Daily Photo: Pontocho Alley in Kyoto

January 2, 2009 · Print This Article

I was excited to explore the small back alleys of Kyoto.  Before going I had no idea of the fame of Pontocho Alley.  Once there though I learned that this street is home to geisha and maiko (see photo) who display their talents in places no mere tourist can simply wander into.  This photo was taken on New Year’s Eve, Eve when Pontocho was no doubt much quieter than it normally is.  The view is down one of the very small side alleys leading off of Pontocho proper.


  • Nikon D80
  • Nikkor 50mm 1.8D lens
  • handheld shot



5 Responses to “Daily Photo: Pontocho Alley in Kyoto”

  1. on January 2nd, 2009 11:52 AM

    I like it! Those neon signs in the left rear are bright! I don’t know what “one-chip color area” is, but I wonder what part of the photo you metered?


    Jason Collin Reply:

    Thanks Ben….I use active matrix metering, with one-point focus and the range set to wide (on my Nikon D80). I probably set the focus on the red lanterns on the left and then recomposed.

    I usually choose the brightest object to set the focus on for night shots, as long as it’s not bright enough to make the rest of the shot dark.


  2. Steve-O
    on January 4th, 2009 9:44 AM

    The reds, greens and blues contrast nicely.


  3. on April 5th, 2009 1:25 PM

    The fist time I walked down Pontocho, the Japanese friend I was with didn’t clearly explain that this was a famous and historically significant street by the Kamogawa river. But it was so interesting, I permanently embedded the location in my mind.

    Only years later, during my first 3 month adventure in Japan when I was actually living in Kyoto, did I come to realize that this was not just some random street we were walking down.


    Jason Collin Reply:

    I found the street to be cleaner and more manicured than I was expecting, almost sterile. I was also there during New Year’s time when many people might have been out of town or just home, so there wasn’t much buzz on the street then, unfortunately.


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