Tokyo in Pics


A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower - a nicely framed shot

I’ve always admired Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower in Nishi-Shinjuku.  The fifty-storey building houses three schools: Tokyo Mode Gakuen (a fashion vocational school), HAL Tokyo (technology and design school) and Shuto Iko (a medical school).  As the named suggests the tower looks like a cocoon and I think it looks absolutely brilliant. In recent years it is probably one of the most photographed buildings in the city.

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower seen from Shinjuku Station’s West Exit

I didn’t want to publish a typical shot though.  Something special was needed. Nishi-Shinjuku is filled with so skyscrapers that finding an interesting location from where to photograph can be difficult. I ended up finding my inspiration on Flickr.  

Whose shot did I see?  I honestly don’t remember,  but I will be forever grateful to that person.  Their shot was taken from from just outside JR Shinjuku’s west exit.  The west exit has a ramp that spirals down from the upper road to the lower one that enters the station area and it frames Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, along with some other buildings.  It looks beautiful, especially in the afternoon with a nice sunset behind it. There are two problems with the area though.

The first one is that the ramp is really wide, and you’ll need a wide-angle lens to get the whole area in your picture.  For my shot, I used the Fujifilm 10-24 mm. Of course you can shoot with longer lenses, but that will limit how much of the ramp you can get in your picture, unless you decide to stitch several photos together in Lightroom or Photoshop.

The other problem is the traffic.  Being Shinjuku station, there are so many cars, buses, taxis and delivery vehicles coming to the station and many of them will park in the rotary area or at least pass through, they will be in your shot.  If you are looking for a car-free picture, you will just have to be patient on occasion and wait for them to clear the area.

That is pretty much it.  However, I have to admit I’ve never taken the picture in the early morning, which I imagine should have some good potential.  Another idea, for either morning or night, is to use a tripod for a long exposure which would look very impressive. The only problem with a tripod is that both police and station security often patrol the area and as it is a thoroughfare, they might ask you to pack up and move on as they do in other areas there.  But I plan to try that at a later date (or maybe I could just ask them if tripods are okay the next time I’m near the station?).

The black and white version of the same shot above

For this picture I did two edits, one colour and the other black and white.  If you prefer one over the other, please let me know by leaving a note in the comment section below.  And if you need to know where I took the picture from, you can see it here in this map:

Gear used for the shot in this article:

Camera - Fujifilm X-T2

Lens - Fujifilm XF 10-24 mm f/4 R OIS