Top Locations in Japan for Creative Travel Photographers

Japan is the perfect place for photography enthusiasts. Isabella Cornell shares her top destinations for travel photography.


Hiking in the Japanese Alps Photo © Isabella Cornell

Shibuya's 'Scramble Crossing'

Shibuya crossing, Tokyo. Photo credit: Isabella Cornell

Tokyo is the perfect place to start. This sprawling metropolis offers plenty of spots for unique Japanese cityscape photos. Tokyo’s famous scramble crossing in Shibuya is a great spot for capturing the insane population density. 

Because there are so many people, the green crossing light will last long enough for you to set up your tripod and get a long exposure of the moving crowds. Alternatively, the second floor Starbucks located inside Tsutaya Shibuya is the perfect vantage point to snap a picture of the crowds from above.

Tokyo's Tallest Viewing Points

Next up, to get a grasp of how large and dense Tokyo really is, why not hit one of Tokyo’s famous viewing towers?

As a key photographic spot in Japan, visiting either Tokyo Tower, Mori Tower Observation Deck, or Tokyo Sky Tree (the largest building in Tokyo) gets you a perfect vantage point to see just how enormous Tokyo really is. 

Though the three cityscapes are relatively similar, Mori Tower is open until 10pm, allowing you to see the cityscape at night. At the wrong time of day, the glass is reflective and will obscure your photos, but if you can avoid these reflections, there is nothing stopping you from beautiful panoramic city views.

Cherry Blossoms & Hanami

Cherry blossoms and lanterns in Japan. Photo credit: Isabella Cornell

Japan’s economy, art scene, and cultural activities are centered around the changing seasons. From snowfall in winter, to beautiful blooms in spring, colourful leaves in autumn, and famous festivals and markets in summer, there are beautiful photographs to be taken at any time of year. 

Perhaps the most famous is the pink spring cherry blossoms. The spring sun creates the perfect lighting for portrait and nature photography.

If you’re after some candid photographs, during the cherry blossom season, in Tokyo’s parks like Ueno or Yoyogi, locals picnic for hours under the cherry blossoms every weekend, partaking in hanami.

Summer Festivals

Lanterns during a festival in Japan. Photo credit: Isabella Cornell

In every city of Japan, there is a multitude of festivals throughout the summer months. Throughout the day and into evening, there are stunning displays of lanterns, lights, food and beautiful yukata (summer-style kimono). 

If you’re attending festivals at night, make sure your camera has a night-time shooting option so the flash doesn’t take away the magic of the lanterns and lights.

Japanese Alps and Hiking

Just a few hours by bullet train outside of Tokyo, there is world-class hiking and natural scenery in the Japanese alps.

Particularly in Kamikochi, these landscapes speak for themselves whereby any angle and any lighting can capture the beauty around you. 

Beautiful landscapes and traditional houses in Kamikochi. Photo credit: Isabella Cornell

Close-by is the UNESCO World Heritage listed village of Shirakawago. The thatched roofs here are a style of ancient architecture that can’t be seen anywhere else on earth.


Seascapes make up such a crucial aspect of Japan’s natural imagery, and ferry rides between islands are the perfect opportunity to take photographs. In particular, the ferry ride to the island of Naoshima provides the perfect view of natural headlands and calm water. If you’re planning a trip to Hiroshima, this is also the perfect place for seascape photography too with its famous coastline.

Hiroshima's coastline. Photo credit: Isabella Cornell

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1 Comment

  • Sandra Gonzalez de Flores said

    Wonderful and exotic natural views

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