As you may know, we are a Japanese eyewear brand and our headquarters is located in Tokyo, Japan. Although we have opened up new stores in the U.S., we stay true to our Japanese roots and want to share the culture with our customers. What better way to share than with our insider travel secrets of Japan! Introducing our new series: “Team JINS Insider Travel Secrets of Japan.” First up, we have our Top 5 most instagrammable places in Japan that most of the locals frequent (including us!) and importantly, make it worth visiting to take amazing photos that’ll create all kinds of FOMO (fear of missing out!).
1. Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto
Fushimi Inari Shrine is an Shinto Shrine in Kyoto, and is mostly well known for having 5,000 torii gates which straddle a trail. The trail leading into the woody forest of Mount Inari makes a pleasant day hike, but it can also make an eerie stroll when the miniature shrines and graveyards along the path take on a mysterious vibe.
This shrine, dedicated to the god of rice and sake in the 8th century, also features dozens of fox statues. Foxes are said to be of Inari’s messengers, so you will see many fox statues across the shrine grounds.
This is a great place to take photos with the torii gates all aligned perfectly — snap a photo of you right in the center of it all. We just don’t recommend coming at night as it can feel a bit spooky! But if you arrive here in the day, you’re in the clear.
2. Big Buddha, Kamakura
The Great Buddha is a monumental bronze statue of Amidha Buddha in the city of Kamakura in Kanagawa prefecture. At 13 meters high and 93 tons, it is the second largest monumental Buddha in Japan, followed by the magnificent Big Buddha in Nara weighing 15 meters and weighing 250 tons. The Big Buddha is seated in a lotus position with his hands forming the gesture of meditation. Take a photo in front of this grand statue for an unforgettable picture.
In addition to the photo-worthy Big Buddha, the city of Kamakura is especially cute! It used to be the old capital of Japan in the Kamakura period in the 1200s, hence there are plenty of old shrines and temples.
We also love walking along the streets of Komachi street by Kamakura train station where there are many adorable Ma and Pa shops, including Japanese dessert shops like rice crackers and mochi, serving amazing food.
3. Otaru, Hokkaido
Otaru is a port city in Hokkaido, which is northwest of Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido. (Hokkaido is the northernmost of Japan’s main islands.) The city is known for glassworks and its sake distilleries.
The Otaru canal is lined with cute cafes and shops in converted old warehouses. From the late 1800s, Otaru served as a major trade and fishing port and still preserves the special character reminiscent of the past decade.
The best time to take a photo of the Otaru canal is at night time right after it gets dark, when there’s still snow on the ground. Look how Instagrammable these look!
4. Sensoji Temple, Asakusa
Sensoji Temple is a buddhist temple located in Asakusa. It’s known for it’s bright colorful exterior and outright beautiful architecture — all extremely Instagram-worthy. When entering the temple, visitors first go through the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate). This temple was completed in the year 645, making this the oldest temple in Tokyo. In addition, just close by the temple, there’s a shopping street filled with souvenirs and local snacks that you can walk around and enjoy during your visit.
5. Naoshima/Teshima: The Art Islands, Kagawa
Known as the island for contemporary art museums as well as outdoor surreal art museum installations, Naoshima is a hidden gem for even the local Japanese. Based in Kagawa prefecture, the island has sandy beaches with a relaxed, rural atmosphere that’s a great weekend getaway. People also describe Naoshima as the “Ando island” as most of the stunning structures were designed by Pritzker prize-winning architect Tadao Ando. It’s also interesting to note that most of Naoshima’s art is installed by Benesse Corporation (Japanese corporate that focuses on education), which is also designed by Tadao Ando.
If you like contemporary and modern art, this is a must-go spot! Make sure you take a photo of the giant black and yellow gourd (fruit) at the edge of the island. Enjoy Naoshima as it has turned into one of the most remarkable and architecture destinations in the world.
Now that you’ve seen the top 5 most Instagram-worthy places to visit in Japan, it’s YOUR turn to make these destinations a reality. Don’t forget to enter our Japan Trip contest going on right now — for official rules see our blog post here. Enter either on your Instagram (tagging @JINSeyewear and #JINSeyewear, #contest, #flyustojapan) OR on our Facebook page here. Good luck!