Social media has become part of most people's daily lives, and whilst there's a little bit of a love-hate relationship with it for many, there's no doubt that it provides some great photographic inspiration for travel destinations.

This guide covers ten of the most popular spots you'll often see shared on Instagram - they make for some great travel snaps!

Tokyu Plaza Omotesando, Tokyo

Providing the ultimate "fun house in the city" atmosphere, Tokyu Plaza Omotesando's wall of mirrors has become an Instagram icon in recent years. Interestingly, the kaleidoscopic design was intended to reflect the colors and shades of pedestrians passing by in homage to the fashion industry. It seems fitting for the Omotesando and Harajuku areas which are full of incredible fashions, from high-end luxury apparel to ultra-cool street trends.

A kaleidoscopic delight!
A kaleidoscopic delight! (Photo: Photo by Daryan Shamkhali on Unsplash)

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kyoto

The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is on many Kyoto itineraries, with folks vying for the perfect "green and serene" Insta snap. Because of this, getting there early is a must before the crowds roll in - but no need to stress if you're not bothered by people in your shot (or you're a photoshop whiz!).

Green and serene - if you can time it right!
Green and serene - if you can time it right! (Photo: Photo by Walter Mario Stein on Unsplash)

Shibuya Scramble, Tokyo

Bright neon lights, towering buildings, and the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world come together at Shibuya Scramble, and it's a great place to get a few snaps of the hustle and bustle that many people associate Japan with. If you'd like to watch what's happening at the Scramble from above, the Shibuya Scramble Starbucks allows you to do just that.

Neon signs, towering buildings, pedestrians and vehicle traffic = sensory overload (in a fun way!)
Neon signs, towering buildings, pedestrians and vehicle traffic = sensory overload (in a fun way!) (Photo: Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash)

Tsunoshima Bridge, Yamaguchi

Is island life more your style? Yamaguchi's Tsunoshima Bridge was opened back in 2000, and it connects Tsunoshima Island with the Honshu mainland. The bridge itself has become a photographer's delight, with the panoramic island views, azure waters, and tropical foliage ensuring picture-perfect snaps. An added bonus: it's not too far away from other stunning photo locations like Motonosumi Inari Shrine.

Blue skies, blue waters = bliss
Blue skies, blue waters = bliss (Photo: Photo by Samuel Berner on Unsplash)

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto

Probably the most iconic Instagram shot in Japan is of the torii gates at Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Shrine. The ease of getting there combined with the fact that visitors can stop by at any time of day or night also adds to its popularity. Be sure to keep an eye out for the cats of Fushimi Inari if you visit - they're quite photogenic themselves!

The iconic torii gates at Fushimi Inari
The iconic torii gates at Fushimi Inari (Photo: Photo by Chantal Lim on Unsplash)

Chureito Pagoda, Yamanashi

Yamanashi's Chureito Pagoda offers some absolutely phenomenal views of Mount Fuji if you can time your visit right, but it's not without effort - it takes almost 400 steps to reach it. It's well worth the trek though, particularly during spring when the surrounding cherry blossoms are in bloom, and in autumn when the leaves are changing.

Reaching Chureito Pagoda isn't without effort, but the reward is in the view
Reaching Chureito Pagoda isn't without effort, but the reward is in the view (Photo: Photo by Filiz Elaerts on Unsplash)

Hitachi Seaside Park, Ibaraki

Looking every bit the perfect screensaver background, Ibaraki's Hitachi Seaside Park is most famous for its springtime nemophila (baby blue eyes) and its kochia, which start out green in late summer and turn to a deep red by mid-autumn. There's something to enjoy at the park almost year-round, though - check the blooming calendar before your visit to see what's in season.

Hitachi Seaside Park manages to look like a screensaver background
Hitachi Seaside Park manages to look like a screensaver background (Photo: shin--k/CC By SA 2.0)

Nezu Shrine, Tokyo

Flowers have the power to elevate the beauty of a destination, and that's certainly the case with Tokyo's Nezu Shrine. One of the most popular times of year to visit here is when the azaleas are in bloom, which is typically around the mid-April period. Approximately 3000 bushes adorn the grounds comprising of around 100 varieties, ensuring an incredible visual spectacle.

Blanketed in blooms
Blanketed in blooms (Photo: Susann Schuster on Unsplash)

Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto

It's hard to go past a building decked out in gold as an extremely photogenic spot, and Kinkaku-ji (also known as the Golden Pavilion) delivers on the bling factor. It's one of Kyoto's most visited attractions, and to learn more about its history be sure to check out this great Japan Travel article.

All that glitters is gold
All that glitters is gold (Photo: Shino on Unsplash / Unsplash)

Shirakawago, Gifu

Shirakawago is every bit the winter wonderland during the colder months, but it's one of those destinations that manages to ooze charm no matter the season. During summer the fresh greens of newly planted rice look ultra-vibrant, and in spring and autumn you'll find colorful flowers dotting the area.

A real winter wonderland - but Shirakawago is beautiful year round
A real winter wonderland - but Shirakawago is beautiful year round (Photo: Yoshiyuki Ito / CC BY-SA 3.0)