Street photography is the art of taking photographs of people and places in public. It is a popular genre of photography in Japan, but there are some legal considerations that photographers should be aware of.

Is street photography legal in Japan?

Yes, street photography is legal in Japan. There is no law that specifically prohibits taking photographs of people in public. However, there are some privacy laws that could potentially apply to street photography.

The right to privacy

The Japanese Constitution guarantees the right to privacy. This right is not absolute, but it could be used to challenge street photography in some cases. For example, if a photographer takes a photo of someone in a private setting, such as their home or workplace, the person could argue that their right to privacy has been violated.

The right to publicity

Another potential legal issue for street photographers is the right to publicity. This right protects people’s right to control the commercial use of their image. If a photographer publishes a street photo without the person’s permission, the person could sue for damages.

Best practices for street photography in Japan

Given the potential legal issues, it is important for street photographers to be respectful of people’s privacy. Here are some best practices for street photography in Japan:

  • Ask permission before taking a photo of someone. This is the best way to avoid any legal problems.
  • Be discreet when taking photos. Don’t use a flash or tripod, and try not to make people feel like they are being stalked.
  • If you are taking photos of people in a private setting, such as a restaurant or bar, get their permission first.
  • Be aware of the laws around the commercial use of people’s images. If you are planning to publish your street photos, make sure you have the permission of the people in the photos.


I am not a lawyer, and this blog post is not legal advice. If you have any questions about the legalities of street photography in Japan, you should consult with an attorney.