Tokyo is hands down my favorite place in the world to photograph. The contrast between the vibrant colors, futuristic technology, and bright lights with the traditional and gritty streets make this metropolitan delight a totally unique photographic experience.
With so much to see I have made a list of ten spots to visit in Tokyo with a camera in hand!
1. Sensō-Ji Temple
If you are looking to capture a more traditional side to Japan while in Tokyo, then Asakusa is your one-stop-shop. The district is jam-packed with picturesque shops, streets, and eateries throughout its narrow streets.
Best of all is the impressive Sensō-ji Temple which is perfect to shoot both during the day and at night.
I highly recommend visiting the temple after ten in the evening to avoid the mass crowds of tourists. Also, if you are in the area during the day, make sure to head over to the newly built Asakusa Culture and Tourism Center for some of the best views of the Sensō-Ji Temple and the surrounding area.
2. Shibuya crossing
Your first stop when you get to Tokyo should be to get down to Shibuya on the Yamanote train line to witness the world famous crossing first-hand. The intersect — which is commonly known as “the Scramble” — is the world’s busiest intersection and offers countless photo opportunities.
The Shibuya crossing is one of Tokyo’s most well known iconic spots and is perfect for street photography as well as taking busy cityscape shots.
I also highly recommend exploring the surrounding shopping centers, stations, and shops for unique views of the crossing from above.
3. Shinjuku Omoide Yokochō
While Shinjuku Omoide Yokocho may be known among the Tokyo locals as “Piss Alley,” it is actually a great place to grab a drink and late night snack. The narrow passage behind Shinjuku station is also a fantastic spot for street photography.
No matter how many times you walk up and down Shinjuku Omoide Yokocho, you will always see something totally unique to shoot.
4. Kabukicho, Shinjuku
While in Shinjuku, make sure to check out Kabukicho which is an entertainment/red-light area. In the district, you can witness Tokyo’s wild side, with it’s robot restaurants, streets packed with neon-lit signs, and extravagant locals, Kabukicho is a dream for anybody looking to partake in some late-night photography.
5. Shinjuku Golden Gai
Walk a little further on from Kabukicho and you will end up in the Golden Gai area for a step back in time. Golden Gai consists of six narrow alleyways which house more than 200 small bars, which typically can only sit three to four people at any time.
Have a wide angle lens on-hand to snap photos of the locals enjoying drinks at the numerous bars while navigating through Golden Gai’s narrow neon-lit streets, which are flanked with nostalgic banners.
For a taste of Tokyo’s eccentric side I highly recommend taking a trip to Akihabara. The district, which is situated in central Tokyo, is known for being the Anime hub of the city and for it’s otaku (diehard fan) culture.
With its huge store signs and fans dressed in anime outlets, Akihabara offers plentiful photo opportunities for anybody looking to capture the more colorful side to Tokyo.
7. Tokyo Tower
While Tokyo Sky Tree may be the city’s tallest structure, I much prefer the views from the smaller and older Tokyo Tower. The Skytree is situated quite a distance from the city centre, but Tokyo Tower offers distinct views of the city’s skyscrapers and landmarks from a closer distance.
If you are looking to do some cityscape photography either during the day or night, I definitely recommend a trip to the Tokyo Tower, which also doubles as an interesting structure to shoot from outside, too.
8. Harajuku Takeshita-dori
Harajiku is renowned for its colorful street art and fashion scene in Tokyo and is a great spot for street photography. Take a stroll down Takeshita Street to check out its vintage outlets, crepe shops, and Anime cafes while photographing the eccentric locals.
9. Meiji Shrine
After exploring Harajiku, you will probably be craving some peace and quiet, so head over to the Meiji Shrine. The Shinto shrine was built to commemorate the late Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoke back in 1920.
It feels like you have stepped out of the city into the countryside while walking through the complex, and the entire space offers photographers a chance to shoot shinto shrines, traditional Japanese architecture, as well as the surrounding beautiful nature.
10. Yoyogi Park
Yoyogi Park sits between Shinkuku and Shibuya and is an amazing place to visit on the weekends. The park attracts many performance artists, actors, musicians, and dancers which offers new photo opportunities on every visit.