Visiting Tokyo from Sept. - Dec. taking a Canon 7D...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by greenfootballs, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. greenfootballs macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2010
    I'm about to study abroad in Tokyo, Japan for this semester at University. Before I went, I thought I'd ask some photographers who've been to or live in Japan a few questions.

    I'm taking with me a Canon 7D with the 28-135 kit lens, a 75-300mm f/4, and a 10-20mm f/4. (I wish I could afford faster glass :p ).

    Does anyone here recommend any spots around Japan that would be good for shooting? I've been to Kyoto's Kinkakuji, Himeji castle, and a few other well traveled spots, so I've got an idea of where a lot of these places are.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

    ps if anyone is interested, you can keep an eye on my flickr stream starting around september 23rd for a look at Japan.
  2. darlenea macrumors member

    Aug 19, 2010
    Have you tried asking this question on the DPreview Cannon 7d forum? I have found travel questions seem to answered well there. Darlenea
  3. darlenea macrumors member

    Aug 19, 2010
    Have you tried asking this question on the DPreview Cannon 7d forum? I have found travel questions seem to answered well there. By the way have a great time. I loved my time as student studying abroad. Darlenea
  4. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    Depends what you are interested in.

    If you like temples and shrines then clearly you are in the right country.

    Matsushima Jinja was very interesting. Quite out of the way. Nice scenery. The only way to stay on the island was inside the shrine in one of the rooms they kept as a Youth Hostel. Don't know if they still do that. Highly recommend it.

    The shrines and temples at Nikko, north of Tokyo, are very colorful and interesting. Probably worth a couple of days stay. One day is OK but you'll feel rushed.

    Sanjusangendo near Kyoto station is kind of amazing (Google image) but you can't take photographs on your own inside.

    Miyajima is a nice place to visit. You've probably seen photos of the large torii in the water. There is an extensive shrine all built over the water. Lots of interesting things to photograph.

    Heian Jinja in Kyoto was interesting. The shrine is totally painted in a vermillion color and there is an extensive garden.

    I liked some of the scenery. The lighting is usually soft due to the humidity. There is often a lot haze.

    I found a lot of ordinary life interesting; coffee shops, vending machines, architecture, railroads. The Tsukiji fish market is fun. Akihabara is great for night photography. Probably more neon signs here than anywhere in Japan.

    A lot of what I found interesting in Japan is hard to describe. It was opportunistic. Not worth a trip as a destination, but you just go walking and keep turning on smaller and smaller roads till you find some too small for cars and there will be some really charming noren hanging outside a restaurant. Those things are where you find them.

    For a change of pace you can visit China town near Yokohama. Just up the hill is the area where the foreigners were first allowed to live. There are some lovely international schools. My kids attended St. Maur's part of the time when we lived there. There is an old cemetery you can find with graves hundreds of years old.

    For macrophotography you can find all sorts of interesting little objects to photograph. Go to any stationery store, or gift store or electronics store and you can find all sorts of little things that people hand on their phones or their bookbags and such. I recall that KFC in Japan for a while gave away little plastic dolls of the Colonel that were made to hang on to the straw in your softdrink. This stuff is everywhere.

    In Ginza there are a couple of places that sell beautiful washi, Japanese paper. There was one at the main Ginza crossing across from Wako department store. It was a small place just off the corner. Itoya in Ginza also sold this paper. You have to ask because it was at a small place not far from the big Itoya building. These are quite lovely as backdrops for pictures of other things. Usually you are not allowed to photograph inside the store.

    Any drinking and eating area of any city is interesting in the evening. If you catch it just at dusk there is a nice balance of natural and electric light.

    Once in a while in the evening you'll happen upon a line of at least two hundred taxis. Or a bike rack with five hundred bicycles.

    Don't know if they'll let you photograph it but I recall once visiting the lost and found in Tokyo station where they kept the lost umbrellas. There must have been ten million umbrellas.

    Have fun. Where are you going? Sophia University?
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    Any spots in Japan good for shooting? Where do I start? How many pages do you want me to write? ;)

    As a first thing that hasn't necessarily something to do with shooting, get the Japan rail pass! It's relatively cheap and you can use the Shinkansen (= fast, comfortable) to get from A to B. Japan's railway system is excellent and a very good way to get around.

    That being said, the question is what kind of stuff you want to shoot? For street photography, there are a few spots in, say, Osaka (AMERIKA mura) or Tokyo to look at. Also the fish markets are nice (if you like that kind of stuff and you can get yourself out of bed early in the morning).

    If you like architecture, there are guides specialized in that. I spent two weeks traveling with an architect friend of mine through Osaka and Kyoto -- and we haven't seen anything!

    A few spots from the top of my head:
    - Imperial Residence in the North West (there are three). You need to register one day in advance, though. It's by far the most beautiful.
    - The shrines of fushimi inari: this is a memory I will not forget for the rest of my life, it's very impressive to hike through tori for an hour and a half. If you choose the right path, you'll exit at a bamboo forest which eventually leads to another big and impressive temple.

    - If you like street life, this is a good place. You can take nice pictures in Sony Tower (you have a very good view onto the roofed shopping street).
    - AMERIKA mura.

    - Go to the temples and shrines that are on the opposite side of the well-traveled town. (I'm not sure whether the usual sights such as toudaiji are in the East or in the West.)

    Other than that, I recommend you keep an eye out for local festivals which happen throughout the year. People will dance, sell food and other things (e. g. pottery).

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