Sekibun Memorial Park, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture, Japan
（2-44 Sekiya, Chuo Ward, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture, Japan）
Niigata City’s residents have a major park nestled along the seaside in the city’s suburbs. There’s also an observation platform located beside the towering octopus, offering a beautiful view of the Sea of Japan. A fairly large number of people were there on dates when I was photographing it.
Researching park play equipment is tough
Photographing park play equipment at night takes a rather serious investment of time and effort, and the park research beforehand is just as much of a struggle. My research on intriguing park play equipment begins with Internet searches. I start with “park play equipment,” then look for images and interesting information as I add in words like “weird,” “fun,” or “surreal.” I can identify the locations when the images come from places like municipal park departments, but the research isn’t always that easy. A lot of my results come from blogs or similar sites, and they don’t list locations in a lot of cases.
Otherwise, I also sometimes get tips from customers at events and exhibitions. This gives me definite locations, so it’s the easiest method.
Still, it’s very rare for me to find things readily, and I often resort to my secret weapon: the park specialty app PARKFUL. It’s an app that gives you instant access to the location of all the parks across Japan. It can locate the nearest park instantly, so it’s very handy for when you need to use a bathroom while out, or when you just need a short break. I use it to research promising parks via satellite photos, then jump over to Google Street View once I find a suspicious object. The only way to go about it is to repeat this process, going over one park at a time in depth. It’s really a slog, but my chances of finding interesting park play equipment are vastly improved over taking shots in the dark with Google Earth.
Park photography doesn’t work without the Internet. After you find park play equipment online, the next step is going to see it in person. But Google’s satellite photos are actually a bit behind reality, and there are plenty of cases when the equipment is already gone by the time I get there.
Even doing this level of dull background work, it often leaves me heartbroken when it doesn’t pay off. Yet I’m driven by this inexplicable sense of duty that someone has to photograph these places, so I’ll keep struggling through the research. If you have any information on intriguing park play equipment, please let me know. I’ll be waiting to hear from you!
Play equipment in an apartment complex in Kitakarasuyama, Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, Japan
This play equipment is located in a park without a clear name, inside an apartment complex. It’s quite unique, with the picture of the apartment complex on the park hill. I’m sure I wouldn’t have wanted to photograph it if it were just exposed concrete. I tip my hat to the creativity of whoever painted this awesome picture!
Born in 1976 in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. After graduating from Hosei University, he worked for a company for 3 years and started freelance work in 2005. He published the photo-books “Rooftop Amusement Parks” and “Park Play Equipment” with pictures of rooftop amusement parks and park play equipment all around Japan, respectively. His work has a unique perspective and texture which has drawn interest both within Japan and overseas.