Are you looking for some places to take some creative photos or selfies in Tokyo? There are practically endless possibilities for where you can explore. That said, there are some must-see spots that we selected for first-time visitors.
If you are looking for the coolest locations to take photos in Tokyo or grow your following on Instagram, our recommended spots are definitely worth checking out. We hope you get inspired by our guide to take some awesome photos!
Bunkyo Civic Center
The Bunkyo Civic Center which is nearby Tokyo Dome and Koishikawa-Kōrakuen Gardens. From the 25th floor observation deck, you can see a panorama of Tokyo and even Mt. Fuji on a clear day!
For access: take the train to Korakuen Station. Admission is free.
Have you heard of the maneki neko or the beckoning cat 😺? It is the small cat doll and lucky charm that can be seen in front of Japanese restaurants and stores. The story of Gotoku-ji and maneki neko dates back to the Edo period, early 1600s. According to legends, Gotoku-ji was re-built by a feudal lord out of gratitude to thank a white cat that led him inside the temple just before a terrible thunderstorm. The white cat who had brought good fortune to the temple was honored and statues, maneki neko, were made in its likeness.
For access: it is about a 5-minute walk from Miyanoshita Station on the Setagaya line. Admission is free.
Kabuki is a traditional Japanese performing art with a history that dates back more than 400 years. The original Ginza Kabukiza Theatre was built in 1889 and was rebuilt several times over the years. In April 2013, Ginza Kabukiza was re-opened after a complete reconstruction that incorporated a tower building. The Theatre retains the beautiful Momoyama-style with Japanese castle and shrine style architecture.
A full kabuki performance comprises three or four acts over an afternoon or an evening (usually from 11 am to 3.30pm or 4.30pm to 9 pm). There are long intervals between the acts. The price range for tickets is 4,000 to 22,000 yen depending on the seat. English guide services usually are offered (with captions) for a fee of 700 yen plus a refundable deposit of 1,000 yen. Please check with the theatre for more information.
For access: take the train to Ginza Station. It is about a 10-minute walk from the station.
Shinjuku Toho Building
When Godzilla celebrated its 60th anniversary back in April 2015, the giant Godzilla head was installed in the outdoor terrace on the eighth floor of the Shinjuku Toho Building. On the hour every hour between 10 am - 7 pm you can see smoke and fire flame out of his jaws and his eyes glow red. Here is some information about this district. Kabukichō is the well-known entertainment and red-light district in Shinjuku. An interesting fact is that district's name dates back to the 1940s when there was a plan to build a kabuki theatre. The theater was actually never built but they stuck with the name. It’s an exciting place to visit. But, at night time exercise a certain level of caution since it's in the more seedy part of Tokyo.
For access: take the train to Shinjuku Station and use the Kabukicho Exit.
Akihabara is well-known as a center for "otaku" culture. The town has a very interesting history... In the Edo Period, Akihabara served as a passage between the city and northwestern Japan. The name comes from Akiba, a fire controlling deity of shrine that was built for protection after much of the town was destroyed by fire in the 1800s. Akihabara is a shortening of Akiba-ga-hara which means "autumn leaf field”. In the 1930s, Akihabara became a future-oriented market that specialized in household electronics which earned it the nickname "Electric Town”. In the 1980s, shops in Akihabara shifted their focus to home computers for hobbyists and the DIY (do-it-yourself) customers. This brought in the computer nerds or “otaku" who also had a deep interest in anime and manga. The market in Akihabara took advantage of this new customer base and many video game, anime and manga shops opened up. Chuo Dori is the large main road that runs through the town and there are many smaller streets with interesting restaurants and shops.
For access: take the train to Akihabara Station. The shopping district is right outside the station.
Hie Jinja Shrine
Hie-Jinja is a Shinto shrine that was established in the 14th century. In 1478, Ota Dokan constructed Edo Castle where the Imperial Palace is presently located. Ota Doka also established Sanno-Hie Shrine in the castle compound as a guardian deity of the castle. In 1607, the shrine was moved outside of Edo Castle which allowed the citizens of Edo (now Tokyo) to visit and worship there. Hie Shrine has been re-built several times due to fires and the bombings of Tokyo during World War II. The shrine has a "Tori gate path" similar to the one at Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto.
For access: take the train to Tameike-Sanno Station. It is about a 3-minute walk from the station.
Rikugien is one of Tokyo's most beautiful Japanese landscape gardens and it dates back to the Edo period. The story is that Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu created these gardens on land that was given to him by the fifth shogun, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi. The meaning of Rikugien is "Garden of the Six Principles of Poetry" and rather interestingly poetry inspired scenery was created in the miniature landscape.
For access: it is about a 10-minute walk from Komagome Station. There is a fee of 300 yen to enter.
Meiji Jingu Shrine
Meiji Jingu which is a Shinto shrine that was founded in 1920. The shrine is dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.
For access: take the train to Harajuku Station. The shrine closes at 6:30 pm and entry is free.
Tokyu Plaza Harajuku Omotesando
The entrance to Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku has an impressive kaleidoscope of mirrors. It’s a popular spot that has appeared in many online videos. This night was particularly special with the reflection of the Japanese lanterns. The plaza is a shopping complex and is open daily from 11:00 to 20:00.
For access: take the train to Harajuku Station or Meiji-jingumae Station
Nezu-jinja Shrine in Tokyo's Bunkyo ward is one of Japan's oldest shrines and its architecture is unique in that it was built in Gongen-style which has been maintained until today. The shrine has a "Tori gate path" similar to the one at Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto.
For access: take the train to Nezu Station on the Chiyoda Subway line. It is about a 5-minute walk from the station. Entry is free.
We hope you found this blog post to be helpful and that you have a fun time in Tokyo!
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