SHOWA SNAP: Ginza in the 1960s

Ginza is not just one of the most expensive areas of Tokyo, but of the world. In the early 1960s the area wasn’t quite as developed yet, but look at the cars. Toyopet Crown taxis, privately owned Datsun 210s, what looks to be a Hino bus, and even a 1961 Chevy Impala sedan swarm the streets. You can almost smell the hydrocarbons! 

If you’ve been to Tokyo you’ve likely visited Ginza. Today, high end luxury shops populate the area. Nissan once had its world headquarters there, and though they have moved to Yokohama the company still maintains a small showroom at the 4-chome intersection.

Image: Shigeichi Nagano


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12 Responses to SHOWA SNAP: Ginza in the 1960s

  1. SHC says:

    Cool picture, I’m betting 85% of the viewers weren’t around in the “60’s.

  2. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    From the 15%…

    The “globe” always throws me off from the angle. I think the shot is to the west from the Mitsukoshi Department store.

    Ginza 4 Chome hosted the first McDonalds & Starbucks (actually a block off). Mid left screen would be where the Nissan showroom you talked about would be. Under the intersection is the Ginza Station for the Ginza Line: the oldest subway in Asia.

    The picture shows those canvas truck bed canopies that are still popular today. I think they look cool. My school bus was an old Hino in grade school; I remember marveling at the huge faceted color indicators on the dash (they still use them) & the windshield wipers that were never in sync with each other (vacuum maybe?). Another Japanese touch are the big glass “break to open” emergency exit handles.

    I may have asked this before, but, please solve a mystery that drives me nuts to this day: Up until the seventies or so, heavy trucks & busses had three green lights across the top of the cab. What did they indicate? Speed? Gear? (They are not clearance lights). Thanks in advance!

    • Alan says:

      We still use cab mounted speed indicator lights on trucks.
      One for 15km/h, two for 30, and three for 60 I think…

  3. Dennis Deeds says:

    I saw the 240Z on display there on my way back to the States in 1971. Got home, bought one a few weeks later, and still have it.

  4. MikeRL411 says:

    Lord ! does that picture bring back memories ! I was there during that era. You would not believe just how gorgeous that area looked at Christmas time , all brightly lit up [no LEDs] I wonder how the then fragile electric system kept up with the demand, nightly demand may be the real answer, everyone else was sleeping.

    I have been back since and, yes, the current Christmas decorations are wild. But there’s a difference ! It’s now Disneyland versus for the lack of a comparison, old fashioned Knott’s Berry Farm down home authenticity. I really liked Knott’s when you could actually meet old man Knott walking the street checking up on the crowd. Cordellia is long gone but they still use her recipes at the chicken restaurant.

  5. Vanilla Rice says:

    Is that an IMPALA at the bottom right?!?!

    Ain’t nothin’ but a G-thang, baaabay.

  6. Toyotageek says:

    Great photo.
    Keep them coming.
    I love these views of the Showa era.
    I vote for having Showa Snap every Saturday or Sunday 🙂

  7. Ant says:

    Love this stuff. Most of those buildings are twice the height now, or they feel like it from ground level at least! Only visited a couple of times but not yet seen any interesting cars there despite Ginza’s reputation for high-end vehicles. Had more luck in Akihabara further up the street!

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