Windows on Japan

Take a virtual tour with these great livestreams

While it may be some time before the majority of international travellers can again visit Japan in person, it can still be enormously satisfying to check in on its many iconic sights online. For anyone in need of a quick change of scenery, here is a roundup of some of the best livestreams from around Japan today:


One of Tokyo's most recognisable spots, the pedestrian scramble at Shibuya Station's Hachiko Exit can be viewed here in real time on YouTube. Now eerily quiet, under normal circumstances as many as 2500 people regularly cross at a time. Other interesting feeds from the capital include these views of the famous Skytree broadcasting and observation tower near Asakusa, and the Rainbow Bridge connecting downtown Tokyo with the Odaiba area, while fans of trains will especially enjoy this view, showing a number of busy tracks as they buzz with activity against a backdrop of tall buildings.


For a glimpse of Japan's old capital, a great place to start is this view of Higashi Honganji, which also includes some of Kyoto's skyline and the mountains beyond. Another two recommended feeds can be found on the websites of Ginkakuji and Kinkakuji (often called the silver and gold pavilions), showing the two beautiful temples and their surrounding gardens.

City Skylines

Of the many livestreams capturing views of other major cities throughout Japan, three of the best-positioned and most attractive can be found in Osaka, Fukuoka and Nagasaki Port.

Natural Scenery

While a number of websites provide online views of Mount Fuji, my first recommendation is this one from the Mount Fuji Ropeway. Another spectacular volcanic view is this one of Kagoshima, with Mount Sakurajima clearly visible in the background. A very different landscape is on display in this feed from Ishigaki Island, facing out to sea with rolling hills in the distance.


While zoos and other attractions remain closed, animal lovers can check out feeds from the famous Jigokudani Monkey Park, and the Monkey Center on Awaji Island which also boasts a number of tame deer. In Shizuoka, the Nihondaira Zoo has generated some online buzz with its livestream of the two polar bears Rossi and Vanilla, available everyday from 8:00 to 17:00 Japan time, while bird watchers may enjoy close-up view of a pair of nesting white oriental storks at the Stork Preservation Park, Hyogo Prefecture.