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bill937ca

Japanese Streets

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bill937ca
Posted (edited)

Some general notes on urban Japanese streets and some videos.

 

  •         many streets in Tokyo are still the same 4 metre width (13 feet) as when they were built in the days before the automobile, making driving on side streets a challenge.
  •          “A street whose principal identity during the evening is that of bar and cabaret district becomes, during the day, a street of houses with children playing     outside.” It also is very common for an owner to operate a business as a coffee shop during the day and as a bar at night. With land at a premium, mixed use and multiple use is a given
  •       There are no sidewalks, just white painted lines on the road that are more guidelines than anything.  Delivery trucks freely park in this area, bicycles are left at odd angles outside shops, and pedestrians walk right down the middle of the street. One way streets are rare, so drivers have to be nimble to avoid cyclists, pedestrians, and other vehicles.
  •        There are generally no alleys for back door delivery, so all activity takes place through the front of the shops. Garbage collection is usually daily and bags are left outside the shop fronts. The streets around the station are alive with activity and lined with restaurants, pachinko parlours, coffee shops, flower shops, bars, ramen shops, fast food places, upscale boutiques, bakeries, department stores, language schools, and drug stores.
  •         Not only the first floor is used for commercial activity; retail and restaurants will locate on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th floors of buildings, usually advertising with a signboard in front of the building.
  •         The commercial buildings in Jiyugaoka are not much to look at, and are often covered with large commercial signage. The interiors of shops and stores were generally more inviting than the exteriors would suggest, something which is very common in Japan.

 

Some videos showing what the landscape looks like along the Chuo line and under the tracks.  Videos by hitorikamonen      Trip under the Chuo Line overpass (Ogikubo → Nishi Ogikubo) 

 

 

Edited by bill937ca
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bill937ca
Posted (edited)

Trip under the Chuo Line overpass (Ogikubo → Nishi Ogikubo)   Videos by hitorikamonen  

 

 

Edited by bill937ca
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bill937ca
Posted (edited)

I like watching videos of the back streets in Tokyo. In the after dark videos what catches my eye is the sheer number of signs and the number of illuminated sandwich board style signs. There are also a good number paper lantern style signs along these 4 metre streets.  The number of traditional streets with sidewalks is quite limited.

 

Japan does not use daylight saving so it gets dark sooner than in places in the west with daylight saving.

 

This tour of Nishiogikubo, a station on the JR Chuo line not too far west of Shinjuku,  starts in a shotengai or covered shopping street. While  the shops are still open the streets are well lit, but once the shops close the streets can be quite dark.  The video is by Nippon Wandering TV which has a whole series of videos like this

 

 

 

Edited by bill937ca

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bill937ca

You will see a lot of chain food business in these videos because of their illuminated signs: KFC, McDonalds, Yoshinoya, Matsuya, Seven Eleven and Family Mart. Strangely Lawsn's doesn't show up too often.

 

These two videos are Koenji, another residential area along the JR Chuo Rapid line.  Videos by Nippon Wandering TV.

 

 

 

 

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Khaul
On 5/12/2019 at 10:25 PM, bill937ca said:

Some general notes on urban Japanese streets and some videos.

 

  •         many streets in Tokyo are still the same 4 metre width (13 feet) as when they were built in the days before the automobile, making driving on side streets a challenge.
  •          “A street whose principal identity during the evening is that of bar and cabaret district becomes, during the day, a street of houses with children playing     outside.” It also is very common for an owner to operate a business as a coffee shop during the day and as a bar at night. With land at a premium, mixed use and multiple use is a given
  •       There are no sidewalks, just white painted lines on the road that are more guidelines than anything.  Delivery trucks freely park in this area, bicycles are left at odd angles outside shops, and pedestrians walk right down the middle of the street. One way streets are rare, so drivers have to be nimble to avoid cyclists, pedestrians, and other vehicles.
  •        There are generally no alleys for back door delivery, so all activity takes place through the front of the shops. Garbage collection is usually daily and bags are left outside the shop fronts. The streets around the station are alive with activity and lined with restaurants, pachinko parlours, coffee shops, flower shops, bars, ramen shops, fast food places, upscale boutiques, bakeries, department stores, language schools, and drug stores.
  •         Not only the first floor is used for commercial activity; retail and restaurants will locate on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th floors of buildings, usually advertising with a signboard in front of the building.
  •         The commercial buildings in Jiyugaoka are not much to look at, and are often covered with large commercial signage. The interiors of shops and stores were generally more inviting than the exteriors would suggest, something which is very common in Japan.

 

 

I would add a couple of important notes:

  • on-street parking is generally not allowed. Parking is not socialised, but provided by the private sector.
  • there are relatively few zoning restrictions. Heavy industry needs to be separated from other uses, but that's pretty much it. Anything else goes anywhere: school next to repair workshop next to apartments with combini in the ground floor next to temple next to love hotel... Zoning determines maximum heights, but that's pretty much it. 

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railsquid
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Khaul said:

 

I would add a couple of important notes:

  • on-street parking is generally not allowed. Parking is not socialised, but provided by the private sector.

 

This, I've lost count of the number of times I've seen people mark parking spots on public road space like it's Europe or North America.

 

The main exception is metered parking, which you need some nice wide spacious roads for.

 

Bicycle parking is also theoretically forbidden-unless-permitted.

Edited by railsquid

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bill937ca

This is Jimbocho.  It is the area around Jimbocho subway station where three subway lines meet.  The Toei Mita line, the Toei Shinjuku line and the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon line.  it is west of Kanda station, south of Ochanomizu station (JR Chuo Rapid line and the Chuo-Sobu line) alongside the river and some distance east of Shinjuku Station.

 

It is primarily a commercial area. Nippon Wandering TV has day time and rainy night videos

 

The videos show arterial streets and back streets. There are a fair number of surface parking lots along the back streets, something that doesn't show up in many of the other neighbourhood videos.  I see more commercial vehicles than personal vehicles, although many of the Kei vans could be personal or commercial vehicles.  There is not the usual sense of busy traffic streets for a core area.

 

Video by Nippon Wandering TV.

 

 

 

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railsquid
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Something which is rarely modelled, but is potentially interesting from an efficient use of space point of view, is the "planned development road" (計画道路).

 

Say you have a layout and you would really like to have a 4-lane road for some reason, but there's not enough space to construct a full-length one -  no problem, build a short section and have it narrow back down to two lanes very suddenly. This is totally prototypical for Japan, where the Powers That Be decide it would be nifty to have some roads wider than 4.5 metres, but these need to be carved out through the existing urban landscape, so there is a whole network of planned roads which are slowly, very slowly, taking shape in a hodge-podge fashion. An example I happen to be familiar with is the Inokashira-dori in Tokyo between Harajuku and Kannana (Ring Road Number 7), see e.g. here:

 

https://goo.gl/maps/kysEodQTvbVCp76G6

 

The road running horizontally is the Inokashira-dori; if you look left or right it's 4 lanes, but the section the map is centred on only has two. If you zoom in you can see there are empty plots, which if built on would easily make the road wider - the "problem" is that there is no compulsory purchase ("eminent domain" in North American terms I believe), so it can take a long time for the city to acquire the space needed (this also applies to railway companies who need to carve out a few metres either side of their lines so they can add extra running lines, raise the tracks etc.). I lived close to the location on the map over 20 years ago, and it doesn't look much different now than it did then...

 

Like I said, there is no compulsory purchase, however there is "compulsory sale", so the property owner, when they decide to sell, must sell it to whoever is building the whatever. Obviously people then tend to sell more quickly than they would usually do if they find themselves being surrounded a major road under construction, but some people hold out, for example this house was occupying the left-hand lane of a major north-south highway development in western Tokyo for a few years, see this Google Street View from 2017:

 

https://goo.gl/maps/hJMZktRz7Dz76NcL7

 

It's since gone, but going backwards and forwards in time you can see how the road took shape around it.

Edited by railsquid
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