10 Spots for Night Photography in Shinjuku Tokyo

10 Spots for Night Photography in Shinjuku Tokyo guide book for photography in tokyo

Shinjuku is probably the most vibrant district in Tokyo. It is a commercial/administrative center and a major economic hub for Tokyo and in turn for Japan. The Shinjuku Station is one of the largest stations in the world, it connects with the circular train line called the Yamanote Line so you are bound to change trains here at least once during your stay in Tokyo. With so many things to do here it’s easy to see why the majority of tourists add this place as one of their itineraries of Tokyo. But theres more to nightlife and shopping in Shinjuku. By far the most interesting place for night photography in Tokyo is Shinjuku. Coming here your fingers will probably be glued to your shutter, ready to snap at all the neon lights Shinjuku has to offer. Here are some of the spots worth taking pictures in the Shinjuku District.

Godzilla Road

Typical vertical neon signs that is associated strongly with the image Tokyo. There are many of them in Tokyo, but you will not get a better vantage point than this.

Near Kabukicho there is a street named after the sculpture of Godzilla head at the end of the street. Remember to check the Godzilla head on the left top of the hotel name Hotel Gracery. You can go up to the hotel and visit the Godzilla Cafe to take a closer look at the Godzilla head. With all the people hustling the night, standing on the road might seem a little too chaotic. Through out the day whether it be day or night, this road is usually cramped with people. The best spot to get a picture here is from a slight birds eye view where you can get a wider shot of the street. There is a special and not-so-well known spot where you can get a bird’s eye view of this street. Pro tip: Every night at around 8-9pm the eyes of the Godzilla light up red so if you want that extra oomph we recommend taking a picture after it lights up.

Robot restaurant neon sign

Robot Restaurant is another famous restaurant for tourists. The restaurant is more a show business than a place to eat as showcases laser lights, flashy dancers, and extravagant glittering robots. Time and time again it’s been used to portrait an image of Japan abroad. Also don’t expect many robots in the so called restaurant, despite the name, they are not the main focus of the ‘‘restaurant’’. Unfortunately taking pictures inside the Robot Restaurant is not allowed. For those of you who are street photographers there’s good news. The neon sign outside Robot Restaurant is equally (or even better for some) photogenic. Stand at the end of the street and adjust the exposure to the neon sign to take pictures of silhouettes like above.

Robot restaurant is well known tourist attraction but the neon sign placed outside is equally worth taking pictures.
Robot restaurant is well known tourist attraction but the neon sign placed outside is equally worth taking pictures.
Although it looks like the two in the picture above are together, the woman was standing closer to the neon sign and the man, separate from the woman, standing towards the camera.
Although it looks like the two in the picture above are together, the woman was standing closer to the neon sign and the man, separate from the woman, standing towards the camera.

Chinese Noodle Restaurant

There’s a Chinese noodle restaurant between Golden Gai and Korea Town in Shinjuku. They make the noodle from scratch whenever a customer orders a dish with noodles. The making of the noodle can be seen from the outside through the huge winder display. Stand opposite the road with a zoom lens ready and wait for a customer to order some noodles! The red Chinese lanterns combined with the expressions of the chef making the noodles makes this spot worth going to. You can also ask to take a picture from the inside. The owners are nice and will gladly comply for photographing this guy. Order some Chinese here as a way of saying thanks! Below is a picture taken from the inside of the restaurant.

This restaurant is weirdly photogenic both from the outside and from the inside. And the food equally good.

The Salaryman going home

This one is one of our favorite spots to take a picture in Tokyo. A spot definitely instagram worthy and a spot where you are guaranteed to go home with satisfaction. The incandescent light from the entrance/exit of the subway casts a long looming shadow of the person at the opening. Darkening the other parts of the picture in post-processing it creates an interesting moody ambience. The blue neon light and the yellow ground surface indicators add a color contrast making this an amazing picture. The birds-eye view of an entrance/exit to a subway is not easy to find so this spot is definitely worth it.

Pictures like these have a mood and a story to it. Something that a lot of street photographers look for in images.
Pictures like these have a mood and a story to it. Something that a lot of street photographers look for in images.
A man going back home after a long day at work. Imagining stories of how the person spent his day is the interesting part of this location.
A man going back home after a long day at work. Imagining stories of how the person spent his day is the interesting part of this location.

The shinjuku alley

We took this picture before the sun set down and aimed for the timing with minimum people in the picture.The oranges and the yellows in the picture create a great and welcoming ambience.

This retro alley contrasts very well to the neon lit and futuristic Shinjuku on the main road. This narrow alley shows you a glimpse of the past and should be one of the top to-visit places in your itinerary. There are tiny bars, cheap ramen joints and casual Japanese food diners where many Japanese grab a drink or snack before heading home. It portraits the old and nostalgic times of Japan. Smoke coming out of barbecue grills from tiny restaurants, old architecture and cosy narrow street give out a very traditional vibe. In the recent years this alley has become a touristy spot, hence you might see more tourists than locals here. The colors are vibrant and the street very happening, all this points combined make this a great spot to take pictures. In a way, showcasing the essence of Japanese street culture.

The triangle

This location is an atrium inside a building. The building is located within walking distance from the Shinjuku station and was recently renovated in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Because the inside is slightly dark and you cannot use a tripod you will have to crank up your ISO for this shot. The design resembles a spider web making this look up very cool. Another famous spot for locals but not so known for tourists.

over the brigde night

The spot is taken over a pedestrian bridge. You will need a telephoto or mid-range zoom lens. The neon lit Shinjuku is on display. What makes it interesting is the pedestrians at the bottom of the picture, the cars running and the green train track with the bright buildings at the back, all which depict an accurate image of Shinjuku.

Standing on the same pedestrian bridge you and looking at the other side you get the view below (right bottom picture). This view is also famous and can be seen on a lot of Instagram accounts. For the bottom right picture you will need an ultra wide angle lens.

The futuristic tower at the crossing.
The futuristic tower at the crossing.
This is a photogenic spot in Shinjuku where you can capture the train and the road together with Tokyo’s metallic building in the background.
This is a photogenic spot in Shinjuku where you can capture the train and the road together with Tokyo’s metallic building in the background.

the eight

This picture was taken through a window in a shopping mall located right above the Shinjuku station. You will need a wide angle lens for this shot. The twists and turns of the road below is what makes this spot unique and cool. It’s a great spot to take a picture of the Shinjuku station. Tripods are allowed here.

The metropolitan

The lighting on this building changes from time to time. It is one of the most famous government building in Shinjuku. The place is usually busy with people during the daytime but is deserted at night. The picture was taken from the courtyard of the building which is open to the public even at night, long after the building itself is closed.

There are several sculptures in this courtyard. Taking a picture with the sculpture in the composition can result in a unique picture like above, separating you from other photographers.

The courtyard where the picture was taken is decorated with flowers and statues. You can try to include them into your pictures to make it more unique.
The courtyard where the picture was taken is decorated with flowers and statues. You can try to include them into your pictures to make it more unique.
Removing the excess of colors and exaggerating the reds creates this contrasty clean shot above.
Removing the excess of colors and exaggerating the reds creates this contrasty clean shot above.

The shinjuku look up

Shinjuku has a lot of tall buildings in Japanese standards. This spot allows you to take a picture with four of them in one frame. The buildings are close enough to each other for this look up. Taking a long exposure can result in a nice fine art architectural photo.

On the same spot, you can also take pictures like below. Theres a body of water near one of the buildings entrance which reflects the silouhettes of people walking by. The rhythmic shape of pillars add to the picture’s intrigue.

Looking down from the meters high buildings above your head towards the ground is this water body between two buildings.
Looking down from the meters high buildings above your head towards the ground is this water body between two buildings.
The reflections capture the silhouettes of people walking past these buildings. A photographic spot where you can capture stories.
The reflections capture the silhouettes of people walking past these buildings. A photographic spot where you can capture stories.

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