Tokyo is one of the only places in the world that gracefully blend the traditional and the ultramodern, offering its visitors dazzling Tokyo photography spots. From its neon-lit streetscapes to its lush green gardens and beautiful shrines, Tokyo photography spots never cease to provide amazing opportunities to take breathtaking pictures and cultivate photography skills of both amateurs and professionals.
Take your camera and follow us on this journey. Here are the best Tokyo photography spots you absolutely need to visit to capture the beauty of Japan’s capital!
6. Harajuku – 原宿
Harajuku is where Japanese youth-oriented fashion happens. No one can deny that the teenagers and young adults roaming the streets of Harajuku have a high sense of fashion, and if asked nicely, a lot of them don’t mind being snapped in a picture or two.
In that regard, Takeshita Street is the focal point of Shibuya. Rainbow cotton candy, pink crepe shops, anime cafes and kawaii clothing stores, everything in this street breathes cuteness and quirkiness. Shoot a pic in front of them, and you will create a whole new aesthetic on your feed!
When you visit this Shibuya district, you will also be amazed by the thousands of fashion styles and subcultures naturally blending with some historic sights. If you are more inclined to snap the grown-up side of Tokyo, head to Meiji Jingu, one of Tokyo’s major shrines, located right beside the railway tracks of Harajuku Station. You can also visit the small Ota Memorial Museum of Art or the Nezu Museum.
Your photo album will illustrate the beautiful clash between yesterday’s and today’s art.
5. Gotokuji Temple – 護国寺
Where my cat lovers at? Gotokuji Temple is a Shingon Buddhist temple, home of the bright white cat figurines called “maneki neko.” Their path leads to the statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy.
And maybe she is also the goddess of Tokyo photography spots? Because this place is as outstanding and beautiful as it can get. The dozens of lined-up maneki neko figurines offer a peculiar shot, but more importantly, the place has history, and it’s worth knowing it to fully grasp its beauty.
Legend says that during the Edo Period, the temple had a chief priest who deeply cared for a cat. One day, feudal lord Ii Naotaka was passing by and saw the cat waving at him urging him to come inside. Curiosity got the best of him, and he followed the cat. Moments after, a thunderstorm broke outside. Grateful for the well timed intervention of the cat and hospitality of the priest, Ii later donated rice crops to the then-poor temple. You may have a few extra likes if you include these historical facts in your Instagram story! *insert heart-eyed-cat emoji*
4. Kabukicho Street – 歌舞伎町
The seedy entertainment center of Tokyo and its most notable red-light district will definitely offer you plenty of opportunities to snap trendy pictures. If you enjoy night photography, this is the place to be. Head to one of the numerous fun arcades then to the insane Robot Restaurant. This restaurant goes beyond everything you imagined a robot-inspired place would look like, and its pics are worth hundreds of likes, believe us.
In the same Kabukicho area, you will also find many bars, host and hostess clubs, and love hotels. If you would like to visit the host clubs, make sure to dress nicely and carry plenty of cash with you. If you don’t, ask in advance if they accept credit cards.
Let the fun begin!
3. Shibuya Crossing – 渋谷区
Simply put, Shibuya Crossing is the Times Square of Tokyo. Rumored to be one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world (if not THE busiest), Shibuya Crossing sends hundreds of people in the same direction at every red light, and almost a million daily.
Its neon-lit buildings give it a busy and definitely cool vibe, which has pushedmany producers to shoot ads, films and television shows there. With a little bit of luck, you might even spot a film crew there.
To take a picture of Shibuya Crossing at its prime, visit the intersection at night to take advantage of the lights cast by the shops, the banners and the huge billboards. And if you are able to capture them with your flare lens, believe us when we say that your Instagram likes will skyrocket.
Fridays and Saturdays are when the crowd is the thickest, especially when a train has just pulled up in the train station nearby. After the last train of the day, the streets become quiet and lonely.
2. Akihabara – 秋葉原
Akihabara comes straight from our favorite robot animes. Electronic shops, arcades, manga libraries, maid cafés … the inner anime fanatic in you will rejoice in this district and will snap the nerdiest and trendiest pics there are.
When a district evolves from a postwar black market to one of the most visited places of Tokyo, you know you’re in it for a treat.
Techies will greatly enjoy the hundreds of electronic shops of different specializations and sizes. From one-man stalls to large electronic retailers, anything electronic you can think of is present there. To take Insta-worthy pics, get creative and don’t be afraid to try different angles. You can even ask the shop owners if they don’t mind appearing in the photos.
Once you finish your electro-tour, unleash the Otaku in you by visiting the anime and manga stores, retro-video games, figurines, card games and the thousand collectibles of the place. You will particularly like the maid cafés and “manga kissa.” the internet cafe where customers can read comics and watch DVDs. Don’t forget the hashtags #OtakuForLife, #Akihabara, #Manga and #Kawaii when tagging your pictures!
1. Nezu Shrine – 根津神社
Nezu Shrine is one of Japan’s oldest shrines and one of the best spots to snap magnificent shots in Tokyo. The endless vermillion gates create stunning effects when taken from the right angle.
This place is bliss to both the eyes and the soul: Your pictures will capture the lush greenery of the place and the dynamic movement of the carps in their ponds. The beautifully colored wooden structures are a standing proof of Tokyo’s timeless beauty.
Visit Nezu Shrine in its peak during the Bunkyo Azalea Festival, which happens every April. The famous azalea bushes of the shrine are blooming in magnificent shades of white and pink during that period. Stalls selling food, handicraft and clothing are installed, alongside dance and singing activities.
It’s a feast for your eyes … and your Instagram followers!
What do you think of these Tokyo photography spots? Have you ever visited Tokyo or Japan before? Let us know in the comments your favorite spots and discover the 7 absolutely free things you can do in Tokyo in our next article.