Meiji Shrine (also known as Meiji Jingu) is the most popular shrine in Tokyo. Meiji Shrine is a well-known landmark which features a spacious temple, a museum and a forest. However, what many don’t know about is that Meiji Jingu is one of the best photo spots near Harajuku. The shrine is a great photo location for vivid portraits to level up your Instagram game or to build up your professional portfolio.

If you’re seeking an authentic Japanese background and a natural vibe for your photos, then Meiji Shrine is the place to be!

I went to Meiji Shrine to shoot some colorful portrait photos in collaboration with Jiro (check his work here).

Here are the best spots to take photos at Meiji Shrine:

1. South Entrance

A good photo spot is right at the entrance of Meiji Shrine. The South Entrance features a wide walking path, sake barrels and three torii gates that lead to the South Gate of the shrine.

Portrait at South entrance
Portrait at South entrance of Meiji Shrine

This photo was taken on the beautiful walking path, after the first torii gate, near the sake barrels area.

2. Main Hall

After passing the third torii gate, you will reach the main shrine building and also the best photo location at Meiji Shrine. The wooden architecture and the beautiful lanterns will give your photos a retro, medieval Japanese atmosphere.

3. Votive Tablets

As you will enter the main hall, you will notice many wooden tablets called ema (in Japanese). This is where visitors write their wishes and prayers. In my opinion, this is the cutest photo spot of Meiji Shrine.

Portrait with Wooden Tablets
Portrait with Wooden Tablets

4. Meiji Jingu Forest

The Meiji Jingu forest is a huge, tranquil, green space in the heart of Tokyo, where you can take a refreshing walk. The tall trees of the forest will add a lively, natural background to your portraits. In summer and spring, the green trees will add color to your portraits. However, the forest becomes truly magical during the fall foliage season.

Portrait in Meiji Jingu Forest
Portrait in Meiji Jingu Forest

BONUS spot: Vending Machines in Harajuku

Nearby Meiji Shrine, one minute away from Harajuku station, you will find some colorful vending machines. When I was walking around the area, I really liked the background and decided to take some photos. I loved the results, so I recommend you to try the same spot.

Thank you for reading. I hope these photo spots recommendations were of help next time you visit Meiji Shrine.

Which is your favourite spot of Meiji Shrine? Leave a comment.

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