.

The Shiinamachi area is where renowned Japanese cartoonist such as Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion), Fujio Akatsuka (Tensai Bakabon), and Fujiko Fujio (Doraemon) spent their youth. The Tokiwa-sō apartment building they stayed in has been known as a sacred place for manga. Although the building itself is no longer in existence these days, it is still possible to visit the ramen shops where the cartoonists dined, as well as a memorial monument nearby. Shiinamachi is where the cool image of Japan was created, and it continues to take the world by storm today.

The photo easily relates to a scene out of the movies or comic books. As a fine art print, it is easily something that people would like to have on the walls of their homes or office space.

The best time to photograph the place is probably during sunset, against the orange of the sky when the neon lights have just been turned on. I tried to come for this hour but by the time I got here it was past 8pm so I went in for a quick dinner first before coming out to do this picture at 9pm. This is really a no-frills Japanese-style restaurants/bar - very down to earth and nothing too fancy but sometimes, simplicity is the best! Much of the menu is all about seafood - authentic Japanese fare catered for the local residents so perfect for me!

Photographing this location is easy - There's an overhead flyover/ bridge (Shiina Bridge on the Shuto Expressway) opposite this restaurant so you can stand there and photograph it from a great vantage point without worrying about people or cars getting into your shot. You can wait for a pedestrian, bicycle or taxi to pass by so your picture becomes a little more lively. It's basically the same few angles and shots. Maybe a little rain or big snow with someone passing by with an umbrella might make a better picture. Heavy snow is not easy to come by in Tokyo...I think on average it occurs once every 5 years and you really need it at a time when the restaurant is still open so you get the neon lights and window lights. Conversion to monochrome looks good as well...

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