The colors of Japan

If you’ve ever been to Japan, you’ll probably agree that Japanese advertisers are masters of color—masters of catching eyes and that candy-aisle cog-sci. If you haven’t been, just take one look at a Japanese vending machine or the Akihabara shopping district and you’ll instantly know what I mean. As a recently returned American and creative entity that likes to think about how we perceive and interact with design choices, I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on how color, especially in advertising and communications, seems like it’s on an entirely different level in Japan.

But this post isn’t about that. This post is about simply admiring how color-full Japan is, as I found myself doing with a group of friends for my first time there this May. It was the best of times: right after graduation and freshly summer in Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo. There was eye-candy everywhere, from the emerald, rice paddied countryside to the electric mosaics of nighttime Shinjuku. Here’s a selection of photos from the trip, selected purely because they’re colorful.


Right outside the Tofukui-ji Temple in Kyoto. Such a bright, happy little baby. Just look at it. Let your eyes bask in that solar-powered pink. (❛▿❛✿)


The volcanic glow of one of Akihabara’s multi-storied arcades. A photo you can hear.


Got a lucky shot of this tangy torii tunnel. More than 10,000 of these arches innervate the mountainside, each one paid for by a local business.

Golden, rich egg tarts from a food market in Kyoto.

If we had made it to the famous Arashiyama bamboo forest before dusk, I probably would’ve made that my dedicated green photo. But instead I give you this: an ascent through the woods of Mount Takao on Japan’s steepest funicular. Looks like something out of Studio Ghibli. And goes nicely with this next one.

The fading blues of Mount Fuji, as seen from the summit of Mount Takao.

And lastly, Shibuya Crossing. An illustration of controlled chaos.

And that’s it. That’s a brief recap of my brief time in one of the world’s most photogenic and color-saturated countries. I was really satisfied by this series of photos, and couldn’t pass up the chance to share my impression of Japan in the form of these quick blasts of color. Thanks for scrolling along. (^∇^)

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