Singaporean travelers are discerning, savvy and connected. While offline experiences matter, documenting them online is just as important. Some 70 per cent of Singaporeans actively use social media on the go – and it goes without saying that perfect travel snaps will give social media feeds that added boost. If you’re in need of some serious social media cred, here are five gorgeous backdrops in Japan for perfect influencer-level snaps. With stunning waterbodies, floral displays, lush greenery and vibrant artwork, you’ll gain some major bragging rights with your eye-popping #ootd shots.
Nabegataki Falls (Kumamoto)
There are many scenic spots in Japan, but I consider this wide, cascading sheet of crystal-clear water one of the most stunning waterfalls in Japan. While not very high – rising just 10 metres above ground – it extends a generous 20 metres across. You’ll find many great photo spots here: snap a pic against the backdrop of the cascading falls from the area behind the waterfall itself, or head up front for a personal favourite of mine: a scenic shot with the falls, set against the graceful sugi trees and glistening sunlight through the foliage.
Pro influencer tip: Go for a classic knee pop for a pose that delivers, wherever you are. Against the backdrop of the picturesque Nabegataki Falls and its lush surrounds, this versatile pose is great for showcasing a pair of well-cut pants. In your caption, don’t forget to share some interesting trivia: if you look closely around the falls, you’ll find little heart-shaped stones along the path leading up to the waterfall which are said to bring happiness to those who find them.
Getting there: Accessible by car or taxi only. Address: Kurobuchi, Oguni, Aso District, Kumamoto Prefecture 869-2502, Japan
Ashikaga Flower Park (Ashikaga)
If you love flowers as much as I do, look no further than Ashikaga Flower Park in Ashikaga City. The park features a variety of Wisteria – one of my favourite flowers in Japan – in blue, white, pink and yellow. Here, you’ll find many great floral backdrops for your pictures, such as a 100-year-old Wisteria tree which has its branches propped up to resemble a huge umbrella of blue Wisteria; and a long, cavernous tunnel of yellow Wisteria. I recommend visiting in May to catch the flowers in their fully-bloomed glory.
Pro influencer tip: The floral cascades here form an almost transcendent backdrop for your #ootd photography – so keep your poses simple. The best option here is a simple forward-facing standing pose, with legs crossed for instant elongation. You’ll show your most flattering self, while doing justice to the gorgeous surroundings. A bonus accessory would be the famous Fuji (wisteria) soft-serve cones sold here, which come in a pastel-hued swirl of purple.
By Japan Railways (JR) - Take JR Utsunomiya Line, JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line or JR Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Oyama and transfer to the JR Ryomo Line. Get off at Tomita Station.
By Tobu Railway - Take Tobu Railway from Tobu Asakusa Station to Ashikagashi Station.
Kabira Bay (Okinawa)
Nothing beats sunshine and the great outdoors for photo-taking! If you’re looking for soft sandy shores and breathtaking emerald-green waters, Kabira Bay in Okinawa is a must-visit in my book. Located on the north-western side of Ishigaki island, this oasis of calm is the perfect spot for taking sun-kissed Instagram snaps – complete with boats, crystal-clear water and blue sky. Currents here can get strong, so I suggest snapping your pics from the safety of the beach!
Pro influencer tip: There probably isn’t a better place than Kabira Bay for getting some quality shots in your favourite beachwear. Look for a low rock or sit down on the sand with your back facing the camera – then turn your head ever-so-slightly back towards the photographer. You’ll get a perfect #ootd snap that says “totally candid moment”!
Getting there: Kabira Bay is a 40-minute drive from the airport by car.
When you arrive at Naoshima, you’ll be greeted with the sight of a cheery yellow pumpkin. This sculpture, by renowned artist Yayoi Kusama, is a symbol of her life during World War II when food was scarce – except for pumpkins. Known for its modern art museums, architecture and sculptures, Naoshima is the perfect backdrop if you like taking quirky, interesting pictures. At the same time, you’ll enjoy the balmy weather and laid-back atmosphere here. Some of my favourite Naoshima attractions include Chichu art museum, which displays paintings from Monet’s Waterlilies series; and Benesse House Museum, which showcases a range of contemporary sculpture and installations.
Pro influencer tip: It’s almost an unspoken rule that all pictures taken here need to have a certain measure of edginess, to match the island’s vibrant, colourful backdrops. For some instant chic, opt for a casual arm raise, forearm resting on the forehead with one leg slightly extended – the perfectly understated edgy pose for the day’s #ootd shot.
Getting here: You may access the island by ferry from Okayama (JR Uno Station) or from Takamatsu on Shikoku.
Shiratani Unsuikyo Gorge (Yakushima Island)
For me, visiting the Shiratani Unsuikyo Gorge on Yakushima island is like stumbling into a secret fairyland, complete with tall trees, mossy rocks and shrubs of all kinds. This unbelievably lush nature reserve is home to the island’s ancient cedar forests, which you can access through a network of well-maintained hiking trails. Some trails are more difficult than others: among them are an ancient footpath built in the Edo period, as well as modern ones paved with wood or stone. My favourite spot for photography is the part of the forest which inspired Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke – Oga Kazuo, the film’s lead artist, worked on his forest sketches based on the scenery here.
Pro influencer tip: The otherworldly greenery at Shiratani Unsuikyo Gorge lends itself particularly well to a #ootd shot with a touch of whimsy. Slip into a flowy, long dress and capture yourself in a twirl – a pose which instantly says “just a leisurely stroll in a secret, magical forest”.
Getting here: Shiratani Unsuikyo is located 30 minutes from Miyanoura Port by car. There are also buses from Miyanoura Port every two to three hours.
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