10 Best Instagram Spots In Tokyo

 

A vast number of curated photos on Instagram show Instagrammers in front of a breathtaking backdrop with no sign of other people or crowds. Good on them. If you’re striving for a similar aesthetic for your instagram shots in Tokyo, we’re telling you now that it may be somewhat of a struggle (unless you’re a whiz in Photoshop and/or you get super lucky).

We haven’t unravelled all the secret photography spots in Tokyo but we certainly found plenty of inspiration to compile this list of what we have deemed as the best instagram spots in Tokyo. There are wonderful opportunities to practice street photography in Tokyo where monochromatic synchronisation of the suits worn by Japanese commuters counteract with the red and gold hues adorning ancient temples. Districts filled with flashing neon lights encourage you to work on your night photography in Tokyo and will challenge you to navigate the crowds.

We share some of the most instagrammable spots in Tokyo and hope that the pulsating beat of the metropolis inspires you to put your own creative spin on your photographs at these locations.

Couple at sake barrels at Meiji Shrine, Tokyo

WHERE TO TAKE YOUR INSTAGRAM SHOTS IN TOKYO

1. Shibuya Crossing

Did you really visit Tokyo if you didn’t take a photo at Shibuya Crossing? Thought to be the world’s busiest pedestrian crosswalk, Shibuya crossing is also home to the bronze statue of Hachikō. The Japanese Akita dog is remembered for his remarkable loyalty and fidelity to his owner, for whom he continued to wait at Shibuya Station every day for nine years following his master’s unfortunate death.

A popular spot to watch the organised chaos is from the second floor of Tsutaya Starbucks

The best time to visit Shibuya Crossing is around dusk or later as thousands of locals and tourists flock to the area to meet up for food or shopping. Try to snap a long exposure photo of all the people crossing the intersection against the buildings’ neon lights.

2. TeamLab Borderless Exhibit

Some of the most popular Instagram shots in Tokyo are those that feature the colourful immersive art museum which has taken the world by storm – TeamLab Borderless. Explosions of colour emanate from each room which appear to intermingle with one another in a technicolour wonderland which covers an impressive 10,000 square metres.

Once the crowds are in, it’s difficult to snap a photo without anyone else in the background so if you have an exhibit where you really want to nail that pose, make a bolt for it upon entry or try to time your visit outside of peak trading hours. Some of our favourite artworks are the Crystal World and the Forest of Lamps.

TIP: To avoid the crazy crowds, try not to visit on a weekend or during holidays which is when most families will visit with young children. If you want more immersive art, why not add TeamLab Planets to your itinerary. It is located 15 minutes from TeamLab Borderless.

3. Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of them all? Get comfortable with seeing your reflection and finding your best angle at this unique shopping mall entrance in Harajuku.

The mouth of the Tokyu Plaza Omotesando features hundreds of geometrically assorted mirror shards which may make you cross-eyed as you ascend on the escalator. Depending on your creative angle, you can make your subject look like they’re the star featuring in a sci-fi movie!

4. Shibuya Sky

For a breathtaking view of the Tokyo metropolis, ascend into the sky. More specifically, head on up Shibuya Sky to the 45th floor where the open air rooftop offers 360° views of the concrete jungle.

No bags or tripods are permitted on the rooftop so make sure your coat or your companion’s has deep pockets if you want to bring more than one camera lens. You’ll discover the prime photo spot up on the balcony straight away from the long queue. Shibuya Sky has set up the corner as a paid photo opportunity but if you hand them your own camera, they will take a shot for you and it’s free but you won’t have a lot of time to experiment with poses. Challenge yourself to find an interesting spot or angle on the roof to show off Tokyo from above!

TIP: If you’re looking for another rooftop with expansive city views, then check out Tokyo Tower or Tokyo Skytree.

5. Sensō-ji Temple

Sensō-ji is a Buddhist temple located in Asakusa. The colourful and popular temple features the Kaminarimon Gate (Thunder Gate) at the entrance. From this gate, locals and tourists walk along Nakamise-Dori, a historic street lined with souvenir shops until they reach the second gate, the Hozomon. Outside the main hall and pagoda of Tokyo’s oldest temple, there is a fountain for washing hands, small stalls selling charms and rows of drawers for visitors to read their fortune for the day.

The temple grounds offer ample photo opportunities around the trading hours of Nakamise-Dori when there are no crowds. If you decide to visit early in the morning, be wary of the shadows cast on some of the temple buildings from the surrounding skyscrapers. The main hall is open daily from 6am – 5pm, the temple grounds are always open and entrance is free.

6. Hie Shrine Torii Gates

If you cannot make it to Kyoto to visit the famous Fushimi Inari-taisha Torii gates, don’t despair. There’s a tunnel of 90 red torii gates in the middle of Tokyo. If you didn’t know about the shrines in the city, then you are likely to miss this spot altogether and one of the secret photography spots in Tokyo. Hie Shrine is a major shrine in Tokyo and is also the starting point of Sannō Matsuri, one of the three great Japanese festivals from the Edo period. Positioned on a tree covered hilltop, Hie Shrine is a serene place where locals come to worship.

NOTE: Photography is banned within the shrine grounds but the gates are located towards the rear.

7. Sake Barrels @ Meiji Shrine

The Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine) is Tokyo’s largest and most famous Shinto Shrine. Located on an area that covers 175 acres on the edge of Shibuya, the precinct holds a huge collection of decorative sake barrels called kazaridaru. Traditionally, sake has been a means to connect the people of Japan and the gods and each year, sake breweries donate sake barrels to the enshrined deities and the sake is used in ceremonies and festivals.

The Meiji Shrine is approximately 10 minutes walk from Harajuku Station. It is open daily from sunrise to sunset and admission to the shrine precinct is free. Please don’t be a douchebag; stay in front of the rope for your photo.

8. Omoide Yokocho / Memory Lane

What do narrow alleys, lanterns and yakitori bars add up to? A darn good time down Memory Lane (Omoide Yokocho) and one of the best Shinjuku instagram spots. This tight scrum of around sixty tiny bars and restaurants has roots dating back to 1940s post-war Tokyo when it housed street vendors and black market traders. In modern times, smoke wafts from hidey holes and the scintillating aroma of grilled yakitori fills the air.

The ideal time to visit is at night when the lanterns softly illuminate the faux cherry blossoms dangling above and practically all the vendors are open for business. Fine dining this is not but nostalgia permeates through the gritty warren adding to its charm.

Memory Lane is easy to access from JR Shinjuku Station east exit.

9. Gōtokuji Temple

If you’re a cat person and/or have an obsession with everything Hello Kitty, then this spot is definitely for you. The Buddhist temple has become famous thanks to the legend citing this very spot as the birthplace of the maneki-neko (beckoning cat). It’s been told that a cat under the care of a priest at Gōtokuji Temple led a feudal lord to safety during a thunderstorm with a waving paw. To this day, all maneki-neko statues have one paw raised. There are hundreds of beckoning cats of all shapes and sizes around the temple and new ones are added each day.

Gōtokuji Temple is a 5 minute walk from Gōtokuji Station and is open every day from 6am – 6pm. Entrance is free.

10. Nakano Broadway

This is the perfect spot to practice street photography in Tokyo as it is not too busy and we believe it’s an area that few tourists will venture to, particularly on their first visit to the city. Nakano Broadway features many shops and spas whilst the surrounding streets are occupied by dozens of bars, restaurants and a few nightclubs. Take the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line to the end of the line (Nakano), enjoy a hot dinner and then step out into an alley under the neon signs to practice and improve your night photography in Tokyo. 

TIP: When taking a photo at night use a long exposure shot (slower shutter speed) or increase your ISO. Use a tripod and stand VERY still!

Best Avoided

The Soho Odaiba

This is a private office space and cannot be accessed without a key card. Save yourself the time.

Using Drones

Without a licence or permit to fly your drone in Tokyo, your drone must remain grounded.

Share your favourite Instagram spots in Tokyo in the comments below!

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