Whether you’re a professional photographer, visual storyteller or simply a shutterbug, here are 15 spots in Tokyo that you should know.
1. Japanese Garden at Shinjuku Gyoen
Begin your visual narrative in a peaceful oasis: the Japanese Garden at Shinjuku Gyoen. Teahouses, small bridges, koi-filled ponds and meticulously pruned bonsai trees photograph beautifully amidst tall city buildings. Take lovely pictures here any time of year.
2. Alleyways of Omoide Yokocho (Memory Lane)
Omoide Yokocho, also known as Piss Alley, offers a nostalgic glimpse into Tokyo’s post-war era. Tucked away in Shinjuku, these lantern-lit alleyways, tightly packed stalls and smoky ambiance make for fantastic photos. Capture Japanese street food culture and travel back in time with every click of the shutter.
3. Glass Tunnels at Tokyo International Forum
If you have an eye for modern architecture, enjoy the day photographing the Tokyo International Forum, an exhibition and concert hall said to resemble a ship or whale. Its atrium has glass ceilings and tunnels that slice through the building like crystal caverns—perfect for creating dynamic compositions.
4. Shibuya Crossing from Hachiko Square
Who hasn’t heard of the organized chaos that is Shibuya Crossing? For a view that’s less likely to have you trampled on, head to Hachiko Square, where the loyal dog Hachiko’s statue stands. Can you freeze a moment in time when a thousand strangers cross paths?
5. River and Trains at Ochanomizu
Ochanomizu, or “tea water,” is said to have been named after the nearby Kanda River. Trains race along bridges, criss-crossing over this peacefully flowing stream. Challenge yourself to capture the moment when all three trains pass by.
6. Secret Staircase by Tokyo Tower
From all sides, Tokyo Tower is waiting to be captured. But have you explored the not-so-secret secret staircase nearby? As you descend these steps, two walls border the tower in perfect symmetry—a great spot for your model to stylishly lean against. This low vantage point creates a distinct view of the city’s red-and-white landmark.
7. Lakes, Fountains, and Trees in Yoyogi Park
Yoyogi Park is a popular choice for models and cosplayers seeking the perfect backdrop for their creative photoshoots. Here, the stillness of lakes, rhythmic flow of fountains and tree leaves swaying gently in the wind create a picturesque setting.
8. Takeshita Street in Harajuku
A riot of colors, fashion and youthful energy, Takeshita Street in Harajuku is sensory overload. As a photographer, you’ll be intrigued by quirky boutiques, colorful signs and an eclectic crowd that provide an endless stream of opportunities for street snaps.
9. Torii Gate Stairs at Hie Shrine
Hie Shrine’s torii gates (traditional Japanese gates) create a path of spiritual tranquility. Ninety vibrant red gates form a tunnel along the stairs—a striking contrast against the greenery that surrounds them. If there’s no time to visit Kyoto, capture its essence at Hie Shrine.
10. Rainbow Bridge and Statue of Liberty in Odaiba
Odaiba, an island in Tokyo Bay, is home to the Rainbow bridge and distant cousin of New York’s Statue of Liberty. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch the bridge lit up in rainbow colors at night. Head over to the observation deck to get a dose of Americana and photograph this fusion of cultures.
11. Sensō-ji and Nakamise View from Asakusa Culture Center
A bird’s-eye view of Sensō-ji Temple and Nakamise Street can be seen from the 8th floor of the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center. From here, you can capture Tokyo’s oldest temple, its thriving market town and the people passing through.
12. Rooftop View at Tokyu Plaza Ginza
Luxury and Ginza go hand in hand, and atop Tokyu Plaza Ginza, you’ll discover a priceless rooftop view. Gazing down upon the chic streets of this fashion-forward district, you can photograph the ebb and flow of cars and pedestrians as well as an impressive city skyline.
13. Tokyo Skytree Reflection at Jukken Bridge
One of the world’s tallest towers, Tokyo Skytree, is just waiting to be captured. For an interesting shot, take a night walk across Jukken Bridge. From there, frame the surrounding trees, the warm glow of streetlights and the illuminated reflection of Tokyo Skytree upon the tranquil Sumida River.
14. Cherry Blossoms and Colorful Trains in Nakano
With a cheerful yellow train and soft pink sakura trees, you’d think you were in a Ghibli film. Travel to Nakano during March to photograph the sakura trees in bloom. Can you capture the essence of spring and a colorful train in motion?
15. Fish Stands and Food Stalls at Tsukiji Outer Market
With its vibrant fish stands, food stalls and lively atmosphere, the historic Tsukiji Outer Market is a feast for the senses. Let your camera become an extension of your taste buds, capturing the flavors of premium fruits, vegetables and seafood on display.
What’s your favorite photo spot in Tokyo? Do you prefer Osaka? Share with us in a comment down below!