Shooting a big Confucius in Tokyo

Confucius’s teachings have played a huge role in history. He never visited Japan, but his philosophies influenced its development. Today, there is a memorial to him in Ochanomizu. A statue of him is at Yushima Seido temple. If you are a history lover, you should drop in for some photos.

At some point in history, the statue was the biggest of its type in the world. Now it has fallen in the rankings as far larger ones exist. But it is still impressive.

The Taipei Lions Club donated the statue in 1975. There is so much detail in it. The forehead has lines on it and you can see the embroidery in his robes. It is a work of art.

Yushima Seido gate
One of the gates to the statue.

I recommend visiting it in the afternoon. Why? Because in the morning, the sun will be behind the statue casting it in shadow. Many trees are also behind it, so the area can be pretty dark.

Of course, you could also bracket your shots to counter the shadows. That’s what I did for these photos. I did it handheld, and the final results were satisfactory. One day I might take these pictures again, but with a tripod.

As the temple and statue are in quite a busy area, they draw quite a few visitors. You might even see the occasional artist there on a stool painting it. I’ve also spoken to quite a few Taiwanese tourists there too.

When is the best time to photograph the Confucius statue?

I’d pick autumn as you’ll get some nicely colored leaves behind it. Every other season will look relatively bland.

What lenses are best?

Both wide-angles and zooms have their uses. It depends if you want to focus on details or capture the statue’s entirety.

Where is the Confucius statue in Tokyo?

There are two stations:  

  1. Ochanomizu station: JR Chuo and Sobu Lines. The Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line also serves it.
  2. Shin-Ochanomizu Station: Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line.

See the location here on Google Maps.

Statue details

Height:  4.57 meters

Weight:  1.5 tons

Wrapping up

You’ll get your photos quickly at the statue so you won’t spend much time with it. But if you are looking for things to photograph in Ochanomizu, it should be on your list.  Just remember to pop next door and see the temple too.

Other photo spots near the Confucius statue

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