Top 10 Tokyo Photography Locations

Tokyo is the bright, neon-lit heart of Japan. It is an incredible, cultural destination with amazing attractions and enticing, luxury accommodations. It is also a paradise for urban and travel photographers. Some of my own favorite shots were taken right here in Tokyo. So to help you get the best photos on your trip to Japan, I am sharing my list of the top Tokyo photography locations.

The great thing about this Tokyo photography guide is the diversity of locations. Tokyo allows you to capture vibrant city streets, pristine landscapes, and fascinating temples. From towering structures to hidden alleys, there is so much to see. My hope is this guide will help you find the very best. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or tips of your own.

1. Tokyo Tower

Like a red Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower is one of the most iconic structures in the Tokyo skyline.

Like a red and white Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower is an iconic fixture of the Tokyo skyline. Thanks to the structure’s height, you can see the tower from numerous vantage points. Some popular photography locations include Shiba Park and Zojoji Temple. Here the tower takes a commanding position in the background.

You can also head to the World Trade Center. On the observatory deck, you’ll get a better perspective. In fact, you can get a great shot of the whole Tokyo skyline from here.

However, if you’re looking for the most iconic photography location, you’ll need to find the stairway to a private car park just west of Shiba Park. The staircase and overhanging plants frame Tokyo Tower perfectly. Just keep in mind that this is a popular photography spot. You will have to wait in line to get your chance at the perfect shot.

2. Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree towers above the city and can be seen from practically anywhere in Tokyo. However, it is especially nice to look at and photograph during the evening when it lights up in vibrant colors.

If you thought Tokyo Tower dominated the city skyline, check out Tokyo Skytree. On a clear day, you can see this structure from almost anywhere. At 634 meters tall, Skytree is a great vantage point to view the entire city. However, I prefer to take pictures of Skytree from afar.

Given its proximity, Asakusa is a wonderful area to take photos of Skytree. You can find numerous locations to frame Tokyo Skytree against Asakusa’s charming architecture.

Having said that, if you really want a magical photo, find Jukken Bridge in Sumida City. From this angle, you can capture Skytree and its reflection on the river. At sundown, this Tokyo photography location becomes truly amazing. Skytree lights up and spreads its neon colors over the water.

3. Asakusa

Sensoji Temple is the most popular attraction in Asakusa. It draws thousands of tourists every day with its traditional architecture and bright red colors.

Speaking of Asakusa, you can’t visit Tokyo without stopping in this neighborhood. From quaint alleys to covered streets, there are a lot of special sights to capture. Much of the neighborhood still clings to Edo Period (17th to 19th century) architecture. That means you can find charming restaurants and teahouses with traditional gardens and wooden fixtures.

But Sensoji Temple will definitely be the best photography spot while you’re in Asakusa. The temple receives more visitors than any other temple in Tokyo, and for good reason. The pagodas, arches, and lanterns are incredibly photogenic. However, make sure to get to Sensoji early. It is absolutely packed throughout the day. Besides, the temple is open 24/7 so you don’t need to wait to take your shot.

4. Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing is the busiest intersection in the world, and it's best viewed from above. So head to the Shibuya Scramble Square Tower for a bird's eye view.

Shibuya Crossing is the busiest intersection in the world. At one time, the crossing can see up to 2,500 people crossing the street. The sheer number of people is a draw in itself, but the surrounding buildings give the scene a special charm and perspective.

Of course, you should walk through Shibuya Crossing yourself. However, to capture a dramatic shot, you need to shoot from above. There are a number of good vantage points. Crossing View in the Magnet by SHIBUYA109 offers a great view for a small admission fee. Another option is to buy a coffee at the Starbucks opposite Shibuya Station. There you can get a decent shot from the 2nd floor.

I would also recommend Shibuya Sky. Not only will you get amazing views from the observation desk, but you will also have the opportunity to drink at the gorgeous rooftop bar. Just keep in mind that you need reservations, and the spots fill up quick. Book ahead of time!

5. Meiji Jingu Shrine

The best place in Tokyo to escape the bustling city is Meiji Jingu. The Shinto shrine is tucked away in a quiet and peaceful forest.

Meiji Jingu Shrine is one of my favorite attractions in Tokyo thanks to its cool ambience and peaceful, forest environment. The Shinto shrine features long, tree-lined paths with massive torii gates at every entrance. Of course, the shrine itself is also lovely. Its charming, wooden details make great photos with a focus on Japan’s rich culture.

If you want to escape the crowds and get softer lighting, you can visit Meiji Jingu during the early morning. However, the shade of the trees generally guarantees cool, moody lighting at all hours. So I don’t mind visiting during the day.

In addition, Meiji Jingu is a popular location for weddings. If you’re lucky, you will get the opportunity to see and photograph a traditional Japanese ceremony. No doubt, it will be the highlight of your trip.

6. Hamarikyu Gardens

One of the top Tokyo photography locations is in Hamarikyu Gardens. The traditional teahouse looks especially beautiful suspended over the tranquil lake.

The Hamarakiyu Gardens are a must-see spot for nature lovers. The immaculate landscape embraces a traditional Japanese style while surrounded by modern skyscrapers. Additionally, the gardens’ location is close to Tsukiji Market, which is another great Tokyo photography location. So you can quickly get two photoshoots in one day.

At the center of Hamarikyu Gardens is a Japanese teahouse suspended over a small lake. As you might expect, the teahouse gives you the opportunity to snap some stunning photos and sip tea at the same time. It’s a wonderful attraction for both standard tourists and photographers as well.

7. Shinjuku

For neon lights and city traffic, Shinjuku is my favorite district to visit. Head along Yasukuni Dori, the main street in Shinjuku, for a variety of amazing photo opportunities. Also, look out for Kabukicho, a part of Shinjuku and the largest red light district in Japan. Here you’ll see popular attractions like the Godzilla head and Shibuya Gracery Hotel.

However, Shinjuku also attracts photographers thanks to Golden Gai and Omoide Yokocho. For decades, these tiny, lantern-lit alleys have been the site of excessive drinking and debauchery. Thanks to their well-preserved style, Golden Gai and Omoide Yokocho offer unique photography opportunities. Just be quick and respectful with your photos since the paths are cramped and crowded.

Regardless of where you go in Shinjuku, nighttime is the best time to visit. It’s when the streets light up and the vibrant entertainment scene comes to life. If you come during the day, you’re missing out on Shinjuku’s full potential.

8. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a fabulous green space, which lights up in shades of pink and white once cherry blossom season begins.

Once a residence under the Naitō family in the Edo period, the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is now a government-protected green space. The park is incredibly large and holds several gardens, including a Japanese garden, French garden, English garden, and greenhouse. You will have no shortage of photography opportunities.

If you want the perfect time to visit, come during spring. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is one of the best places to view cherry blossoms. The whole park bursts with color. To find all the cherry trees, check out Japan Guide’s write up on the gardens. They include a map with all of the blossoming trees.

9. The Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace is a majestic structure surrounded on all sides by stone walls and tranquil moats. It is also one of the best Tokyo photography locations.

Located on the previous site of Edo Castle, the Imperial Palace is the residence of Japan’s royal family. It features an extensive park area surrounded on all sides by moats and stone walls.

While you should definitely tour the interior of the palace grounds, I prefer to shoot from the outside. Head to the large plaza in front of the Imperial Palace and find Nijubashi Bridge. From the right angle you can get a shot of the water, bridge, and stunning palace architecture all in one.

10. Chidorigafuchi

During cherry blossom season, Chidorigafuchi transforms into one of the most magical Tokyo photography locations. The ambience is idyllic and romantic.

The last entry in my list of favorite Tokyo photography locations is Chidorigafuchi. This serene neighborhood is just northwest of the Imperial Palace and conveniently close to Kudanshita Station. Its defining feature is a long moat, which offers views of the palace and also Tokyo Tower.

While the views are idyllic at all times of the year, Chidorigafuchi is easily one of the best photography locations in Tokyo for cherry blossoms. There are nearly a thousand cherry trees in the neighborhood. They lean gracefully over the moat and romantically embrace the neighborhood’s footpaths. Although sakura season only lasts for a short time, it dramatically transforms Chidorigafuchi into one of the most magical locations in the country.

For up-close shots of the cherry blossoms, consider renting a boat and rowing along the stunning moat. If you want the most flattering lighting, wait for golden hour just before sundown. The evening sky pairs perfectly with the rosy colors of the trees.

More Tokyo Tips

Hopefully, my list of Tokyo photography locations gives you some ideas of what to see in Tokyo. But I don’t want you to miss a thing. So before you set your itinerary, I recommend looking at my article on the best Tokyo attractions. And before you do that, consider choosing from one of these incredible luxury hotels. They’re sure to give you the best vacation possible.


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