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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.

artist painting Tokyo Confucius statue

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.  

Confucius statue with autumn leaves

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 real work of art.


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. 

statue feet and robe

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.

Yushima Seido Confucius statue

When is the best time to photograph it?

I’d pick autumn as you’ll get some nicely colored leaves behind it.  The temple also looks great at that time of year. Every other season will look relatively bland.

Gate to Yushima Seido
One of Yushima Seido’s gates.

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.

Statue details

  • Height:  4.57 meters
  • Weight:  1.5 tons
Confucius statue at Yushima Seido

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.

Here is a map:

Wrapping up

You’ll get your photos quickly at the statue so you won’t spend much time with it.  But you could put it on your list of things to do in the area.  A short distance away is:

  • Kanda Myojin
  • Holy Resurrection Cathedral
  • Guitar Street
  • Akihabara  

And don’t forget Yushima Seido Temple.  I also have an article about it if you want to learn more.  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

3 thoughts on “Shooting a big Confucius in Tokyo”

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