Saturday, July 30, 2005

Taking Pictures in Tokyo

Tokyo is without a doubt one of the most popular destinations in Japan. If you have a chance to go there on business or for a vacation, be sure to bring your camera along because there are plenty of great photo opportunities in that teeming city of 12 million residents. Here are some of the best places to go for photos.

First, I recommend visiting the Imperial Palace. This is where the imperial family of Japan (the Emperor and Empress) lives, which makes it similar to Buckingham Palace in London. The palace grounds are very expansive for Tokyo, but the inner garden is only open to the public a couple times a year. Therefore, it would be wise to bring a camera with a pretty good lens, or at least one that has a decent optical zoom. Be sure to take a photo of the Eyeglass Bridge and the Double Bridge, both of which span the moat that separates the inner and outer gardens. You can also take a guided tour of parts of the palace, so there are great photo ops on the inside as well.

Another place to go for pictures is Tokyo Tower. This is a steel tower that is used as a TV and radio antenna for the metropolitan area. The tower itself is not much to look at; the real reason to go is for the observation deck, which is a little more than 800 feet above the ground. If it's a clear day, you can even see the famed peak of Mt. Fuji from there. Either way, you will have a nice 360-degree view of the city, and can get some very nice photographs from up there. Just bear in mind that your pictures will be taken from behind the Plexiglas barrier, so turn your flash off and make any other necessary adjustments before snapping away. This would be a fantastic spot to test out your camera's panoramic mode.

For a change of pace, go on a leisurely boat ride along the Sumida River to get a close-up view of Tokyo's many bridges. One of the most famous suspension bridges in the world is the Rainbow Bridge, which is in Tokyo Bay. The bridge is lit up with different colored spotlights at night, so that's definitely the best time to take pictures. Be sure to switch your digital camera over to night landscape mode!

A city the size of Tokyo is perfect for people-watching, so take grab your camera and head out to one of the many shopping and entertainment districts to photograph some of the huge crowds. The Ginza shopping district is one of the poshest in the world. You might run into some of Japan's biggest television and movie personalities here, so have your camera ready. The Shibuya district is very popular among the younger crowds. Here you can see teenagers decked out in wild fashions that are going to become Japan's newest trends. You have to take pictures of some of these outfits and hairstyles, otherwise your friends would never believe you!

These are just a few ideas to get you started. The photographic possibilities in Tokyo are almost endless!

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