Pics or it didn't happen
Hello, kitties! This peculiar spot deep in Setagaya is known as the cat temple – and rightfully so, as it’s littered with thousands of arm-waving lucky cats in all sizes across the temple compound. Gotokuji is said to be the birthplace of the famed maneki neko (beckoning cat), those charming little kitties that supposedly bring good luck and happiness.
Shibuya’s famed crossing may be an obvious spot but it shouldn’t be missed. Whether you’re in the thick of it walking through the masses or capturing the view from above the action, the scramble is always a mesmerising sight. Just don’t get trampled trying to get that perfect shot.
While you’re there… The best place to catch the action is from the rooftop observatory of the Magnet by Shibuya 109 building. For just ¥300 you can get a perfect shot of the crossing from high up. For ¥1,000, you can take a souvenir photo of the crossing with you in the shot.
Although the towering gates of Meiji Jingu are a great draw, another special sight inside the spacious grounds are the rows upon rows of kazaridaru (decorative sake barrels) lining the walkway. So why are there so many? Every year, the barrels are donated by sake brewers from all over Japan and offered to the shrine deities at Meiji Jingu.
While you’re there… The entrance to Meiji Jingu is actually just a few minutes' walk from Harajuku's iconic Takeshita-dori. Knock them both off your list in one visit.
A frenzy of mirrors that looks like the inside of a kaleidoscope, this trippy mall entrance in the heart of Harajuku has become quite the popular photo op, tripping snappers out with its unique puzzle of reflections. Be aware: you might have to queue for your turn here.
While you’re there… Head on up to the sixth floor as the building is also home to a serene rooftop garden next to a Starbucks. Grab a coffee and enjoy the views.
Now a popular stop on Tokyo's tourist trail, the teamLab digital art museum out on Odaiba is filled with endless Instagrammable spots. The 10,000sqm space showcases a good 50 artworks, all of which you can interact with. Some of the prettiest rooms to take photos include 'Wander through the Crystal World', where you'll be amongst thousands of dazzling LED lights synchronised to assilimate elements of nature such as rivers and waves, as well as the 'Forest of Resonating Lamps' (pictured) where you can snap a photo in an 'infinity' space featuring gorgeous colour-changing lamps.
While you’re there… Stop by Tokyo's very own Statue of Liberty, poised elegantly in front of Aqua City Odaiba shopping centre.
The largest red-light district in Japan, Kabukicho makes the perfect evening photo op, especially when you take in the flashing lights over the iconic street entrance and the hordes of vibrant store signages. Home to many themed restaurants including the famous Robot Restaurant, Kabukicho is one stop you’ll want to add to your Insta-feed.
One of Tokyo’s oldest neighbourhoods, Asakusa is a feast for the eyes and your Instagram feed. There are many photogenic scenes to be shot here, including Sensoji Temple with Tokyo Skytree looming in the background, and the nostalgic side streets filled with old-school charm. For an aerial shot of the temple surrounded, head up to the rooftop observation deck at the tourist information centre across the junction.
While you’re there… Fuel up at the Michelin Bib Gourmand-rate Onigiri Asakusa Yadoroku. The shop specialises in rice balls with all sorts of classic fillings like ume plum and salmon flakes. The venue is also open until 2am, making it a perfect late-night snack.
Good old Tokyo Tower is the perfect spot to start your Instagram journey, as there’s nothing more iconic in the capital than this glowing orange mast. Whether you’re around the tower during the day or night, up close or from afar, there’s nothing that says Tokyo quite like our very own Eiffel Tower replica.
While you’re there… Settle in for a cocktail at the 33rd-floor Sky Lounge Stellar Garden (pictured) in The Prince Park Tower hotel across the road. Come for the winning views, stay for the drinks.
Not only a great place for food and drinks, this network of narrow alleyways hidden off the main streets of Shinjuku is also a popular spot for photographers looking to capture that iconic shot of Tokyo nightlife. What’s the appeal? Maybe it’s the mix of customers hustling through after work, or the smell of yakitori wafting through the streets. Either way, it makes for that perfect, quintessentially Tokyo city photo.
While you’re there… Head on over to Shinjuku's popular Golden Gai for a second (or third) round of drinks.
The city's most famous bridge was built in 1993 over Tokyo Bay and is shaped like a rainbow, obviously. The 798-metre long bridge connects Shibaura Pier with the Odaiba waterfront and makes for a stunning shot whether lit up in the evening or under a sunny blue sky. You'll have an excellent view from the observation deck at Fuji TV Building (entrance fee applies).
While you’re there… Make a pit stop at the new Toyosu Market for some early morning sushi or a glimpse at the famed tuna auction. You can also get a decent shot of the bridge from the rooftop garden on the Intermediate Wholesale Market Building.
This colourful share workspace in Odaiba is home to 13 floors of open-plan office space ready for rent. What makes it unique – and an Instagram hotspot – is its vibrant exterior and doorways that look like colour swatches. Hot tip: catch it in the evening when it’s all lit up.
While you’re there… Hop over the water to the man-made island Tennozu Isle and have an alfresco meal with craft beer at T.Y. Harbor's seaside outdoor deck.
Located in Sekiguchi, this towering church was designed by the renowned Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. Inside, the cathedral is just as stunning as the exterior, with floor to ceiling, industrial-style stone walls that go as far as the eye can see. You can't take photos inside the church but the facade is just as Insta-perfect.
While you’re there… Make this place a stop on your tour through Tokyo via the historical Sakura Tram (Toden Arakawa Line), the only streetcar left in Tokyo. To get to the cathedral, get off at Waseda Station.
There’s no better spot to capture sprawling views of the city than up on the roof of Roppongi Hills. Offering spectacular vistas of Tokyo, it also lets you admire most of the city’s iconic sights, including Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree and even Mt Fuji (on super clear days).
While you’re there… For more artistic inspiration, stop by the National Art Center for the latest art exhibitions. The edgy building makes a good photo op, too.
Nothing says zen quite like the peaceful surroundings of this beautiful Japanese garden. The park represents 88 miniature scenes from famous Japanese poems and features a central pond as well as a pretty little teahouse. Catch the weeping cherry blossoms in spring and the stunning foliage in autumn for the best photo opportunities.
While you’re there… Go a few stations over and get off at Nishi-Nippori Station to explore the charming neighbourhood of Yanaka. One of the city's coolest neighbourhoods, it's home to ancient temples, excellent udon, shaved ice parlours and more.
This street next to Roppongi Hills is one of the few places in the city where you’ll get an unobstructed glimpse of Tokyo Tower. Head on over to the mall and snap some shots from the elevated outdoor area. Better yet, find the bridge that crosses over Keyakizaka-dori for a winning view of the tower and the cherry trees lining the street – they are all lit during the holiday season.
While you’re there… Enjoy brunch at Bricolage Bread & Co; it's located right on Keyakizaka-dori. They've got a great selection of open-faced sandwiches, coffee from Fuglen Coffee Roasters, and a bakery where you can take away excellent baked goods.
A popular area during cherry blossom season, Nakameguro's bit of the Meguro River is a must-visit spot for Instagram-hunters looking to capture its gorgeous pink foliage. Head there during the holiday season for a different view, as the river turns into a winter wonderland with trees strung in dazzling lights. Or, make your way over in the autumn when the leaves start to change colour.
While you’re there… Stroll along the Meguro River for cute cafés, restaurants and boutiques – Nakameguro might just become your new favourite neighbourhood.
For more Instagram inspiration
These stunning architecture are some of our favourite buildings in Tokyo – from the iconic Prada store to the postmodern Nakagin Capsule Tower and more
Want to see Tokyo from the top? Visit these observation decks for the best views in the capital
Want to gaze out at the mesmerising Tokyo skyline? Check out these great views of the city after dark
From 3D cat latte art and animal doughnuts to Totoro puffs, these tasty treats are just too cute to eat