Nine locations to visit right now, and one to save for the spring.
Whether you’re capturing the images that perfectly represent your personal relationship with the country or just taking some cool snaps to share on Instagram, Japan offers some amazing photography venues. With the weather entering the magical not-too-hot, not-too-cold sweet spot, there’s no better time to head out with camera (or smartphone) in hand, so here are ten great spots to take pictures of Japan, with backdrops so beautiful they make it hard to take a bad picture.
1.Nezu Shrine (Tokyo)
Located at the north edge of downtown Tokyo, Nezu Jinja is famous for its hill of azaleas that bloom from April to early May. Regardless of the month, though, a walk along the stone path through its tunnel of tori gates feels worlds away from the capital’s towering skyscrapers. Come early in the day, like we did, and you might even be able to snap some secluded photos likes ours above.
2. Lake Motosu (Yamanashi Prefecture)
There are plenty of places you can take photos of Mt. Fuji from, since being Japan’s tallest mountain means it sort of stands out from any other nearby scenery. However, this is the only place where the view is dramatic enough…
to be used on the back of the 1,000-yen bill.
3. Shirakawa-go (Gifu Prefecture)
This UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for its unique steep-roofed farmhouses made in the gasshozukuri (“hands clasped together in prayer”) style, has long been one of our favorite destinations. For the best vantage point, head up the hill to the lookout point located on the grounds of the former Ogimachi Castle.
4.Okutama Cycling Course (Tokyo)
At the northwest corner of Tokyo’s expansive confines lies Okutama, and directly to the east is Ome. The two towns are connected by a bicycle course, and if you head out for a ride at this time of year, you’ll be treated to some gorgeous fall colors along the route.
5, Tanzan Shrine (Nara Prefecture)
Another great place to visit when the leaves are changing colors, this Shinto shrine has over 3,000 maple trees on its premises. Whether you’re looking up at the branches or down at your feet, you’ll find crimson leaves begging you to take their picture.
6. Kawasaki nighttime factories (Kanagawa Prefecture)
The city of Kawasaki is generally overshadowed by its better-known, more attraction-packed neighbors of Tokyo (to the north) and Yokohama (to the south). But Kawasaki’s blue-collar roots have been drawing crowds to its industrial district after the sun goes down, when it takes on an otherworldly aura not unlike that of the opening sequence of Final Fantasy VII. Recently, boat operators have even started offering nighttime cruises of the area.
7. Gunkanjima (Nagasaki Prefecture)
In contrast to the bustling activity at Kawasaki’s factories, this deserted island, which has been used as a location in films including Skyfall and the Attack on Titan films, provides the rare opportunity to see what happens when an entire city suddenly packs up and leaves.
8. Seibu Ahina Line (Saitama Prefecture)
Another deserted photo spot, the Seibu Ahina train line connects Minami Otsuka Station, in the city of Kawagoe, and the now-defunct Ahina Station. While the trains are no longer running, the tracks remain, and walking through the living tunnel of greenery growing around them will have you feeling like you’re strolling through a Hayao Miyazaki or Mamoru Hosoda anime.
9. Monet’s Pond (Gifu Prefecture)
While the French artist never actually visited this technically unnamed pond, its uncanny resemblance to his Impressionist paintings has earned it the nickname it’s widely called by.
10. Nakano-dori (Tokyo)
Okay, we admit we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. The best time to go and take photos at this cherry tree-lined avenue is, of course, in the spring, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Take the stairs up to the top of one of the pedestrian intersection overpasses, and you’ll be able to add a great sense of perspective to your photos with cherry blossoms both near and far filling the frame.
Of course, the cherry blossoms won’t be blooming until half a year from now, but that still leaves you nine other places to visit in the six months until then.
[ Read in Japanese ]