Spontaneous imbibition of water into tight oil reservoirs is considered an effective way to improve tight oil recovery. We have combined testing techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance, mercury injection capillary pressure, and magnetic resonance imaging to reveal the distribution characteristics of oil and water during the spontaneous imbibition process of tight sandstone reservoir. The experimental results were used to describe the dynamic process of oil–water distribution at the microscopic scale. The water phase is absorbed into the core sample by micropores and mesopores under capillary forces that dry away the original oil phase into the hydraulically connected macropores. The oil phase entering the macropores will drive away the oil in place and expel the original oil from the macropores. The results of magnetic resonance imaging clearly show that the remaining oil accumulates in the central region of the core because a large amount of water is absorbed in the late stage of spontaneous imbibition, and the water in the pores gradually connects to form a “water shield” that blocks the flow of the oil phase. We propose the spontaneous imbibition pathway, which can effectively explain the internal mechanisms controlling the spontaneous imbibition rate. The surface of the core tends to form many spontaneous imbibition pathways, so the rate of spontaneous imbibition is fast. The deep core does not easily form many spontaneous imbibition pathways, so the rate of spontaneous imbibition is slow. This paper reveals the pore characteristics and distribution of oil and water during the spontaneous imbibition process, which is of significance for the efficient development of tight oil.