Photographing Waterfronts and Boats in Tokyo
Probably the first impressions of the city you get after landing in Tokyo are the grey buildings stacked tightly next to each other and the chaotic number of people moving in harmony. What you wont notice for sure are the rivers, waterfronts and boats. But historically Tokyo was built on top of a system of former rivers, canals, and streams that have mostly disappeared after WWII. Some of these canals still remain today and provide a glimpse of Tokyo before the war and a unique hidden face of the city.
These canals and waterfronts enable photographers to find unobstructed view of the skyline. And besides the fact that you will have a good view, the reflections on the water will result in a more visually intriguing image. Here are some spots to take pictures of this unique facade of Tokyo.
the ura harbor
During the Edo period this place was used as a fishing spot. The fishermen here during the Edo period were tasked with the job of fishing and taking the fish they caught to the Edo Castle. You will see old Japanese houses in line all made of wood, this area remains a reminiscent of era gone. Even today you catch people taking the boat out for fishing. The contrast between this hundreds years old harbor with the modern buildings at the back is something worth photographing. It is a great spot to capture the old and the new of Tokyo.
The picture was taken on a bridge, the top picture is the view seen on one side and the bottom picture is the view on the other side of the bridge. Taking the picture at night is also high recommended as the area lights up with multiple colors adding a flare to the picture. A nostalgic, retro and unique neighborhood and photogenic spot in Tokyo.
the peek tower
Many of the canals of Tokyo can be found on the south-eastern side of the city due to its proximity to the sea. This canal is too located in that area. The canal is directly connected to the Tokyo Bay and the surrounding area was reclaimed decades ago when Tokyo underwent a major redevelopment of the bay area. The unique point about this location is that you can see the peek of the Tokyo Tower from this location. The reflections of the buildings onto the water and the water body itself represent a side of Tokyo that is under-rated and often not talked about. This is the kind of spot that is less explored by tourists and yet beautiful.
The immortal bridge
Light trails can be captured of any moving object with a light. Typically people capture lights emitted by trains or cars, but often forgotten are boats. We named this spot immortal because the name of the bridge in Japanese means immortal. It is a bridge located comparatively away from the city center making it ideal to take pictures of the city’s skyline from afar.
This spot is very famous for a lot of instagrammers and photographers. It is a perfect spot to test your long exposure techniques but also your patience. The above image is a composite of several light trails made by moving boats. Because the boats move very slowly you will need to wait a couple of hours easily to capture enough light trails. You will be taking the picture on a bridge and can set up your tripod and wait for the boats to pass by, one by one. When coming here to take a picture of the boat’s light trails make sure you have sufficient time on your hands as this location demands time.
the arch waterfront
This spot is located in the city center. There are not a lot of boats that pass through this location but you can catch sight of them sometimes during the day. The red brick and the arches create a nostalgic vibe to this area and one that does not seem much like Tokyo. Be sure to explore this area further as there are many potential spots to take pictures around here.
Above two pictures are taken inside the red brick building with arches. It is a passage that connects a line of shop. The perspective you get here is worth a click. Below is the terrace in this same building. It has a romantic ambience to it beside the canal and the red bricks.
The Takahashi waterfront
Another beautiful spot to take pictures of the waterfront at night is this spot. The waterfront is layered by a strip of greenery covered pathway which makes this spot not only a great spot to photograph but also to rest. We recommend going here at night and not the morning simply because the lights and colors pop up during the night. This is another one of those spots where it does not seem like the typical Tokyo you are accustomed to imagine.