Tokyo Photography Guide to the 10 most epic photo spots
Get ready to capture the perfect shots in Tokyo with our photography guide to the 10 most epic photo spots, uncover the best locations to make your Instagram pop!
My preferred camera setup for Tokyo
For street photography, I found that utilizing my Canon EOS R5 with my Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L and Canon EF 85mm F1.2L II USM lenses worked best.
The 85mm f1.2 prime lens enabled me to shoot excellent photos with a wonderful bokeh effect. Its large aperture also made it an excellent choice for low-light settings. Meanwhile, the tele-lens 70-200 f2.8 allowed me to zoom in on faraway scenes and capture details that the primary lens would not have allowed.
Both of these lenses are adaptable and performed admirably in a range of conditions, which is critical while photographing on the streets of Tokyo, where the scenery can change quickly. The Canon EOS R5 was also the ideal camera for me, because to its high resolution and outstanding auto-focus mechanism, which made it simple to produce sharp, gorgeous images.
Restaurant at Shiinamachi Station in Tokyo
Best time: Blue hour in the evening
Photography Equipment: Tripod with wide angle lens
Photospot(s): On the Owada Bridge
Short Info: Take also some shots from under the bridge.
If you’re considering making the trip to Tokyo, Japan, the iconic photo spot with the Restaurant at Shiinamachi Station is a must-see. The major photo opportunity is on the Owada Bridge, which provides a stunning perspective of the surrounding area. However, the viewpoints below the bridge provide wonderful photo opportunity too. The location is well-known for its stunning environment, which has inspired numerous photographs throughout the years.
The blue hour in the evening is the finest time to catch the perfect image at this location. The sky acquires a lovely blue colour at this time, and the city lights begin to brighten the surrounding area, creating a unique ambience. It’s best to pack a tripod and a wide-angle lens. One of the best aspects of this spot is that it is rarely busy, and there is plenty of room on the bridge to set up your tripod and take your time shooting the ideal photo.
Best time: evening/night
Photography Equipment: preferable prime lenses with wide aperture
Photospot(s): Yakitori Ton Ton Restaurant / Yakitori Alley
Short Info: Stroll around the area around dinner time. Great for street photography.
Yurakucho Yokocho is a winding, tiny street lined with cosy bars and cafés, each with its own personality and character. The environment is lively and warm, with friendly residents and tourists mixing and enjoying the wonderful cuisine and drinks.
One of Yurakucho Yokocho’s most notable charm is its peculiar lighting. A canopy of lanterns and neon signs illuminates the street, giving a warm and inviting glow over the entire neighbourhood. This makes a lovely and one-of-a-kind backdrop for your images, and it can assist to give depth and intrigue to your shots.
A fast lens can help you capture the ambient light and ambiance of the street, whereas a wide-angle lens can help you fit more of the scene into your frame.
Tokyo Tower from Roppongi Sky Deck
Best time: Blue hour in the evening
Photography Equipment: you can only take your camera with the attached lens. Either take a 24-70mm or 70-200mm with f/2.8, if you are shooting an a full-size sensor. I took my shots between 70-100mm.
Photospot(s): Sky Deck / Observation Deck
Short Info: Opening hours / Admission. Pay attention that there are different vending machines for Sky Deck and Observation Deck. Entry point is located outside the sky scraper.
The Tokyo Tower is one of the most recognisable and attractive places to photograph and can’t be missed in this photography guide. And for the greatest view, go to the Roppongi Sky Deck during the sunset blue hour.
A telephoto lens can assist you in capturing the complex details of the Tokyo Tower from a distance, providing you with a new viewpoint on the high building. The helipad, also known as the Sky Deck, gives a spectacular 360° panoramic of the city skyline for those wishing for an even higher vantage.
Alternatively, you can photograph from the 52nd floor Observation Deck, which also has stunning views of the Tokyo Tower. Please note that images from this vantage point require to be taken through glass, so a polarizer or cover can help decrease glare and reflections. It’s important to note that tripods are not permitted in the Roppongi Sky Deck or Observation Deck, so you’ll have to shoot free handed.
Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center
Best time: Golden/Blue hour in the evening
Photography Equipment: Preferable to take a 70-200mm with f/2.8, if you are shooting an a full-size sensor.
Photospot(s): Observation Deck
Short Info: No admission fee. Observation Deck closes at 22:00.
The Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Centre in Tokyo is a must-see for photographers hoping to capture the city’s colourful atmosphere. The structure offers a unique viewpoint over the surrounding neighbourhood, making it a perfect spot for top-down street photography and photographing the Senso-ji Temple.
It’s vital to know that tripods are not permitted at the centre, so you’ll have to find alternative techniques to stabilise your camera or shoot free handed. Using wide and telephoto lenses can assist you in capturing the city’s breathtaking sights and adjusting your camera’s settings accordingly to ensure sharp and clear photos. I recommend visiting the centre in the evening for the best atmosphere, when the street below is illuminated by artificial lights, providing a warm and inviting ambiance ideal for taking stunning nightly shots.
The best aspect of the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Centre is that there is no admission fee, making it an excellent choice for budget-conscious photographers. So don’t pass up this excellent opportunity to capture the beauty and aesthetics of Tokyo’s colourful streets.
Streets of Nakano during Cherry Blossom
Best time: Early morning or evening while cherry blossom
Photography Equipment: all you have
Photospot(s): Yellow train bridge / Katayamaritsu Bridge / Nakano Sun Mall / Kitahara St
Short Info: Start at Nakano station, pass Nakano Sun Mall and walk up to Tetsugakudo Park.
Nothing beats capturing the splendor of cherry blossom season in Tokyo as a photographer. The Streets of Nakano are another destination that should be on your photography bucket list. This region, with its gorgeous pink cherry blossom trees, provides a stunning backdrop for any photography enthusiast. When the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the best time to catch the perfect photo is early morning or late evening. The lighting is gentle during these times, and the streets are less busy, allowing you to concentrate on your picture.
You are welcome to bring any and all photographic equipment. You will need it. You can take amazing shots of the cherry blossom trees and the surrounding environment using either your DSLR or your smartphone camera. The Yellow Train Bridge, the Katayamaritsu Bridge, the Nakano Sun Mall, and Kitahara Street at Nogata Station are all popular photo locations in the neighborhood. Each of these locations offers a different perspective on the beauty of the cherry blossom trees. So don’t miss to capture the yellow trains from different angles.
To begin your photography adventure, go to Nakano Station and go through the Nakano Sun Mall. Walk up the main street to Tetsugakudo Park from there. This main street is full of cherry blossom trees. Take your time walking through Nakano’s streets and exploring the streets. Don’t be hesitant to explore side streets and passageways off the usual path.
Yataien Restaurant in Shinjuku
Best time: Blue hour in the evening/night
Photography Equipment: Prime lenses or lenses with wide aperture. Tripod is possible on the sides.
Photospot(s): Crossing on the other side
Short Info: very crowded crossing, but you can find space between crossing and bus stop.
If you’re seeking for excellent photo sites to add to your photography bucket list, you should go to Shinjuku’s Yataien Restaurant.
The Yataien Restaurant is a stunning setting for photographs, especially during blue hour in the evening or at night. The surrounding area is lighted by city lights, creating a magnificent scene. To capture the splendor of the blue hour, prime lenses or lenses with a wide aperture are advised. However, if you intend to use a tripod, you can do so on the edges of the street. However, bear in mind that the area is congested, so be mindful of your surroundings and make sure you’re not impeding pedestrian traffic.
The Yataien Restaurant is a lovely structure with traditional Japanese architecture that provides a unique setting for your photography. With its lovely lighting, it’s no surprise that this site is popular with photographers.
Tokyo International Forum
Best time: all day long
Photography Equipment: Wide and tele-lens. Private building therefore you might be asked to dismount your tripod.
Photospot(s): inside the building. – Go completely to the top!
Short Info: No entrance fee. Take the elevator, if you are in hurry. Great during day for shadow games or night for great artificial light. Afternoon light disappears early behind other buildings, so don’t go too late.
You’ve probably heard of the Tokyo International Forum if you’re a photographer in Tokyo. This magnificent building is a favourite destination for photographers for good reason. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned photographer, the Tokyo International Forum provides numerous opportunity to create spectacular images. It should be noted that there is no admission price to the Tokyo International Forum.
One of the nicest aspects of the Tokyo International Forum is that it can be shot at any time of day. You’ll be able to take great shots from early morning until late at night. Whether you want to photograph shadow games during the day or gorgeous artificial lights at night, the Tokyo International Forum has many of options. However, keep in mind that the afternoon light fades quickly behind neighboring buildings, so don’t be too late if you want to capture it.
It is recommended that you carry both a wide and tele-lens for photography. These lenses will enable you to capture a wide range of images and perspectives. Remember that the Tokyo International Forum is a private structure, and you may be asked to remove your tripod.
Going all the way to the top is one of the best photo opportunities within the building. If you need to get to the top floor quickly, you should utilize the elevator. This saves time and allows you to take as many pictures as feasible and you can still walk down on your way back.
Tokyu Plaza Ginza
Best time: all day long during opening hours. Preferably afternoon until blue hour.
Photography Equipment: Wide and tele-lens with polarizer. Private building therefore you might be asked to dismount your tripod.
Short Info: Shooting through glass. No entrance fee, but watch opening hours. Great in the afternoon for taking shadows of the crosswalk or during the day when it’s rainy, but also great in the evening. The roof has no ceiling, so you still need your umbrella when it’s raining.
If you’re a photographer seeking for a great location in Tokyo, the Tokyu Plaza Ginza is the place to be. There is no admission fee to enter Tokyu Plaza Ginza. However, it is advised to keep an eye on the opening hours.
The Tokyu Plaza Ginza is ideal for taking shadows of the crossing in the afternoon or throughout the day when it is raining and people are carrying umbrellas. You can also take amazing shots in the evening when the lighting begins to illuminate the streets. Keep in mind that the roof has no ceiling, so you may need an umbrella if it rains.
The photography spot is located on the roof of the building. Keep in mind that you’ll be shooting through glass, so your settings may need to be adjusted to reduce reflections. The rooftop provides spectacular views of the surrounding neighborhood, as well as the bustling cityscape below.
It is advisable to bring both a wide and tele-lens with a polarizer when it comes to photography equipment. These lenses will enable you to shoot a wide range of pictures and angles, and the polarizer will aid in reducing reflections on glass surfaces. Remember that the Tokyu Plaza Ginza is a private building, and you may be asked to remove your tripod.
Best time: during day if you want to avoid crowds. Night looks great, but so super crowded
Photography Equipment: Prime lenses or lenses with a wide aperture. No tripod is possible.
Photospot(s): Complete street
Short Info: always crowded, so be patient.
Omoide Yokocho, popularly known as “Memory Lane” or “Piss Alley,” is a curious alley in Tokyo. It lies in the Shinjuku neighborhood, just a short distance from the busy Shinjuku Station. Omoide Yokocho should be on your radar if you are a photographer looking for a distinctive and real Tokyo experience. The lane is lined with small taverns and eateries, each with its own distinct personality and charm. The area has a particularly intimate and cozy air due to the tiny alleyways and low, crowded buildings. The optimal time to visit Omoide Yokocho is determined by the atmosphere you want to capture in your photographs. If you want to avoid crowds and get a better sense of the area, going during the day is an excellent alternative. However, if you want to grasp the buzzing vitality of the town, you must go at night.
To picture the small alleys and dimly illuminated interiors of the pubs and restaurants, prime lenses or lenses with a wide aperture are recommended. However, because to the crowded surroundings and lack of space, utilizing a tripod is not an option.
Take your time when wandering Omoide Yokocho and really absorb in the ambiance. Take your time exploring every nook and crevice of this gorgeous street. You might even discover some hidden gems or a new favorite pub or restaurant.
Best time: golden hour/blue hour in the evening
Photography Equipment: Wide and tele-lens with polarizer. Tripod possible at Mags Park Rooftop, if not crowded.
Photospot(s): Crossing itself / Mags Park Rooftop / Shibuya Sky / Myth of Tomorrow Station Bridge
Short Info: Mags Park Rooftop is easy accessible with the elevator (sometimes slow). Shibuya Sky is the place to be right know. Make sure to buy your ticket some weeks in advance.
Shibuya Crossing, located in the heart of Tokyo, is unquestionably one of the world’s most iconic photo locations. This busy junction, famous for its large crowds of pedestrians, is a must-see for photographers of all skill levels. Here are some pointers to help you get the most out of your photography experience at Shibuya Crossing.
Shibuya Crossing is best photographed at the golden or blue hour in the evening. Natural light creates a great ambience and enables for stunning images with soft and warm tones during these times. The magnificent lights begin to appear during the blue hour.
A wide and tele-lens with a polarizer is suggested for capturing the essence of Shibuya Crossing. Because you will be shooting through glass, the polarizer will assist in reducing glare and reflections. If it is not too crowded, a tripod can be used at Mags Park Rooftop.
Shibuya Crossing has several amazing photo opportunities:
- The crossing itself is the most popular and recognizable place. However, bear in mind that it can get crowded, so choose a good vantage point to get the perfect photo.
- Mags Park Rooftop, accessible via elevator, provides a bird’s eye perspective of the crossing by low admission fee.
- Shibuya Sky, located on the rooftop of the Scramble Square skyscraper, is another excellent location for getting aerial photos of the crossing and the surrounding region. While admission is required, it provides an unimpeded view of the crossing from above. Make sure you get your ticket even weeks in advance, as it may be sold out.
- The Myth of Tomorrow Station Bridge is always open and free to the public. This location is not ideal, but gives another different angle of the crossing.