Tokyo, the vibrant capital of Japan, is a city that seamlessly melds the old with the new. A bustling metropolis filled with neon-lit streets, towering skyscrapers, serene temples, and lush gardens, Tokyo offers endless opportunities for photographers to capture its unique charm and character. In this guide, we will explore the 8 best places to take pictures in Tokyo, each offering its own unique perspective and photographic allure.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Asakusa: A Blend of Tradition and Modernity
- 2 2. Meiji Shrine: A Spiritual Sanctuary in the Heart of Tokyo
- 3 3. Shibuya: Tokyo’s Pulse
- 4 4. Tokyo Tower: An Iconic Landmark
- 5 5. Shinjuku: A Neon Wonderland
- 6 6. Odaiba: An Island of Innovation
- 7 7. Tokyo Disneyland: A World of Magic and Wonder
- 8 8. Tsukiji Fish Market: A Culinary Paradise
- 9.1 Frequently Asked Questions about taking the best photos in Tokyo:
- 9.1.1 How do you take good pictures in Tokyo?
- 9.1.2 Can you take photos in Tokyo?
- 9.1.3 Where can I take pictures in Tokyu Plaza Ginza?
- 9.1.4 What is the most famous picture in Japan?
- 9.1.5 Can you show skin in Tokyo?
- 9.1.6 What is not allowed to bring to Japan?
- 9.1.7 Are jeans allowed in Japan?
- 9.1.8 Are selfie sticks allowed in Japan?
- 9.1.9 Is it OK to take pictures in Japan?
- 9.1.10 What is the best view in Tokyo?
- 9.1.11 How to photograph Tokyo at night?
- 9.1 Frequently Asked Questions about taking the best photos in Tokyo:
1. Asakusa: A Blend of Tradition and Modernity
Asakusa, a district renowned for its traditional charm, is an excellent base for exploring Tokyo with your camera. Home to the iconic Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa provides a glimpse into Tokyo’s historical past with its blend of cultural charm and contemporary flair. This bustling district is dotted with traditional tea houses, quaint shops, and small restaurants, creating a beautiful tapestry of old and new.
Senso-ji Temple: A Photographic Gem
Senso-ji Temple, the main attraction in Asakusa, is an architectural marvel that provides a plethora of photographic opportunities. With its vibrant red lanterns, intricate wooden architecture, and bustling market streets, this ancient Buddhist temple is a photographer’s dream. The best time to visit is early in the morning or after sunset when the temple complex is beautifully illuminated, creating a stunning backdrop for your photographs.
Asakusa’s Hidden Gems
Aside from the temple, Asakusa also boasts a number of lesser-known photographic gems. The narrow streets and alleys, adorned with traditional Japanese lanterns and wooden storefronts, are perfect for capturing atmospheric street photography. For an elevated view, head to the eighth floor of the Asakusa Cultural Center, where you can capture stunning aerial shots of the district.
2. Meiji Shrine: A Spiritual Sanctuary in the Heart of Tokyo
Located in the heart of Tokyo, Meiji Shrine is a serene oasis amidst the city’s urban chaos. This sacred Shinto shrine, dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, offers a tranquil setting for photography. With its towering Torii gate, lush forested surroundings, and traditional wooden structures, Meiji Shrine provides a timeless backdrop for your photos, offering a glimpse into the spiritual heart of Tokyo.
Photo Opportunities at Meiji Shrine
From the grandeur of the Torii gate to the serene beauty of the Inner Garden, Meiji Shrine offers a wealth of photo opportunities. The shrine’s main hall, adorned with intricate woodwork and surrounded by lush greenery, creates a visually captivating scene. Meanwhile, the Inner Garden, known for its iris flowers, provides a colorful spectacle in June, making it an ideal time for photography.
3. Shibuya: Tokyo’s Pulse
Known for its vibrant energy, Shibuya is a must-visit district in Tokyo. This bustling area is home to the world-famous Shibuya Crossing, one of the busiest pedestrian intersections globally. The sight of thousands of people crossing the streets amidst a sea of neon lights creates a dynamic visual spectacle, perfect for street photography.
Capturing the Spirit of Shibuya
The best time to visit Shibuya Crossing is during the evening rush hour, when the crossing is at its busiest. For a bird’s eye view of the chaos, head to the second floor of the nearby Starbucks or the newly opened Shibuya Sky observation deck. Aside from the crossing, Shibuya also offers a plethora of other photographic opportunities, from the quirky fashion trends of Takeshita Street to the modern architecture of Omotesando Avenue.
4. Tokyo Tower: An Iconic Landmark
Tokyo Tower, with its striking design and vibrant orange and white hue, is an unmistakable symbol of Tokyo. As one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, this towering structure offers panoramic views of the sprawling metropolis, making it a prime spot for photography. Whether you’re capturing the tower from the ground or photographing the cityscape from its observation decks, Tokyo Tower provides a unique and unforgettable subject for your lenses.
5. Shinjuku: A Neon Wonderland
Shinjuku, one of Tokyo’s most bustling districts, offers a visual feast of neon lights, towering skyscrapers, and lively street scenes. The district is home to Kabukicho, Tokyo’s largest red-light district, which comes alive at night with its mesmerizing neon signs. Golden Gai, a small district filled with tiny bars and eateries, provides a fascinating contrast to the modern skyscrapers, offering a glimpse into Tokyo’s vibrant nightlife.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden: A Natural Oasis
Located in Shinjuku, the Gyoen National Garden is a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city. The park is particularly beautiful during the spring season when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom, creating a picture-perfect landscape for photography. Whether it’s capturing the trees’ vibrant hues or photographing the serene ponds and bridges, Shinjuku Gyoen offers a peaceful respite from the city’s hustle and bustle.
6. Odaiba: An Island of Innovation
Odaiba, an artificial island in Tokyo Bay, is a hub of modern innovation and technology. The island offers stunning views of the city skyline and the Rainbow Bridge, making it a great spot for landscape photography. Moreover, Odaiba is home to a number of futuristic buildings and attractions, such as the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center and the life-sized Gundam statue, providing unique subjects for your photographs.
Capturing Odaiba’s Skyline
The best time to photograph Odaiba’s skyline is during sunset when the city’s buildings are beautifully illuminated against the evening sky. For a unique perspective, take a ferry ride from Asakusa to Odaiba, allowing you to capture the cityscape from the water. On the island, you can also explore the various beach areas and parks, offering additional vantage points for your shots.
7. Tokyo Disneyland: A World of Magic and Wonder
Tokyo Disneyland, a magical kingdom where dreams come true, offers a wealth of photographic opportunities. From the enchanting Cinderella Castle to the whimsical themed lands, Tokyo Disneyland is a place where joy, wonder, and Disney’s beloved characters come to life. Whether you’re capturing the magic of the fireworks display over the castle or photographing the colorful parades, Tokyo Disneyland provides a vibrant backdrop for your photos, creating lasting memories.
8. Tsukiji Fish Market: A Culinary Paradise
The Tsukiji Fish Market, a bustling culinary hub in Tokyo, offers a sensory feast for photographers. With its array of fresh seafood, vibrant stalls, and bustling crowds, this market provides a dynamic setting for food and street photography. From capturing the hustle and bustle of the market to photographing the delectable sushi and sashimi, Tsukiji Fish Market offers a glimpse into Tokyo’s vibrant culinary scene.
Frequently Asked Questions about taking the best photos in Tokyo:
How do you take good pictures in Tokyo?
Taking good pictures in Tokyo involves a few key elements: understanding the local culture, selecting the right locations, understanding the light, and being ready to capture spontaneous moments. It’s also important to respect local customs and etiquette, particularly when photographing people or religious sites.
Can you take photos in Tokyo?
Yes, you can take photos in Tokyo. However, it’s important to respect people’s privacy and avoid taking pictures in private spaces without permission. Additionally, some places such as temples, museums, or certain shops might have restrictions on photography.
Where can I take pictures in Tokyu Plaza Ginza?
Tokyu Plaza Ginza offers a number of great spots for photography. The building’s mirrored, kaleidoscopic escalator entrance is particularly photogenic. Additionally, the rooftop terrace offers panoramic views of the Ginza district, making it a great spot for cityscape photography.
What is the most famous picture in Japan?
One of the most famous pictures in Japan is “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Hokusai. However, in terms of photography, images of Mount Fuji, cherry blossoms, and iconic landmarks like Tokyo Tower or Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto are among the most famous.
Can you show skin in Tokyo?
While Tokyo is a modern city, it’s important to remember that Japanese culture tends to be more conservative than Western cultures. Therefore, overly revealing outfits might be seen as inappropriate, particularly in religious or formal settings.
What is not allowed to bring to Japan?
Items not allowed to bring to Japan include narcotics, firearms, counterfeit currency, and certain types of plants and animals. Additionally, some over-the-counter medications containing stimulants are also prohibited.
Are jeans allowed in Japan?
Yes, jeans are commonly worn in Japan. However, if you’re visiting temples, shrines, or other religious sites, or attending a formal occasion, you might want to opt for more formal attire.
Are selfie sticks allowed in Japan?
Yes, selfie sticks are generally allowed in Japan. However, they might be prohibited in certain locations, such as crowded areas, museums, galleries, or on public transportation, for safety reasons.
Is it OK to take pictures in Japan?
Yes, it is generally OK to take pictures in Japan. However, remember to respect people’s privacy and ask for permission when photographing people. Also, be aware that some locations, such as temples or museums, may have restrictions on photography.
What is the best view in Tokyo?
Some of the best views in Tokyo can be enjoyed from high vantage points like the Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, or the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower. These locations offer stunning panoramic views of the city’s skyline.
How to photograph Tokyo at night?
Photographing Tokyo at night can be a magical experience as the city comes alive with neon lights and vibrant colors. Use a tripod for stability and set a slow shutter speed to capture light trails and the city’s movement. Locations like Shibuya Crossing, Shinjuku, and Tokyo Tower are particularly stunning at night.