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Tokyo: A Photography Guide to the Big Mikan

boats on body of water

New York is often referred to as ‘The City that Never Sleeps’, and it’s not an unwarranted nickname. With its 24/7 subway stations and late-night bars and music venues, New York is certainly a city that you can enjoy at any time of the day or night. 

But if New York is the city that never sleeps, then Tokyo is the city that never wants to sleep. At around 6:00 PM every day, we swear this city downs around five espressos, morphing itself into an entirely different entity. Thousands of neon lights blare in the city skyline, while hundreds of music venues, restaurants, and shopping markets buzz and bustle with activity. Even the people seem to have a newfound energy, crowding the city streets long into the early morning.

If you’re thinking of travelling to a place with a great day and night life, then Tokyo would have to be your best bet. This city offers nearly everything to the photography-loving traveller, whether that be the forests of gorgeous skyscrapers, the weird and wonderful local activities, or the ancient temples that provide a wonderful juxtaposition to the futuristic landscape. We’re not exaggerating when we say you could create a photo book in 2 clicks after just 24 hours here. And if you don’t believe us, here are a few examples of exactly what you can get up to.

Get Lost in the Big Mikan

We started this blog by comparing Tokyo to New York, and there’s a good reason for this. Tokyo’s most predominant nickname is ‘Big Mikan’, which is a deliberate reference to New York’s other nickname, the ‘Big Apple’. It is called this because of how the streets are so similar to the webs of the mikan orange, stretching like a maze in every direction, with seemingly no real order. When you get here, you’ll see what we mean: just walking the city streets and getting lost is enough to give you plenty of photo opportunities. 

Explore Omoide Yokocho

One of these opportunities is Omoide Yokocho. Hidden around the city are hundreds of compact eating and drinking markets, stretching far into narrow alleys, and lit by deep orange neon lights. Omoide Yokocho is one of the most famous. With dozens of bustling restaurants – where you can try the delicious local smorgasbord of Yakitori – this place pulsates with energy and excitement long into the night, making it the perfect venture for the avid photographer.

Take in the Views at Tokyo Skytree

Getting lost isn’t for everyone, however. While we think wandering the streets and exploring the market is a great way to tell stories in your urban photography, it won’t give you an example of how magnificent Tokyo really is. This is something that you can only capture if you’re up above the city, looking down into the web. Thankfully for you, there’s the Tokyo Skytree. Standing at 634m, this tower literally touches the clouds, giving you a full view of the entire city. On a clear day, you can even see Mount Fuji in the distance!

Experience Nature at Meguro River

One of the best things about Tokyo is that it’s not just about awesome, futuristic skyscrapers. Across the city, there are loads of beautiful, natural spots that induce a feeling of calm amidst the chaos. You’ve heard of cherry blossoms, right? They’re kind of a big thing in Japan, and from mid-March to early April, they’re in full bloom, glistening the city with even more color. The Meguro River is probably the best spot to see them. Located in Nakameguro, this is a serene and beautiful river that is known for its huge trees, floating blossoms, and fascinating local wildlife. 

Jump Into the Past at Senso-ji Temple

As we said before, there are tons of amazing temples in Tokyo – and Japan as a whole for that matter – but one of the most incredible is Senso-ji. Open for 24 hours every day, this is a great place to immerse yourself in the city’s history, and upload even more cultural photos to our photo book maker. Though it can get slightly busy during the day, a great time to visit is during sunrise, when the sun begins rising above the Kaminarimon, and the crowds in the city begin to fill. This is the best chance to get an idea of Tokyo’s full spectrum. The old and the new. The natural world and the glorious architecture. The neverending life that has soaked itself into the city streets. It’s sure to be a photograph you won’t forget, and a moment you’ll keep with you forever!


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