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Tokyo Toden Arakawa Line

Today’s first picture is an example of how to not do night photography. I only had my TZ7 with me at the time. Although the TZ7 can accidentally take pictures at night with the correct exposure, it doesn’t usually. I couldn’t get it to take any with an exposure length of more than 1 second or less than 15 seconds, and you can’t manually set it for exactly 4 or 5 seconds, which is what this view needed. The above is the 15-second version, which turns the train into a nearly complete ghost. I’ll get a better picture of the Toden Arakawa Line (都電荒川線) at night with my LX3 (which does allow for any exposure of my chosing) one of these evenings.

The Arakawa Line is the closest train system to our apartment. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go where we usually need to go and is slow compared to the Tokyo Metro and other train systems we can choose from. But it is a fun train to ride when you aren’t in a hurry and have no place in particular to go. You can ride it all day, getting off and on as many times as you wish, for just 400 yen. Kids (under 12) pay half price to ride.

This old, streetcar, tram type line feels a bit like riding the San Francisco Cable Car. The controls all seem to be mechanical. There are no computer displays or buttons to push. Instead, levers are pulled and switches are flipped. This is the last of its kind in Tokyo, even though the city was covered with them in the first half of the 20th Century.

There are several interesting neighborhoods near the Minowa end of the line.

Here is a video I took of a little stretch. Unfortunately, no streetcar passed us going the other way while this was being taken. Other than having to wear a tie, I think this would be a very fun job to have–at least for a year or two.

One Response to “Tokyo Toden Arakawa Line”

  1. 1

    While the first shot is not a “technically correct” photo, the image of the ghost train is quite striking, actually!