A Photographer's Early Morning and Night Guide to Yokohama and Kamakura

Kanagawa Prefecture, which is easily accessible from Tokyo, is a place of scenic beauty full of amazing seascapes and stunning mountain views. No wonder then that it’s often used as a filming location for many Japanese productions. In this article, we will feature three of Kanagawa’s most photogenic spots - Yokohama, Kamakura, and Enoshima - where shutterbugs can spend the entire day taking photos that are guaranteed to go viral on social media. We’ll also introduce spots that you might recognize from popular Japanese shows and movies. If you’re ever in Kanagawa, these are the places to capture on film and share with your followers!

*This article was sponsored by Kanagawa Prefecture. 

Exploring Yokohama’s Best Photo Spots

Yokohama is a lively metropolis bursting with culture, history, and technology. Since the opening of its port in the 19th century, the city has incorporated Western and Chinese cultures into its identity and used them to keep growing while never forgetting its roots. Today, you can trace the evolution of the city by strolling through its retro townscapes in various foreign architectural styles, which stand shoulder to shoulder with office districts, chic cultural and commercial facilities, and other modern structures. Read on to discover the best spots in Yokohama to capture the city’s unique vibe on camera.

Yokohama’s Best Morning Photo Spots

Start Your Day with a Gorgeous View 277 Meters Above Ground at Sky Lounge SIRIUS

Situated higher than any other hotel in Japan, Yokohama Royal Park Hotel offers amazing, sweeping views of the city and its futuristic Minato Mirai waterfront area. The best place to experience them is from the sky lounge SIRIUS, which truly lives up to its name by being located at the top floor of the building, 277 meters above ground. Having breakfast at the lounge while admiring panoramic views of Minato Mirai wrapped in the soft morning glow is the absolute height of luxury that you won’t be able to experience at any other time of day.

The breakfast menu at SIRIUS is extremely satisfying. You can choose from a wide variety of dishes, including Japanese staples such as rice, miso soup, and grilled fish, as well as Western fare such as toast, ham, and salads. Drinks, fruit, and desserts are also available. We recommend trying the house omelet prepared right in front of you with plenty of the chef’s specialty sauce.

When you see all those delicious-looking dishes lined up in front of you, it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed! But whatever you decide to go with, in the end, you’ll be enjoying it together with sky-high views of Yokohama, making SIRIUS one of the best places in the city to have breakfast!

Feel Like You’re Walking on Water at the Osanbashi Terminal

If you feel like taking a morning stroll in Yokohama, we recommend the Osanbashi Terminal, which offers a panoramic view of the major tourist attractions in the Minato Mirai area right from the water. Known as Yokohama’s gateway to the sea, the Osanbashi Terminal is one of the leading ports in Japan for domestic and international cruise ships. Its vast Rooftop Plaza made up of a wooden deck and lawn is meant to invoke the image of a majestic whale floating in the sea, hence the terminal’s local nickname: the “Whale's Back.”

The Rooftop Plaza also offers views of Mt. Fuji on clear days, making it a popular Yokohama photo spot as well as a filming location for various TV shows and movies. Additionally, many Japanese couples like to take wedding photos here.

For the best unobstructed views of Yokohama that you won’t be able to find anywhere else, we recommend getting to the Osanbashi Terminal early in the morning when there aren’t a lot of people around.

Go on a Romantic Date and Watch Ships Passing by at Yamashita Park

Yamashita Park, which opened in 1930, is a famous Yokohama tourist destination located right next to the Osanbashi Terminal. Built from reclaimed rubble from the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the park has been there for a big part of Yokohama’s modernization period. Offering beautiful views of the sea, the Yokohama Bay Bridge, and ships passing by, Yamashita Park is a great place to take photos that look like something straight out of a painting. If you like to start your day with an early stroll or jog while basking in the morning sun, there’s no better place to do it than Yamashita Park.

The NYK Hikawa Maru, a cargo and passenger ship moored at Yamashita Park, is open to the public, allowing visitors to get a view of its cabins, the ship interior, and the crew’s work area. There’s also an exhibition area where you can learn all about the history of the ship. If you ever visit Yamashita Park, be sure to also check out the NYK Hikawa Maru!

By the way, it’s probably worth mentioning that the park is famous for its roses. The best time to see them is from mid-May to early June and from mid-October to early November, so if you find yourself in Yokohama around that time, come admire Yamashita Park’s beautiful roses in bloom!

Walk Through a Golden Tunnel of Gingko Trees and Step Into the World of Japanese TV at Nihon-Odori Street

The ginkgo trees along and around Nihon-Odori paint the street with beautiful colors during autumn and create a breathtaking golden tunnel that should not be missed during a visit to the city!

Nihon-Odori Street is surrounded by many historic buildings like the Kanagawa Prefectural Government Office, a stately and majestic structure beloved by the Japanese people and known as one of the Yokohama Three Towers. The historic buildings and the local golden ginkgo trees come together to create a beautiful autumn landscape that’s like an illustrated postcard come to life. No wonder then that Nihon-Odori Street keeps attracting shutterbugs from all over!

Japan is famous for its red maple foliage, but not many foreign visitors know just how gorgeous the country’s ginkgo trees get during autumn. Morning is probably the best time to stroll through Nihon-Odori Street’s golden tree tunnel and photograph it at your own pace. Don’t miss the chance to capture one of the most stunning views in all of Yokohama on film!

Yokohama’s Best Night Photo Spots

Get a Sky-High View of Yokohama’s Streets with a Ride on the YOKOHAMA AIR CABIN

Launched in April 2021, YOKOHAMA AIR CABIN is the first circular gondola lift built in a major metropolitan area of Japan. The cable cars have improved access from Sakuragicho Station to the Shinko area, where the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse is located, and received a lot of recognition and praise, including the 2022 Good Design Award.

If you want to stroll through the skies of Yokohama and admire the city’s stunning Minato Mirai waterfront below, the best time to do it is at night when the area is at its most beautiful. In the past, people had to go to the top of The Landmark Tower or ride the Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris wheel in order to enjoy Minato Mirai’s nightscapes. But now, you can just hop onto the YOKOHAMA AIR CABIN and see a whole new side of the city.

See the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Bathed in Orange Light

The Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse was built between the late Meiji Period (1868 – 1912) and the early Taisho Period (1912 – 1926). Over the years, it’s been redeveloped into the present-day commercial complex housing cultural facilities, popular shops, and cafes. At night, the famous landmark is lit up with a warm, fantastical orange color. The night views of Minato Mirai from this spot are quite romantic.

The Red Brick Warehouse is also known for its annual Christmas market, which will celebrate its 13th anniversary this year. During the event, a 10-meter-tall Christmas tree is lit up when the sun goes down, filling the space with Christmas spirit. If you find yourself in Japan during Christmas, definitely check out the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse’s Christmas market at night!

Don’t Miss the “yorunoyo” Winter Illumination Event

The Minato Mirai area, known for its beautiful night views, hosts the street-and-light art illumination show “yorunoyo” every winter. The highlights of this event are the light-and-sound shows organized around facilities, historical buildings, and modern structures in the area. The event is best viewed from Osanbashi.

Enjoy Dinner and Dazzling Nightscapes at the Stylish MARINE & WALK YOKOHAMA Seaside Mall

After walking around the Minato Mirai area at night, why not get dinner at a seaside restaurant with great views? If that sounds fun to you, then head on over to MARINE & WALK YOKOHAMA, a US West Coast-style spacious mall full of restaurants, cafes, and designer shops.

Yokohama’s Must-See Sightseeing Spots

Play, Eat, Learn, and Even Make Your Own Cup Noodles at the CUPNOODLES MUSEUM YOKOHAMA

The CUPNOODLES MUSEUM YOKOHAMA is an interactive facility celebrating the achievements and creativity of Momofuku Ando, the founder of Nissin Food Products and inventor of the world's first instant noodles. It’s one of the most popular spots in Yokohama among foreign tourists.

The museum is focused on both education and entertainment, allowing visitors to learn about the importance of invention and discovery through a variety of fun exhibits and hands-on workshops related to instant ramen.

Inside the museum, you’ll find exhibits about the history of instant noodles and the trajectory of Momofuku Ando’s research, the Chicken Ramen Factory where you can make your own chicken ramen from scratch, and the My CUPNOODLES Factory where you can design and create your own one-of-a-kind cup of instant noodles. Both adults and children love it! There’s also the NOODLES BAZAAR – World Noodles Road where visitors can try unique noodle dishes from eight countries that Ando encountered during his research into the origin of noodles. Come fill your stomach in a fun setting that brings to mind an Asian night market, and appreciate just how far these noodles have spread across the globe.

Recommended Hotels in Yokohama

HOTEL EDIT YOKOHAMA: A Well-Situated, Stylish Hotel with a Signature Fragrance

HOTEL EDIT YOKOHAMA is a mix between a lifestyle goods shop and a service office that allows each guest to tailor their travel to their individual lifestyle. Located just a 3-minute walk from Sakuragicho Station, this hotel offers quick and easy access to famous sightseeing spots such as the Minato Mirai area and the Red Brick Warehouse. It’s the perfect place for those who want to enjoy sightseeing in Yokohama from morning until night.

The original bath salts that guests can make themselves free of charge are also a popular feature of the hotel. Try them out and feel the stress of your travels just melt away.

Exploring Kamakura and Enoshima’s Best Photo Spots

Kamakura, the ancient capital of Japan, offers a look into the country’s history through well-preserved traditional houses, shrines, and temples. With its charming, old-timey townscape, the city has been used as the setting of many manga, films, and TV series, making it a must-visit for fans of Japanese pop culture.

Then there’s the famous tourist destination of Enoshima Island, which you can reach via the Enoshima Electric Railway (Enoden) that runs along the coast. The island is popular among fishing and yachting enthusiasts, as well as TV fans who will recognize it as the setting of the drama series “Suki na Hito ga Iru Koto” (A Girl & Three Sweethearts).

No matter where you point your camera, you’re bound to capture a picturesque moment here. Whether it’s a couple out on a beach stroll or worshippers visiting a shrine, the scenery and people of Kamakura and Enoshima all seem like something straight out of a movie or TV show.

Kamakura and Enoshima’s Best Morning Photo Spots

Have Breakfast at yoridocoro, a Social Media Hit with Great Views of the Enoden

Located along the Enoden tracks, yoridocoro is a small restaurant housed inside a renovated 80-year-old traditional Japanese-style house. It’s a very popular place where guests can enjoy great food while watching the train pass right outside the window.

In the morning, you can enjoy a traditional Japanese breakfast of dried fish and raw egg over rice. It’s actually one of the reasons why this place is so popular. If you follow the staff’s instructions and mix the egg whites properly, they’ll turn into a fluffy meringue-like delight that tastes amazing and makes for great photos!

Enjoy Picturesque Seaside Views and a Healthy Breakfast at bills Shichirigahama

From breakfast to dinner, the popular restaurant “bills” is always serving fresh and light delights. Be sure to not miss it during your next visit to Japan. 

The Shichirigahama restaurant opened in 2008 as the first overseas branch of the bills chain. To this day, there is usually a long line of customers outside its door waiting to enjoy a delicious meal while admiring the beautiful Shonan seaside scenery.

When dining at bills, you’ll be treated to a panoramic view of the coast through the restaurant’s large windows, though you’ll get an even better view from the extremely popular terrace. The best time to visit bills Shichirigahama is in the morning when you can enjoy a superb view and a delicious breakfast while soaking in the warm glow of the morning sun over the sea.
In addition to the popular "Full Aussie Breakfast – Scrambled Eggs, Toast, Bacon, Fennel Sausage, Roasted Tomatoes, and Garlic Mushrooms” or the "Ricotta Pancakes – Fresh Bananas and Honeycomb Butter," the restaurant also serves "bills Vegan Granola – Served with Coconut Yogurt and Fruit Compote" and many other breakfast options. Choose your favorite dish from their extensive menu, sit back, and relish a luxurious breakfast like nothing you’ve experienced before.

Kamakura and Enoshima’s Best Night Photo Spots

The Picturesque Fusion of the Sea and the Setting Sun Will Take Your Breath Away at Yuigahama Beach

Yuigahama is a beach that’s characterized by shallow waters and gentle waves. It has been selected as one of the 88 best beaches in Japan for its excellent water quality, and has also received international certification as a Blue Flag beach. The best time to visit Yuigahama is in the evening when you can stretch out on the sandy beach and enjoy the spectacular sight of the sun sinking into the sea. That being said, Yuigahama is the perfect date spot all throughout the day, from clear mornings when you can see Mt. Fuji in the distance to evenings when the setting sun paints the entire area a fantastical orange color.

Admire Gorgeous Autumn Foliage Even at Night at Hasedera

Hasedera is a temple famous for its wonderful collection of seasonal flowers and trees. It flaunts a wealth of photogenic scenes, such as panoramas of the sea and the cityscape of Kamakura, and the Hydrangea Path (Outlook Path), which is enveloped by around 2,500 hydrangeas during the rainy season.

If you’re visiting Kamakura in autumn, definitely stop by Hasedera to check out the fall foliage light-up. The vivid, fiery leaves illuminated at night are utterly enchanting, forming an otherworldly spectacle when reflected on the carp-filled pond. Even if your itinerary is packed, it’s worth making the time to visit!

A Bewitching Space Full of Light, the Jewels of Shonan Is Ranked as One of Kanto's Top 3 Illuminations

Held in Enoshima every winter, the Jewels of Shonan is a festival of light and color that celebrated its 23rd anniversary in 2022. It combines the beautiful sea, sky, and landmarks of Shonan into a seamless unified spectacle ranked amongst Kanto’s top three illumination shows.

The highlight is the 360-degree “Large Space of Light” illumination, which spreads over a 70-meter diameter with the 60-meter-high Enoshima Sea Candle at its center, making it one of Japan’s biggest light-up displays. Be sure to enter the venue before the show starts, as the entire scene will suddenly be soaked in dazzling light after a countdown. You won’t be able to help but cheer with delight! The Shonan Chandelier, a tunnel adorned by chandeliers made with exquisite Swarovski crystals, will further envelope you in jewels of light dangling from the ceiling.

Kamakura and Enoshima’s Must-See Sightseeing Spots

Gokujrakuji Station and Goryo Shrine: Featured in the Beloved Film "Our Little Sister"

Kamakura is the location of many films, including “Our Little Sister,” directed by the acclaimed Hirokazu Koreeda. Gokurakuji Station, which appeared in the film and numerous other works, is a particularly photogenic spot surrounded by lush greenery and a tranquil ambience. The retro wooden station building has a place within the 100 best train stations in Kanto. 

While you’re here, try and snap a shot of the two-toned yellow and green Enoden train crossing in front of the torii gate of Goryo Shrine!

Komachi Street: A Popular Shopping Street in Kamakura

Komachi Street runs parallel to the iconic Wakamiya Oji street from Kamakura Station to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. Lined with all sorts of shops stretching up its back alleys, including souvenir stores with retro facades and cute cafes, it is always bustling with visitors seeking out photo opportunities.

*In Kamakura City, eating and drinking in crowded places or while walking is prohibited. Please make use of eat-in spaces or stop somewhere to eat.

Enoshima Shrine: A Sacred Spot for Matchmaking

Enoshima Shrine, one of Japan's three great shrines of Benzaiten, is believed to bring blessings in financial fortune, performing arts, and love, and often attracts those seeking divine assistance in finding their ideal partner.

The shrine is also renowned for its hefty list of photogenic flairs, like the Enoshima Benzaiten Nakamise Street, which is lined with inns, restaurants, and souvenir shops; a large vermilion torii gate; the Zuishinmon Gate, modeled after Ryugu Castle; and the “chinowa” grass ring, which is said to rid worshipers of their sins and impurities. 

Recommended Hotels in Kamakura and Enoshima

Enjoy the View of Enoshima at Kamakura Prince Hotel

Kamakura Prince Hotel presents glorious ocean views from all of its rooms! You’ll be able to look over Shichirigahama and Enoshima, and on a clear day, even see Mt. Fuji! It is complete with leisure facilities such as the Shichirigahama Golf Course and an outdoor pool overlooking Sagami Bay and Enoshima (summer only). If you’re longing for a relaxing vacation by the sea, the Kamakura Prince Hotel is where to book! 

Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass: Your Ticket to Exploring Kamakura and Enoshima

Using the Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass, you can tour many of the spots featured in this article efficiently and economically! The pass grants unlimited rides on the Enoshima Electric Railway (Enoden), which runs through the Enoshima and Kamakura areas, along with sections of the Odakyu Line. It also comes with discount round-trip tickets on the Odakyu Line, plus perks at attractions and restaurants in the area.

We hope this article will help you create the ultimate Yokohama and Kamakura itinerary! Along with the spots we selected, there are still countless other scenic gems across Kanagawa Prefecture worth uncovering. So, save this article and use it as a jumping off point into the lesser-known wonders of this photogenic prefecture!


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Kanto Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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