From modern art to Shinto shrines, Data analysis group releases its list of top photography spots from 2018.

Japan loves travel and photography, and so it’s only natural that the country’s social media accounts are filled with gorgeous snapshots of breathtaking views and beautiful sightseeing attractions. Of course, with cool things hiding around seemingly every corner in the country, budding shutterbugs can be spoiled for choices in Japan, and so online research group Snaplace has put together a list of recommendations of photogenic places that are sure to impress.

Let’s dive into its top picks, based on analysis of data from 2018.

9. Yorotenmei Hantenchi (Yoro, Gifu Prefecture)

Also known as the “Site of Reversable Destiny,” the Yorotenmei Hantenchi is surrealist art on a grand scale. Created through a partnership between architect Shusaku Arakawa and poet Madeline Gins, the collection of buildings and gardens is billed as a theme park that is “specifically designed to make you lose track of your sense of balance.”

8. Sanko Inari Shrine (Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture)

It’s not quite as famous as the nearby Inuyama Castle, and from outside the grounds, this might look like a pleasant, though fairly nondescript, Shinto shrine. Walk through the tunnel of torii gates, though…

…and you’ll find that Sanko Inari’s ema (wish tablets) aren’t the standard bare wood pentagons seen at most other shrines, but pretty-in-pink hearts, making this a favorite pilgrimage spot for those looking for love.

7. Sarushima (Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture)

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: even though Sarushima translates to “Monkey Island,” there are, sadly, no monkeys to be found there. What there is, though, is a gorgeous greenery and hauntingly beautiful architecture left over from when Sarushima was a military base.

With no permanent inhabitants, Sarushima provides a beautiful backdrop for portraits or ample material for landscape shots, as well as beautiful sea views from its coastline. An easily doable day-trip from Tokyo, many say it’s also the closest thing to a real-life version of the abandoned castle from the Studio Ghibli anime Castle in the Sky Laputa.

6. Kanazawa 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture)

The crown jewel of Kanazawa’s modern-day art scene, the museum famously has no designated main entrance, so that visitors will roam free and create their own personal experience (though everyone seems to love the unique installation that makes it look like you’re waking through a filled swimming pool).

5. Sakushima (Nishio, Aichi Prefecture)

Similar to how Sarushima is a doable day-trip from Tokyo, Sakushima is a popular excursion from Nagoya. But instead of old architecture, Sakushima boasts a number of seaside art installations, with visitors riding rental bikes from one to the next before hopping off to set up photos with the beautiful sunsets and calm waters of Mikawa Bay behind them.

4. La Collina Omihachiman (Omihachiman, Shiga Prefecture)

Quite possibly the world’s most dynamic-looking bakery, La Collina is situated in a vast patch of farmland, with a narrow walkway visitors traverse to get to the front door. Even the roof is covered with plant life, making the building itself change color with the passing of the seasons.

3. BE KOBE sign (Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture)

Random capitalization of English words is rampant in Japanese graphic design, but it’s warranted in the case of this harborside landmark that ensures you’ll never have to ask “Wait, where did we take this picture?”

2. Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine (Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture)

Saitama often gets stuck with the reputation as one of Japan’s least interesting prefectures, but this shrine, said to bestow romantic blessings upon visitors, draws crowds of singles looking for love as well as lovers of the beautiful aesthetics of its unique tunnel of wish boards and softly ringing wind chimes.

1. Yasaka Koshindo (Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture)

And for the last stop on the list, we come to a temple that differentiates itself from the many others in Kyoto in an extremely colorful way. What you’re seeing there are Yasaka Koshindo’s substitute for wish boards: colored cloth balls on which visitors write their desires.

The balls are said to represent an impulsive, pleasure-seeking monkey with its hands and feet bound. Writing your wish on a ball and hanging it outside the temple is said to free you from the shackles of said desire…by granting your wish.

A convenient line of logic, to be sure, but there’s no denying that Yasaka Koshindo is a great location for unforgettable photographs, especially if you happen to be dressed in a similarly colorful kimono.

Source: Snaplace
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