Tokyo is the biggest city in the world and it contains a dynamic mix of history and tradition rubbing shoulders with everything unexpected and modern. In Tokyo all of your senses will be stimulated as you explore the most famous sites, food haunts and hidden away bars. You could do with a whole week or even longer to really get your teeth into everything that the city has to offer but regardless of how much time you’ve got, if you want to get the best Instagram spots on your feed then look no further – make sure you head to these twelve spots! For each one I’ve shared a link on Google Maps as well as the estimated walking time from the nearest metro / subway stations to make it even easier for you to find and save them yourself 😊
First up on this list is the stunning temple complex of Sensō-ji in the Asakusa area. Asakusa is known as one of the more historical areas of city with streets and independent craft stalls that nod to Tokyo’s past. At the heart of Asakusa is Sensō-ji. The Buddhist temple is the oldest in the city although, whilst it was founded in 628, the current building is much more modern as it had to be rebuilt after it was destroyed in the Second World War.
The eye-catching crimson building is perfect to add the first pop of colour to your Japan Instagram feed. Since Sensō-ji is one of the most popular places to visit in Tokyo it can get very busy here so make sure you arrive as early as possible to get a clean shot. Both of the gates to the temple, The Kaminari-mon (Thunder Gate) at the entrance and the second gate known as The Hozo-mon are great spots to capture. There are also plenty of little details from the stalls of Nakamise to the Sake barrels to the gorgeous Five-Storied Pagoda.
🚆 2 min walk from Asakusa Station (to the Thunder Gate) – Google Maps location
2. teamLab Planets
Have you even been to Tokyo if you haven’t shared a photo from teamLab Planets? This immersive art gallery has become synonymous with a trip to Tokyo as nearly every art room is perfect for an Instagram shot. The iconic galleries are The Infinite Crystal Universe and the Floating Flower Garden but there are others here to enjoy as well. The gallery is unusual in the way that visitors step right into the artwork and the space changes with every other visitor that’s there beside you.
👀 make sure you wear something that can be rolled up as there are a couple of spaces that contain water and a number of rooms contain floor mirrors so a skirt / dress without tights is probably best avoided!
Book your tickets with Get Your Guide here.
🚆 1 min walk from Shin-Toyosu Station, 13 min walk from Toyosu Station – Google Maps location
3. Tokyo Tower
Paris has got the Eiffel Tower and Tokyo has got the Tokyo Tower which looks remarkably similar except its painted in red and white to make it a little different (it’s actually to be inline with Air Safety Regs). The Tower is one of the tallest structures in Japan and as well as being a communications tower, it also has an observation deck which you can visit for an epic view across Tokyo. There are a number of spots to capture the tower from including Shiva Park 4th Block, Zōjō-ji Temple and Zōjō-ji Road.
Book your tickets to visit Tokyo Tower here with Get Your Guide.
🚆 8 min walk from Onarimon Station, 9 min walk from Akabanebashi Station – Google Maps location
4. Gotokuji Temple
Gotokuji Temple may just be the cutest temple you’ll ever go to and that’s thanks to hundreds of lucky cats which sit on shelves around the back of the temple which make a very cute Instagram shot. The temple is alleged to be the birthplace of the Maneki Neko (lucky cat) although it’s not conclusive whether Gotokuji is or not. However, a temple legend says that Ii Naotaka was caught in a thunderstorm and beckoned in by the temple cat.
🚆 16 min walk from Kyodo Station, 10 min walk from Gotokuji Station – Google Maps location
5. Santa Monica Crêpes
In a city as big as Tokyo you can bet there are amazing places to eat and drink at every corner whether it’s a breakfast pastry, tonkatsu curry for lunch or yakitori and gyozas for dinner. There aren’t loads that are super Instagrammable however so one you should make a beeline to photograph is Santa Monica Crepes in Harajuku with its super bright pink facade!
🚆 3 min walk from Harajuku Station – Google Maps location
6. Shinjuku Golden Gai
The ultimate location for bar hopping in Tokyo is wandering down the narrow alleyways of Golden Gai. There are over 600 bars to choose from here and it’s a far more chilled and old school Tokyo vibe in comparison to the nearby buzzy, neon signs of Shinjuku and Kabuchikō. You could join a bar hopping tour with a local guide or get lost in the choice yourself as you choose between sake, cocktails and beer. Take a photo down one of the alleyways for a perfect slice of Tokyo street scene with the lanterns and signs lit up at night.
🚆 10 min walk from Shinjuku Station, 8 min from Higashi-Shinjuku Station – Google Maps location
7. Meiji Jingu Consecrated Sake Barrels
Meiji Jingu is Tokyo’s most famous and most visited Shinto Shrine which is located between Harajuku Station and Yoyogi Park so it’s nice and easily accessible. The perfect spot here for your Instagram is the row of fabulously painted Sake Barrels. Sake (rice wine) brings people closer to the gods as part of the Shinto belief. The barrels would have been given to the shrine by local Japanese sake brewers for the sake to be used at special ceremonies and festivities, the barrels can then be used as a lovely decoration in the park.
🚆 10 min walk from Harajuku Station – Google Maps location
8. Omoide Yokocho
Omoide Yokocho (aka Piss Alley…) has a similar vibe to Golden Gai in terms of its location, narrow alleyway and lit up lanterns. Once you’ve captured your perfect shot complete with the orange lanterns and floral decorations then stop for a bite to eat in one of the tiny restaurants or bars that specialise in yakitori.
🚆 5 min walk from Shinjuku Station – Google Maps location
9. Hie Shrine
At the top of everyone’s list in Kyoto is a visit to Senbon Torii which has thousands of charming, traditional red painted tore gates leading up the mountain. However, there is also a lovely spot in Tokyo to capture the iconic red structures, if you’re only visiting Tokyo on your trip or can’t make it across to Kyoto. You’ll need to find the West Entrance into the Hie Shrine and here you’ll make your way up a flight of steep steps passing underneath the crimson gates all the way to the top. During the day you’ll likely need to wait for your turn. Whilst it’s not as busy as Senbon Torii in Kyoto, it is considerably smaller making it trickier to get a clear shot here.
🚆 5 min walk from Kokkai-gijidōmae Station, 7 min from Akasaka Station – Google Maps location
10. Tokyo Skytree
There’s another tower in Tokyo to get a bird’s eye view of the city and that’s the Tokyo Skytree. It also has a rather iconic structure which soars up above the city and is recognisable all over Tokyo. There are a few ways this makes a great Instagram spot. As you’re exploring on the ground, the Skytree will undoubtedly make an appearance in some of your street shots but it also makes a great photo when you’re standing right beneath it looking up.
At 634m high, the Skytree is the tallest structure in Japan and the tallest tower in the world so you can bet that another great Insta shot is from the observation deck where you can see across Tokyo’s cityscape. You can see the city stretch on for miles. If you visit on a clear day you can possibly capture Mt Fuji in the distance and a trip up at sunset will hopefully get you an epic sky background to go alongside the skyscrapers.
Book your ticket to the Tokyo Skytree and skip the line here with Get Your Guide.
🚆 5 min walk from Oshiage Station & Tokyo Skytree Station (through Tokyo Solamachi Mall) – Google Maps Location
11. Tokyu Plaza
At the top of the escalators into the Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku Shopping Center there is a rather unique Instagram opp. There is a series of mirrors set at all sorts of angles to each other to give a rather futuristic appearance and makes you feel a little like you’ve accidentally stumbled into a kaleidoscope. This is definitely one to visit earlier in the day so that the background street shot is quieter (even though the actual escalator shot is not too bad to capture at any point) as you can see from the photo I took!
🚆 7 min walk from Harajuku Station – Google Maps location
12. Kabuchikō Neon Sign
Tokyo is well known for its crazy night life, seemingly endless days to nights and of course plenty of neon signs. Head to the entrance of the Kabuchikō area (Kabuchikō Ichiban-gai Street) for a blast of neon colours. This area isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (it’s a red light district) so for a lot of people it might be a case of take the photo and head elsewhere. Although there are also lots of karaoke bars here and the infamous Godzilla head that sits atop Hotel Gracery, you can also find plenty of neon lights to capture in Akihabara and Shibuya.
🚆 4 min walk from Shinjuku Station (to Kabukichō Ichiban-gai St) – Google Maps location
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