It must take Hitoshi Kobayashi a long time to walk anywhere if his collection of photographs is any indication. The photographer has been gaining attention online for his galleries of photos dedicated solely to the facades of local buildings tucked away in the quiet streets and alleyways of suburban Tokyo. In fact, taking a stroll through his pictures is almost like being spirited away to another world and time altogether.
Though Kobayashi lives in the sprawling metropolis known as Tokyo, it’s neither the skyscrapers nor the bustling commotion of Japan’s capital which intrigues him. Instead, he finds beauty in the simple, everyday sights of local neighborhoods and buildings that have stood untouched for decades. In the artist’s own words:
“Timeworn buildings, overused dustpans and even small inventions like attaching a broken door with a string–these are the kinds of things that I find fascinating. The areas I like to go to are restaurant alleys in provincial cities. Old onsen [hot springs] towns are filled with retro, too.”
Folks who have visited Japan are sure to recognize some of the rustic scenes found in his work, from flowerpots overflowing with vines to hand-drawn paintings on a business’ exterior, all of which impart the same sense of timeless nostalgia often found in Studio Ghibli films.
At the time of this writing, Kobayashi has 676 posts uploaded to his Instagram account. Below we’ve shared a mere 15 of those to give you a feel for some of his work: