Sensoji Temple in the Asakusa district of Tokyo might be one of the most touristy places in the city but it’s always a good place to go and shoot.
Asakusa is a place I typically only go when I am working, whether it is doing a tour for someone or shooting there for a commercial client.
Late afternoon light is the best, as it streams through the back of the incense burner and renders the area where the people wash their hands superbly, flooding it with great backlight with which to increase focus on the water especially.
It’s a very touristy part of Tokyo but it has its charm and it’s a place where there are some iconic shots to get. Re-visiting the spots I like best there, to try and get something different or just to improve on what I already have, is a constant pleasure.
The smoke of the burner is always a challenge and typically I am shooting with as wide a lens as I have in the bag, often putting the camera down into the ash pit to get the best angle.
The hand-washing area is somewhere I’d always usually shoot with the 50mm; the f/1.2 version if I have it on me.
Inside the temple you can always get some great shots of people throwing their money in and praying. The backdrop is superb and although the dynamic range is tricky, you can get some great shots using the backlight and still getting the shrine roofs of outside.
A couple of shots in the gallery below go back 16 years, when I was shooting on film. Most, though, are very recent.
In the article about photowalks and tours in Tokyo, you’ll find a magazine I made with Shelly Han, who was in Tokyo last year when she took a tour with me. We concentrated on Sensoji and the areas between Asakusa and Ueno. Check her magazine out. Very nice work.
A Gallery of Shots From Sensoji & Asakusa