The archives of the New York Public Library hold a hundred or so color photographs by Kusakabe Kimbei that offer a fascinating look at 19th century Japan. From serene landscapes and scenes of everyday life, to cityscapes and landmarks recognizable even today — these photos offer glimpses of Japan and Japanese society in the halcyon days before rapid modernization and industrialization transformed the country forever.
Each image is accompanied by a wealth of information, and the photos are available for download in various sizes. It’s also possible to order photos as art prints. Visit the NYPL Kusakabe Kimbei collection for a nostalgic look at the Japan of yore.