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10 Top Photography Spots in Tokyo

By Aug 28, 2023January 8th, 2024No Comments

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Tokyo holds the title of the world’s largest city so you can expect a fair few awesome photography spots here and there. We spent several months seeking out our top 10 photography spots in Tokyo including how to get there and when you’d want to go…


Meiji Jingu

Location

How to get there: Alight at Harajuku JR Station or Meiji-jingumae Station

Best time to visit: Early in the morning

Meiji Jingu is one of the city’s most famous shrines. Dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, this sacred Shinto shrine is nestled in a dense forest impressively located in the heart of the city. After visiting the main shrine, be sure to head north to witness the impressive path lined by towering trees. We highly recommend visiting early in the morning (before 11 a.m.) so that you can experience the place when it’s nice and serene.


Shibuya Crossing

Location

How to get there: Just outside Shibuya Station

Best time to visit: Midday or late afternoon if you know the sun’s location

Tokyo’s iconic scramble crossing is one of the craziest scenes you’ll come across in Tokyo. Watch as the lights turn green and floods of people scatter in all directions. It’s quite the experience to walk among the crowds but for the best photo, you’ll want to get up high and witness the madness from above. There are a few options for a high vantage point, including the new SHIBUYA SKY (although a little too high up for us) and the Starbucks situated on the crossing (a little too low) but our favourite is on the rooftop of Magnet by Shibuya 109 – to enter the rooftop viewing deck you need to purchase a drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) but can stay as long as you like. Our favourite time to visit is surprisingly midday as you’re guaranteed to have light shining down onto the crossing whereas in the morning or afternoon, the sun may be blocked by the tall buildings in the area. However, if you can time your visit with when the sun shines in between the tall buildings then you’ll get amazing results with long casting shadows.


Shiinamachi Station

Location

How to get there: Alight at Shiinmachi Station and head for the north exit

Best time to visit: Evening

Shiinmachi is known as the birthplace of manga which is quite fitting as you’ll find a photo spot here that looks like it came straight out of a manga panel with its old Tokyo charm. Alight at Shiinmachi Station and head out the north exit. There you’ll find the photogenic block of restaurants with neon signs standing on the rooftops. The restaurant lights dimly light the street which creates an almost spotlight for street subjects that pass on by. If you cross the road, you’ll find a path that takes you up onto the bridge that’ll give you a viewpoint of the intersection and buildings.


Kabukicho

Location

How to get there: Alight at Shiinmachi Station and head for the north exit

Best time to visit: Evening

Few scenes are as iconic for Tokyo as Kabukicho with its neon signs, crowds of people and Godzilla (yes Godzilla). There are tons of streets and alleyways around the Kabukicho area which are ripe for photographing but our favourite is standing directly opposite the street with Godzilla poking its head above Toho Cinema. If you have time after grabbing your shot, you can head up to the 8th floor of Hotel Gracery to see the head up close – note, to do so you need to either be a guest at the hotel or a customer at Caféterasse Bonjour.


Omoide Yokochō (Piss Alley)

Location

How to get there: Alight at Shinjuku station and head for the exit D1 or D2

Best time to visit: Evening

Omoide Yokocho, translated from Japanese as “Memory Lane” (also fondly known as “Piss Alley”) is a vibrant alley tucked away inside the busy Shinjuku area. Stepping into Omoide Yokocho feels like a journey back in time, as its narrow alleyways are lined with intimate yakitori and ramen eateries, each accompanied by billowing clouds of steam and smoke enticing customers in. It’s a fun place to grab a few street shots and decorations here change depending on the season you’re visiting.


Asakusa

Location

How to get there: Alight at Asakusa station

Best time to visit: Evening

Asakusa is usually the first place we visit when we touch down in Tokyo. The district is a fusion of modern Tokyo energy with traditions and religion. Nakamise Street is lined with vibrant stalls offering traditional snacks, crafts, and souvenirs. But reach the end of Nakamise Street and that’s where you’ll find Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest temple. Be sure to check out the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center located opposite Nakamise Street which will provide a higher vantage point of the surrounding area. You can also catch a glimpse of Tokyo Sky Tree from Asakusa so if you don’t feel like making the trip over, you can grab a few shots from here.

Asakusa Night - Tokyo, Japan

Gotokuji Temple

Location

How to get there: Alight at Yamashita station and walk 10 minutes or alight at Miyanosaka station

Best time to visit: All day

Known as the Cat Temple of Tokyo, Gotokuji Temple is one of the most unique temples we’ve visited in the whole of Japan. Inside the temple grounds, you’ll find a small corner home to hundreds (perhaps now thousands) of little porcelain cat statues dotted all around. These statues are left here for good luck and fortune by temple visitors and make for a surreal sight. The temple garden is also beautiful and makes for a refreshing break from Tokyo’s busy centre.


Nishiarai

Location

How to get there: Alight at Nishiaraidaishi-nishi Station

Best time to visit: All day

Tokyo is well known for its buzzing energy but if you watch any anime, movie or TV show set in Tokyo you’re probably aware of a quieter more local side to Tokyo. There are many wards where you can experience a more local slice of life but our favourite is out in Nishiarai. Life just seems to move slower and quieter out here but there’s beauty to these moments.


Tokyo City View Observation Deck

Location

How to get there: Alight at Roppongi Station

Best time to visit: Sunset to Evening

It seems as though every year there are more and more options if you’re looking for a viewpoint to capture Tokyo’s sprawling cityscape – and all are great by the way. But if we could only choose one, it’d probably be the Tokyo City View Observation Deck at Roppongi Hills thanks to its fantastic view of Tokyo Tower. There is also a rooftop helipad area but unfortunately, every time we’ve visited it’s been closed due to strong winds – hopefully we’ll be able to experience it next time!


Yanaka

Location

How to get there: Alight at Nippori Station

Best time to visit: Early morning or afternoon

One of the few districts to survive through the war, if you’re looking for that old Tokyo feel then Yanaka is the place to go. The main street is reminiscent of the olden days when you’d find stores of all kinds rubbing shoulder-to-shoulder: cafes, butchers, watch dealers, Konjac makers and alcohol shops. Yanaka is also famous for its cat population. We visited during a very busy time and we didn’t catch any feline friends but it’s said they can be seen lounging near shops and alleys, adding an adorable and whimsical touch to the neighbourhood – perhaps try your luck early in the morning. But if you want to experience the working charm of the neighbourhood then we recommend coming in the afternoon just as you get that warmer light.


And that’s our 10 Top Photography Spots in Tokyo. There are literally hundreds of other places we could have included in this list but that would have made this post far too long. If you feel we’ve missed anything of your favourite spots please do share in the comments below. Sharing is caring 😉

If you’re looking to up your travel photo game, read 9 tips to improve your travel photos.

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