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Animals in Korean

Thu, 2020-01-23 09:00

Dogs, cats, snakes, horses, what do all these words have in common? They’re all animals! It’s fun to talk about your favorite wildlife when you learn Korean. So let’s boost our vocabulary and learn the words for all the different creatures in the Korean language.

We’ve made it easy by putting together a list and some examples. So let’s start the lesson!

Animal in Korean

To start out, we should know that the word for animals in Korea is 동물 (dongmul)

동물 (dongmul)


While there are a lot of wild animals in South Korea, you’ll probably tend to see most of them at the 동물원 (dongmulwon). Any idea what that is? It’s a place where you’ll see a lot of Korean animals in one place.

동물원 (dongmulwon)


Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at some lists of animals. Keep in mind that these are very general lists, and many animals could be included in multiple lists. We’re just keeping it simple.

Pets in Korean

개 (gae) = dog

강아지 (gangaji) = dog

고양이 (goyangi) = cat

새 (sae) = bird

물고기 (mulgogi) = fish

Farm Animals

말 (mal) = horse

조랑말 (jorangmal) = pony

소 (so) = cow

쥐 (jwi) = mouse

돼지 (dwaeji) = pig

염소 (yeomso) = goat

양 (yang) = sheep

나비 (nabi) = butterfly

닭 (dak) = chicken

게 (ge) = crab

바닷가재 (badatgajae) = lobster

칠면조 (chilmyeonjo) = turkey

Forest Animals

늑대 (neukdae) = wolf

사슴 (saseum) = deer

황소 (hwangso) = ox

코뿔소 (koppulso) = rhinoceros

너구리 (neoguri) = raccoon

판다 (panda) = panda

하마 (hama) = hippo

토끼 (tokki) = rabbit

다람쥐 (daramjwi) = squirrel

곰 (gom) = bear

여우 (yeou) = fox

산토끼 (santokki) = hare

Aquatic Animals

고래 (gorae) = whale

거북이 (geobuki) = turtle

악어 (ageo) = crocodile

개구리 (gaeguri) = frog

물개 (mulgae) = otter

돌고래 (dolgorae) = dolphin

상어 (sangeo) = shark

오징어 (ojingeo) = squid

문어 (muneo) = octopus

오소리 (osori) = badger

잉어 (ingeo) = carp

고등어 (godeungeo) = mackerel

장어 (jangeo) = eel

가오리 (gaori) = stingray


앵무새 (aengmusae) = parrot

까치 (kkaji) = magpie

참새 (chamsae) = sparrow

까마귀 (kkamagwi) = crow

공작 (gongjak) = peacock

비둘기 (bidulgi) = dove

팽귄 (paenggwin) = penguin

타조 (tajo) = ostrich

두루미 (durumi) = crane

백조 (baekjo) = swan

독수리 (doksuri) = eagle

갈매기 (galmaegi) = gull

오리 (ori) = duck

거위 (geowi) = goose

매 (mae) = hawk

Various Wild Animals

사자 (saja) = lion

호랑이 (horangi) = tiger

고릴라 (gorilla) = gorilla

원숭이 (wonsungi) = monkey

침팬지 (chimpaenji) = chimpanzee

오랑우탄 (orangutan) = orangutan

얼룩말 (eollukmal) = zebra

표범 (pyobeom) = leopard

치타 (chita) = cheetah

코끼리 (kokkiri) = elephant

기린 (girin) = giraffe

뱀 (baem) = snake

낙타 (nakta) = camel

하이에나 (haiena) = hyena

영양 (yeongyang) = antelope

코알라 (koalla) = koala

도마뱀 (domabaem) = lizard

들소 (deulso) = bison

물소 (mulso) = water buffalo

캥거루 (kaengeoru) = kangaroo

개미 (gaemi) = ant

달팽이 (dalpaengi) = snail

모기 (mogi) = mosquito

북극곰 (bukgeukgom) = polar bear

National Animal of South Korea

Do you know what the South Korean National animal happens to be? It’s 호랑이 (horangi), tiger! The Siberian tiger is in many mythical stories in Korean culture, and some even think the Korean peninsula resembles a tiger.

The national bird of South Korea is the 까치 (kkaji), Asian magpie.

Korean Sample Sentences

We didn’t forget the simple Korean sentences to help you start some conversations! These are in standard Korean and are considered polite, you can use them in most situations.

제일 좋아하는 동물은 뭐예요? → What is your favorite animal?

(jeil joahaneun dongmureun mwoyeyo?)

내 제일 좋아하는 동물은 판다야. → My favorite animal is panda.

(nae jeil joahaneun dongmureun pandaya.)

그 동물원에서 북극곰도 있던데. → That zoo has polar bears as well.

(geu dongmulwoneseo bukgeukgomdo itdeonde.)

So today you've learned a lot of different wildlife vocabulary in Korean! Was there one we forgot but you'd like to know? Let us know and we'll add it to the list.

What's your favorite animal? Whether it's a cat, dog, horse, mouse, chicken, or even a snake, see if you can make a Korean sentence with it. Leave it in the comments below and we'll check your Korean!

The post Animals in Korean appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

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Luminar 4: Is It Worth It?

Sat, 2020-01-18 17:40

There are a lot of programs and plugins out there that many swear by or even swear at. When Adobe moved to the subscription model, there were people swearing up a storm. Some moved on to free software like Gimp others looked for an equally powerful replacement. The trouble is that up until now there has not really been a decent editor that could do all the things that Lightroom can do and still be affordable.

Enter Luminar 4. I have been a fan of Skylum products since they were still called Macphun and you have no doubt recently read my glowing review of their Flex plugin. In a slightly perplexing move, they recently released Luminar 4 and more recently the update 4.1 that in all honesty leaves previous iterations of Luminar in the dust. So the big question is… is it worth it? That is difficult for me to answer but it will have to depend on what you are looking for and how impressed you are with the following features.

What’s New?

Any app these days from your phone to your computer can sharpen, increase saturation, adjust the contrast, and crop. So for something to really rock the photography world it has to do much much more. Thankfully, Skylum was up to the task and knocked it out of the park with this update.

They are getting ever closer to high-grade editing with a single click and still giving you control to add in your own artistic touches. With the addition of the features below, Luminar 4 is quickly becoming one of the better photo editing tools out there.

Sky Replacement

This has been the prick of the trade for some time. Many instagrammers and landscape photographers will be reluctant to admit this but it is true. Many of those stunning landscapes that you have see where the sky almost seems too good to be true, probably isn’t. However, the reason that you don’t see me doing it is because it is hard to do in photoshop. Well, hard to do right. By that I mean relighting the scene, accounting for temperature and whatnot. Skylum recently came out with this feature that does a pretty darn good job of it.

It is almost too good in some cases as it caused quite a number of posts on Skylum’s facebook page. Say what you will, this is a lot better than their sunrays filter and a lot more useful. It saved a few of my shots from Tokyo when the skies turned grey.

AI Skin Enhancer and Portrait Enhancer

The overall look and feel of Luminar has changed and I will get to that in a bit. However, one of the sections that is now available is the new portrait section which offers a number of features directly designed to help make stunning portraits. I am not that kind of photographer but I did dabble with the features a bit and they are pretty impressive. Skylum has added cutting-edge features to make your portraits look amazing. I am not just throwing that “cutting-edge” phrase around either. There really is a ton of technology added to these features.

What they added is the ability to make quality “magazine-style” portraits without spending a lot of time airbrushing skin and whatnot. The results are really good if you don’t go overboard with the adjustments.

New Layout and Interface adds an AI Skin enhancer which can detect skin even on other parts of the body and effortlessly remove and blemishes or “defects” as they call it. However, it is the Portrait Enhancer tool that really brings this all together.

They have added so many great features, it might make me want to start photographing people more. The main thing that I love is that even I can get a nice looking image of a person… Now I just have to actually find people to photograph. I had to use the stock image from the affiliate area to show how this tool works.

AI Structure

I almost wrote this one off as I normally use the details enhancer for landscapes. However, while the details enhancer is still there, the AI Structure tool works really well. You may not see the difference right away but it is there. What the tool does is it uses the AI technology to find the areas the need a boost and then adds structure to only those areas. The most common issue that people have is when you are wanting to add structure and it adds that same structure to a human face.

For landscapes, this supposedly can detect water and other areas so that you can add more structure to the sky and but not have to deal with crunchy looking water. I tested this out with the image set above. You can see that it added more definition to the sky but added very little structure to the water. I cranked it way up in this case and overall it did what they said.

Everything Else

All of the updates that were introduced with Luminar 3 and flex are still there. You have the sunrays filter and the smart contrast as well as the Accent AI and the AI Sky Enhancer. Not to mention that you still have the ability to use the program as a plugin or as a standalone Digital Asset Manager (DAM).

This is shaping up to be a fairly robust SINGLE PURCHASE photo editor. With the release of Luminar 4.1, Skylum has also addressed a lot of the technical issues. However, people are still complaining about performance issues.


I only have a few issues with Luminar 4 and to be honest maybe I am being a little nitpicky. The first one is the removal of the custom workspaces. For me, this was a great feature to have as I have a certain style and I want to use my most frequently used tools right away. This also leads me to my more pressing issue.

Then there is the user interface… and well… it takes some getting used to. Essentially, they categorized the tools into different sets and tabs. This gets a little confusing because everything was switched around and recategorized. The sky replacement tool is in the “creative tab” but that would work better in the Landscape Enhancements area which is in the “Essentials” tab. The graduated filter is in the “Professional” tab but that to me is an essential tool. The golden hour tool is located in the Landscape Enhancer menu but the Sunrays tool is located in the Creative Tab.

I can sort of understand the logic in some cases, as the sky replacement tool and the sunrays tool are adding in new elements but they are also primarily used to “enhance” landscapes. The main issue is just that I now have to hunt around for the tool that I need and there is no clear indication of where to find them.

The bottom line here is that Luminar 4 is a great tool. It might not be the Lightroom replacement that people are looking for but it is a very powerful photo editor. I personally use it now for almost every single one of my shots. It is what gives the images a little more power in my opinion. It goes beyond just over-saturating them and takes them into a higher level in some cases.

If you are looking to test out Luminar for or pick it up then click my affiliate link button below to head on over to their site.

Click here to buy Luminar 4

The post Luminar 4: Is It Worth It? appeared first on The Sajin.


Korean Particles for Everyday Use

Thu, 2020-01-16 09:00

You may be new to the concept, but particles are a part of Korean that are used every day. In fact, these Korean particles are found in nearly every sentence you’ll hear, if not all!

But it’s important to learn how to use them correctly. We’ll cover Korean particles for everyday use that you should learn to become a pro Korean speaker.

~은/는 (Subject/Topic)

Let’s begin by going over the most basic (but also tricky) particles to learn, which are ~은/는 and ~이/가.

Why are these so tricky? Both of them are used to indicate the subject in the sentence, making them almost the same in use, which can cause confusion. When creating sentences you should be careful which one you’ll use, unless it doesn’t matter in that particular sentence. With practice you’ll get the hang of them!

The ~은/는 particles are also used to mark the topic in the sentence, which is where the meaning becomes different from ~이/가. Lastly, you can use when the last syllable ends in a consonant and when it ends in a vowel. Here are some examples of that use of ~은/는:

나 → 

선생님 → 선생님

One of the first ways to understand the difference between ~은/는 and ~이/가 is that with ~은/는 the main point of the sentence, or topic, is emphasized. It has this same function when it’s on its own in a sentence and also when it’s paired up with ~이/가.

Another clear distinction between the two is that ~은/는 can be used to state a general fact. However, ~이/가 cannot be used this way.

~이/가 (Subject)

As mentioned above, in many cases you can use the subject particles ~이/가 and ~은/는 interchangeably. With time you’ll learn to differentiate between the two just by noticing how each sentence sounds, but it’s still good to focus on how they are different.

Here’s one simple trick to explain the difference between ~는/은 and ~이/가:

  • While you can use ~는/은 to describe someone’s profession or nationality and the like or describe someone or yourself with an adjective, you cannot use ~이/가 to do the same. Think of ~는/은 as the subject markers to use with descriptive sentences.
  • Similarly, when you want to describe that you or someone else will do something, it’s better to use ~이/가 rather than ~는/은. So think of ~이/가 as the subject markers to use with actions.

But remember, this isn’t always the case. It’ll become easier with practice so check out these examples and see if you can recognize the difference.

Example Sentences using ~은/는 and ~이/가:

나는 학생이에요 → I am a student

(naneun haksaengieyo)

나는 행복해요 → I am happy

(naneun haengbokhaeyo)

우리 선생님은 미국인이에요 → Our teacher is American

(uri seonsaengnimeun migukinieyo)

내가 주문을 할게요 → I will place the order

(naega jumuneul halgeyo)

~을/를 (Object)

This particle is used to indicate the object in the sentence. When the last syllable ends in a consonant, you use 을, and when it ends in a vowel you should use 를.

Example sentences using ~을/를:

나는 책을 읽었어요 → I read a book

(naneun chaekeul ilgeosseoyo)

바나나를 먹어요! → Eat a banana!

(bananareul meogoyo!)

Notice the subject particles in these examples? Multiple types of particles often come into play in a single sentence.

~에 (Time/Location)

This particle indicates both time and location. For location, it can express where you are or were at, or where you are going, or where something is. And for time, it can express the time or day something happens.

Example Sentences Using ~에:

저는 학교에 있어요 → I am at school

(jeoneun haggyoe isseoyo)

우리 월요일에 부산에 갈거에요 → We will go to Busan on Monday

(uri woryoire busane galgeoeyo)

Something you’ll need to get used to is understanding the use of particles (and also different vocabulary) based on the context of the sentence. In the above sentence, you can recognize the two separate uses of 에 based on the words it’s used with, 월요일 (Monday) and 부산 (Busan).

~에서 (Location)

Although ~에서 also indicates location, its use is quite different from ~에. When you use ~에서, you are stressing the location you are doing or did something in, excluding when the verb of the sentence is 있다, in which case is used.

Example Sentences Using ~에서:

카페에서 숙제를 했어요 → I did my homework in the cafe

(khapheeseo sukjereul haesseoyo)

You can also take advantage of ~에서 when describing how something is like somewhere. For example:

물가는 노르웨이에서 높아요 → Prices are high in Norway

(mulganeun noreuweieseo nophayo)

~에서 can also be used to express “from”. For example:

저는 인도네시아에서 왔어요 → I am from Indonesia

(jeoneun indonesiaeseo wasseoyo)

Note the nuance of how the location is stressed when using 에서.

Lastly, for 여기/거기/저기, only attach ~서.

~께/에게/한테 (To give someone something)

These forms all indicate you are giving someone something.

Example Sentence Using 한테:

오빠한테 돈을 빌렸어 → I lent money to my big brother

(oppahante doneul billyeosseo)

The difference between each one is simply their level of politeness. is of honorific level, 에게 is formal polite, and 한테 is informal and casual.

~께서/에서/한테서 (To receive something from someone)

These markers possess the same level of politeness as their counterparts above. Technically you do not need the ~서 attached to the end to make the meaning clear, but it’s good to keep for differentiation when you’re still a new learner of Korean.

~도 (Also)

~도 indicates an additive, in the form of “too” and “also”. You can drop ~는/은 or other particles when using ~도.

Example Sentences Using ~도:

나도 빅뱅을 좋아해요 → I like Big Bang, too

(nado bikbaengeul johahaeyo)

나도 연세어학당을 다녀요 → I also attend Yonsei Korean Language Institute

(nado yeonseeohakdangeul danyeoyo)

나도 영국사람이에요 → I am also from England

(nado yeongguksaramieyo)

~으로/로 (Direction and multiple other meanings)

~으로/로 is a multi functional particle. For starters, you can use it to express the location where something is happening at, making its meaning similar to ~에. For example:

우유를 슈퍼로 사러 가려고 해요 → I intend to go to the supermarket to buy milk

(ujureul syupeoro sareo garyeogo haeyo)

You can also use it to express the tool, method, language and so on that something is being done in. For example:

기차로 이탈리아에 갈거에요 → I will go to Italy by train

(gicharo italliae galgeoeoyo)

수채화로 그림을 그렸어요 → I painted using watercolors

(suchaehwaro geurimeul geuryeosseoyo)

그사람한테 한국말로 대답을 줬어요 → I answered to that person in Korean

(geu saramhante hangukmallo daedabeul jwosseoyo)

You can even use this particle to express what you ate for a specific meal. For example:

맨날 아침식사로 죽을 먹어요 → I eat porridge for breakfast every morning

(maennal achimsiksaro jukeul meokeoyo)

By attaching ~(으)로 to you will create the meaning “the direction of_”. You can attach with nouns and also some direction words. For example:

그쪽으로 → that way


남쪽으로 → toward south


사람쪽으로 → toward people


~부터 (Start)

The most common use for ~부터 is to indicate when something starts.

Example Sentences using ~부터:

저는 지난달부터 한국어를 배웠어요 → I started learning Korean last month

(jeoneun jinandalbutheo hangukeoreul baewosseoyo)

~부터 can also be used in a similar fashion to ~에서 where the difference is more so in the nuance of the sentence rather than the meaning. It is usually reserved for sentences where you would include ~까지 in its structure. For example:

집부터 학교까지 걸어 다녀요 → I walk from home to school.

(jibbutheo haggyokkaji georeo danyeoyo)

In fact, it is common to combine ~부터 with ~까지 where ~부터 indicates the starting point and ~까지 the end. For example:

기말고사는 내일부터 다음주말까지 있을거에요 → Our final exams will start tomorrow and last until the end of next week

(gimalgosaneun naeilbutheo daeumjumalkkaji isseulgeoeyo)

Lastly, you can attach the word 처음, which means “first”, to ~부터 to express “from the start”. For example:

영어를 배우기가 처음부터 어려웠어요 → Learning English was difficult from the start

(yeongeoreul baeugiga cheoeumbutheo eoryeowosseoyo)

~까지 (Until)

~까지 typically means “end”, more specifically “until” and it works for both time and place. You can also use it to mean “to”, often used together with ~에서, although the use of ~에서 isn’t always necessary and ~까지 on its own will remain clear in its meaning.

Example Sentences Using ~까지:

집에서 여기까지 걸어서 왔어요 → I walked until here from home

(jibeseo yeogikkaji georeoseo wasseoyo)

시혐결과를 내일까지 기다려야 해요 → I have to wait until tomorrow for the exam results

(sihyeomgyeolgwareul naeilkkaji gidaryeoyahaeyo)

우리는 8일부터 12일까지 부산에 있을거에요 → We will be in Busan from the 8th until the 12th

(urineun 8ilbutheo 12ilkkaji busane isseulgeoeyo)

If you wish to combine ~까지 with the previously mentioned 처음부터 to express “from start to finish”, the word to attach to ~까지 becomes 끝, which means “end”. For example:

하루안에 그 책을 처음부터 끝까지 읽었어요 → I read that book from start to finish in one day

(haruane geu chaekeul cheoeumbutheo kkeutkkaji ilgeosseoyo)

~들 (Plural)

The marker indicates plural. However, it is solely used as a marker when talking about people (it’d be weird to use it with a noun like a fruit). In fact, apart from people, it is not that common to use a plural form and isn’t totally necessary to use with people, either. In the cases you would want to indicate plural, check out the examples.

Example Sentences Using ~들:

오늘 친구들을 만나요 → Today I will meet with my friends

(onweul chingudeureul mannayo)

그들은 다른 나라에서 살아요 → They live in another country

(geudeureun dareun naraeseo sarayo)

It is possible to add the possessive form, which we will introduce to you soon.

~만 (Only)

This marker is used to express the word “only” and it is attached to nouns.

Example Sentences Using ~만:

어제 맥주만 마셨어요 → I only drank beer yesterday

(eoje maekjuman masyeosseoyo)

그는 거짓말만 해요 → He only says lies

(geuneun geojitmalman haeyo)

하루종일 공부만 했어요 → I did nothing but study all day

(harujongil gongbuman haesseoyo)

~의 (Possessive)

Fairly straightforward, the ~의 particle indicates possession. It is attached to the person who possesses the object, similarly to ‘s in English.

Example Sentences Using ~의:

선생님의 차 → the teacher’s car

(seonsaengnime cha)

그 사람의 여자친구 → that person’s girlfriend

(geu sarame yeojachingu)

나의 집 → my home/my house

(nae jib)

In the case of “my”, specifically when using the more casual 나, you can shorten from 나의 to 내. Like this:

내 고양이 → my cat

(nae goyangi)

~과/와 (and/with/as with)

You use these particles to indicate “and” or “with”. ~과 is used after a consonant and ~와 is used after a vowel.

Example Sentences Using ~과/와:

아침식사로 죽과 커피를 먹었어요 (achimshiksaro jukgwa kheophireul meogeosseoyo) → I ate porridge and coffee for breakfast

오늘 남자친구와 영화를 보러 가요 (oneul namjachinguwa yeonghwareul boreo gayo) → Today I will go see a movie with my boyfriend

~이랑/랑 (and/with/as with)

This particle is nearly identical in use with ~과/와. You should attach ~이랑 (irang) with a syllable ending in a consonant and ~랑 (rang) with one ending in a vowel. The main difference between these and ~과/와 is that ~이랑/랑 is more casual to use and is also more common to hear spoken than to see in text.

~하고 (and/with/as with)

~하고 (hago) is another particle meaning “and” and “with”. It can be used with both vowels and consonants.

~고 (connective)

The ~고 particle is used to connect two actions, happening one after another, into one sentence, attached either to an action verb or a descriptive verb.

Example Sentences Using ~고:

샤워하고 잠을 잘거에요 (shawohago jameul jalgeoeyo) → I will take a shower and then go sleep

You can also use this particle to connect two adjectives describing the same topic or two sentences describing a similar topic into one sentence. For example:

그 사람이 똑똑하고 부지런한 학생이에요 (geu sarami ttokttokhago bujireonhan haksaengieyo) → That person is a smart and diligent student

And yes, you can also use the ~고 particle together with the past tense!

Phew! That was quite the lesson, don't you think? How many of these particles did you already know and which were brand new to you? Try to make some of your own sentences in the comments and we'll check them for you. We'd love to see them!

The post Korean Particles for Everyday Use appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

Tokyo Travel Photography Guide

Mon, 2020-01-13 08:57

If you have read my previous articles about my last trip to Tokyo then you might be wondering about where the best places to go are. I am not sure why it took me this long to actually go through all of the locations that I shot that trip. I think mostly because there are probably better people out there that can do it with a lot more skill and finesse. At any rate, here are my recommendations.

Where To Stay

First, let’s get this out of the way. Tokyo is HUGE! Tourist areas are overpriced for hostels and hotels. Many of my searches just ended up confusing and leading me to over-priced capsule hotels geared towards smelly backpackers. So I reached out to famed travel photographer Elia Locardi and he offered some great advice to stay around the Minato City area.

I soon found a reasonable hotel a short walk from Ueno Station and where the train drops you off from Narita Airport. I found this area to be perfect for a number of reasons. The first being that Ueno station is a major station in Tokyo and is centrally located. So it is only a few stops from many of the major sites. Also there was a Yodobashi Camera across the street from Ueno Station. I could pick up anything that I needed on my way out too.

For me, this was a good location as I don’t like lugging around my bags long distances. I did that too many times when starting out. I just as soon get to my lodging as fast as possible and then get ready to shoot. I stayed at the Hotel Centurion, which was your typical Japanese business hotel. It was not too expensive, but you can certainly find cheaper hotels or hostels on sites like

The hotel was a short walk from Ueno Station, Ueno Park and several subway lines. This meant getting around was a simple process. I prefer this to areas that might be cheaper but are far from the places that you intend to photograph. Also it was a little off the tourist map in some ways. So cheap food and quiet places were easy to find.

My Locations

The main purpose of this trip was to really update my travel portfolio. I had not been to Tokyo in many years and when I did I was extremely sick. We also didn’t really hit Tokyo as much as I would have liked. So this trip was a way to get the shots, albeit touristy ones, that I missed many years ago. I was not going to waste my time trying to find “hidden gems” as I really didn’t have much time to spare. I wanted to get a lot of the shots that people are familiar with and add my style to them.

Seonso-Ji Temple

This was top on the list as I saw so many wonderful shots of this temple over the years. I got up at 4 am and headed out to the subway station. Keep in mind that the Tokyo subway system starts running at 5 am and it will take a while to get to you. On this day, it did not really matter as it was rainy and there was no sun to be seen. I later swapped out the skies using luminar 4, which helped make a better looking image all around.

Tip: Get there early or really late unless you want to be stuck in the crowds. The temple is open 24 hours a day so for me, sunrise was the best. There were hardly any people there, only a few tourists and the weirdos twerking in the garden…

Shibuya Scramble

This was more of a tourist stop for me. The last time I was here I was on a large dose of some random allergy medication. Waking up on a subway train surrounded by cosplayers and exiting into the madness that is Shibuya pretty much melted my brain. So this time around, I wanted to have a better experience. During my time there, the weather was still acting up a bit but sadly it wasn’t raining enough to get out the umbrellas. It was just a hazy grey mass of meh. So I did what I could to make the most out of the situation.

I went to the infamous starbucks, got an iced coffee and fought the influencers and Rugby players for a spot overlooking the street. I then took some time lapse shots. I checked out a few locations to find the best angle. Sadly, other than the starbucks location, I really didn’t find a good one.

Tip: Head there around blue hour and get some long exposure shots. I found that daytime shots are not really that great as the appeal of this area is more the mass of people crossing the street surrounded by the tall buildings and the flashing lights. Blue hour would emphasise the lights and still give you details in the street below.

Odaiba Beach and the Rainbow Bridge

For years I had wanted to get this location and finally check it off my shot list. Thanks to a few helpful recommendations and Elia’s video, I managed to find a great spot. Thanks to my lack of sleep and poor planning, I also missed my stop and also the amazing sunset. However, I worked with what I had.

The Rainbow Bridge at blue hour was the shot that I was going for anyway but the sunset that night was absolutely amazing (as I saw from the train). The reason why I suggest this shot at night is for not only the bridges lights but also the yakatabune boats that light up as well.

Odaiba beach is a great place to start and probably one of the most common places to photograph from. There is also a replica Statue of Liberty there as well. The biggest issue that you are going to run into are the crowds and the islands. However, at night they sort of blend into the darkness a bit.

Tip: If you want to get an unobstructed view or rather less of one, walk around to Dai-San Daiba which is the little island visible from the beach. It will take you some time to walk out there but it is a popular spot. I was not a fan of the angle that I saw from google maps, so I stayed on the beach.

Gundam Robot Statue

Ever since I first visited Japan, I was fascinated with gundam robots. I am not into anime or anything but I just loved the detail and variety. I actually build them from time to time because the process is somewhat therapeutic to me. At any rate, getting a chance to see a life-sized one blew my mind. It is also quite close to the Rainbow Bridge and it lights up at night. So you can shoot it after the bridge.

Tip: There are a few times that the robot will move and change colours. Check online and try and time your arrival for the last show so it will be dark enough to catch the lights and the movement.

Nezu Shrine

If you follow my work then you know that I love temples and shrines. This time around I wanted to really see something new and the Nezu Shrine was recommended. It has a large number of tori gates which line a path along the edge of the grounds and that is a shot that I have been wanting to get for a while. It’s not quite as big as the ones in Kyoto but it was a great spot to spend the morning.

Tip: Keep in mind that this is not a tourist attraction and does not exist for your photographic needs. Be quiet and polite. I was quite disgusted seeing the twerking couple at the Senso-ji Temple. Places like this are smaller but still deserve your respect.

The Imperial Palace

This is a wonderful site but sadly it was closed when I went. However, I was still able to photograph the Seimon Stone Bridge there. The front grounds surrounding the palace are also always open and that is a plus. However, do check the times before heading over there. There is a ton to see surrounding the palace as well. If I get a chance to go back I will certainly spend more time in that area.

This is also a tourist spot and high on the influencer hit list. So it does get quite busy. It was interesting to see the influencers/wanna-be influencers work the site. At any rate, they can be an indication of where or where not to go at these locations.

Tip: There are swans in the waters surrounding the palace. Timing the shot right so that you have a few of them in the frame would add a lot to the image. Like most things, it is a waiting game. This is also a location that I would say looks great during the day time. So you can slot it in after your morning shoots as I did and still come away will decent shots.

Tokyo International Forum

If you are looking for some unique architecture this is one spot that a number of people go to. Overall, I would say that it is nothing special but I did find it interesting. However, to be honest it does not really scream “Tokyo!” for me. It was a nice calm space to get some shots and take a bit of a rest.

Tip: Bic Camera is right next door to this place as well as the subway station. So be sure to pop in if you need anything on your way to your next location. You can walk to the forum from the Imperial Palace too.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

This is a great spot for cityscapes but you have to shoot through a window. It gives a great view of the city in almost every direction. The issue here is that it is also hugely popular, so long lines form and people tend to get a little pushy around sunset and blue hour. Also there is a “no tripod” rule in effect and they will yell at you for using any kind of device to stabilize your camera.

Tip: Bring a scarf or a towel to wrap around your lens to cut the reflections from the glass. If you are trying to get a steady shot, huddle in and over your camera while resting it on the ledge. I found that the security guards only checked on me when I was alone and in clear view. If they tell you to stop, just stop. There is no point in getting thrown out for a shot like this.

Shinjuku Nights

If there is one place that you should check out that clearly says “I am in Tokyo” then it has to be Shinjuku. It gets pretty crazy at night and there are a ton of flashing lights and people. Perfect for those street shots. I had this one image in mind (below) when I went there and really had no idea how to find it. I just walked to the flashing lights and found it… along with a group of other photographers getting the same shot. So not the most original shot but one to check off the list.

Tip: Use a wide-angle lens here. Shooting tight does not give the scale of this area and how flashy the buildings are. Also if you are using a tripod be careful that you don’t trip people here. It gets super crowded at night.

Bonus Tips:

If you are looking for cheap sushi, check out Kura Sushi, they have a number of locations around Tokyo and are the standard rotating sushi place but they are also cheap. Usually about 100 yen per plate and they will have English menus.

Google maps is your friend here. Tokyo is huge and google maps has a lot of information and directions. This may seem obvious but if you travel through Korea, google maps is useless.

If you are staying for a short time, get the 3-day subway pass as part of the ticket package when you get the Skyliner into Tokyo. I am pretty sure that I saved a small fortune with that pass. You can order it online and pick it up at whichever airport you are flying into.

The bottom line here is that Tokyo is a massive city and a great one to check out. This is only a small chunk of mediocre advice but I hope that it is useful. You could easily spend a week or two in Tokyo and still not cover everything. So picking and choosing your locations is a must.

If you have any other tips and advice for Tokyo, please drop a comment below.

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