An Hour’s Drive from Kyoto

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In Ayabe Photograpy by Anders Edstrom

Photographer Anders Edstrom shows us photos from Ayabe, Japan


For this week's column, photographer Anders Edström talks us through the very personal location he chose for his story in AnOther Magazine A/W09.

Anders Edström:These photographs were taken in Ayabe, an hour drive from Kyoto, in the mountains.  It’s just outside Yoshiko’s  (my wife) grand parents house. I’ve been coming here since 1992. Then, in 1992, I was the first westerner they had seen since the end of the Second World War, when American troops came through the village.

Yoshiko’s grandfather, Hiroshi Shikata, was born year 6, Taishoo period (1916), in the house that his father built. Yoshiko’s grandmother, Yae Shikata, was born year 7, Taishoo period (1917), in the house next door.

They have worked all their lives on the fields, growing rice, tea, shiitake mushrooms, chestnuts, yuzu (a kind of citrus fruit), among other things.

Each day Hiroshi wrote in his diary. Mainly about the weather and how things were growing. At the end of his life he couldn’t remember much, so I was surprised he remembered my face until just before he died. He remembered, because I had helped him pick yuzu a few years before.

I once asked Yae if she has been to Tokyo. She said she has been once, and just a few times to Kyoto. She doesn’t like travelling, because she doesn’t like cars, buses or trains. She prefers walking, and to stay in the place she’s from.


Anders Edström was born in 1966 in Frösö, Sweden. In 2009, The Anchorage, a feature film he co-directed won a Golden Leopard at Locarno International Film Festival and the Douglas E. Edwards Independent Film Award. His book Safari, will be published by Nieves in 2010. He lives in Tokyo with his wife and two children.