In most countries great tourist attractions or areas of great beauty close at 5pm, tourism is over for the night and everything is barred shut, this is especially true in the UK where I live. So with this mentality I traveled to Japan, visiting the tourist destinations during the day and used the evenings for eating and bars. Thanks to getting lost in Asakusa one night I stumbled onto the fact that Japan doesn’t close after dark! Shrines and temples stayed open (except for the doors inside), the skyline was just as stunning, and there were fewer tourists. Since this great revelation I have enjoyed exploring some of the top tourist destinations at night, here are some of the highlights. And don’t worry, Japan is a really safe country so you can walk around at night, with camera equipment, and not feel threatened at all!
Fushimi Inari Taisha
The number one tourist destination in Kyoto is even more stunning at night, Fushimi Inari Taisha Jinja- or Fushimi Inari shrine, is dedicated to the goddess Inari. Being the number one tourist destination is can be very crowded during the day at night it takes on a whole new atmosphere, becoming eerily beautiful.
Kyoto is quickly becoming the tourism capital of Japan and so it is hard to get photographs unspoiled by a gaggle of people, all trying their best to get the perfect shot too. Exploring the streets at night gives a different feeling to Kyoto, a calm and peaceful place. Cherry blossom at night turn in to fluffy marshmallows, and soften the otherwise creepy empty play park.
We didn’t get a chance to visit Hiroshima castle during the day when we were in Hiroshima, but thanks to the safety of Japanese society the grounds are left open at night too. With a trusty tripod at hand you can get some great shots of Hiroshima castle at night without the hustle and bustle of people, taking you back to ages past when cities were calmer and devoid of technology.
You are probably familiar with photos of the neon lights of Tokyo shining through the night. If you go down any side streets, even if busy areas such as Ueno, you will quickly fine the quaint and quiet side of this huge metropolis.
Or if you prefer the bright lights and buildings that reach from the sky, you can visit one of Tokyo’s observation decks and watch them twinkle.
Once the light fades Fuji too fades from view, thankfully as the sakura was illuminated the night still offered a lot of beauty.
Sometimes Mount Fuji will hide herself all day, ruining your chances of getting those sought after images of the beautiful peak. Sometimes, if you are lucky, the clouds will clear at night, a perfect time to get some night time photos!
Where ever you find yourself in Japan make sure to give yourself some time to get lost in the night and explore what Japan has to offer after dark.