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Reflections of Tokyo During the COVID-19 Pandemic, a Photo Essay

Have you ever seen Asakusa this empty?

By 1 min read

The streets of Tokyo, one of the world’s most densely-inhabited cities, are known for an unrelenting press of bodies from dawn till dusk. The energy of human activity is tangible, but not since the government politely requested everyone to stay home to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Both tourist spots and local neighborhoods were left deserted with the cacophony of everyday life comparatively silenced.

These photos capture the not-quite-a-lockdown purgatory of pandemic life in Tokyo over the past few months. 

Tourist ghost towns

Never has the ever-loyal Hachiko been so lonely. Maybe he’s happier without a single tourist to pose for a selfie with him.
The practically deserted world-famous Shibuya Scramble Crossing.
Asakusa’s Senso-ji Temple looks quite peaceful sans crowds.
One solitary hopeful shop remains open in an empty Senso-ji shopping street.

Life must go on

In the midst of an international health emergency, duty-bound workers commute home via the busy Tozai line around 9 p.m.
Hungry patrons practice social distancing in the queue for fast food as workers serve them from behind plastic barriers.
This normally heaving shop in suburban Tokyo has been left void of activity but for one man who’s just got to get his manga fix.
People deleted. An eerily-deserted street of open but empty izakayas and restaurants in Ichikawa lays in wait.
Dancing the virus away in Edogawa. This fella has me thinking “will I come out of this fitter or fatter?”
The number of days until the 2020 Olympic Opening Ceremony that never was. Outside Tokyo Station.

Japan’s State of Emergency has come to an end (for now), but let’s be smart about continuing social distancing. The predicted second wave of COVID-19 infections could be around the corner, so let’s be prudent before we go and pub crawl/ stumble around Kabukicho.

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