Solar hydrogen production assisted with semiconductor materials is a promising way to provide alternative energy sources in the future. Such a photocatalytic reaction normally takes place on the active sites of the catalysts surface, and the identification of the active sites is crucial for understanding the photocatalytic reaction mechanism and further improving the photocatalytic efficiency. However, the active sites of model catalysts are still largely disputed because of their structural complexity. Conventionally, H-2 evolution from solar water splitting over Pt/TiO2 is widely deemed to take place on metallic Pt nanoparticles. Oppositely, we report through a combined experimental and theoretical approach, that metallic Pt nanoparticles have little contribution to the activity of photocatalytic H-2 evolution; the oxidized Pt species embedded on the TiO2 surface are the key active sites and primarily responsible for the activity of the hydrogen evolution Pt/TiO2 photocatalyst.