Tokyo in Pics


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

Tokyo in Black and White - Tokyo International Forum

I really wanted to photograph plum blossoms at Yushima Tenjin, I really did.  After the debacle the previous week, I really wanted to see those flowers.  After having breakfast, I rang the shrine and made enquiries.  The answer, as I feared, was that the blossoms still weren’t looking that great.  With all the recent cold weather Tokyo had been having, I shouldn’t have been surprised.  So, another day was lost.  I had put all my eggs into one basket and I didn’t have a backup plan.

You could be forgiven for thinking you are inside a ship

Where to go?  What to do?  I didn’t know.  I live in this amazing city which is rightly considered to be a mecca for photography, so I shouldn’t have any trouble thinking of a place to go, right?  But I couldn’t think of one place.  After much thought, I realized I wanted to do some iconic place in Tokyo, preferably with architecture, design, that sort of thing – and hopefully something with space.  Something I don’t usually do.  So, after getting the basic idea in my head, I started looking for options.  Eventually, Tokyo International Forum came to mind.

Lots of curves inside Tokyo International Forum

Tokyo International Forum is a multi-purpose concert/exhibition hall in central Tokyo.  Designed by the architect Rafael Viñoly, it was completed in 1996 and opened in 1997.  Located very near Yurakucho station, the building is an immense glass edifice 207 meters long and 32 meters wide; eleven stories high and filled with curves, curves and more curves.  From the outside it is very much boat-shaped.  It is an amazing place for photography.

When I went I wished that I had a wider lens, because to fit as much of the place into one pictures as possible, the wide end of my 16-155mm is just too narrow for a place like that!  The only option I had was to do panoramas, but without a tripod that really didn’t turn out too well.  It was really making me think that I had a lens like the Fujifilm XF 10-24mm F4 which would have given me a lot of options.

International Forum has a nice spacey feel to it.  It has eight halls, thirty-one conference rooms, a lounge, a restaurant and the Mitsuo Aida museum.  Inside has an enormous lobby area that allows you to shoot up at the roof.  You can get to the upper floors by taking the walkway which winds around the wall.  The uppers levels all offer great vantage points to shoot from too.

I can’t wait to go back again.  With the roof and walls being made of glass, everything is natural light. Tokyo International Forum is a very beautiful piece of architecture.  I’ve never photographed there at night, so that is now on my list of things to do.  Hopefully when go again, I’ll own a lens that is a little wider to get more into my shots.

If you are looking for a great building to photograph, I highly recommend Tokyo International Forum.  Even for a place to walk around, it is great especially when the flea market it on.  You can see the building’s website here.  And as always, any comments can be left below and are appreciated!

A statue of Ota Dokan stands guard in the forum

Tokyo International Forum even extends underground