Thursday, 16 January 2014

Classic Japan Photo Tour - November, 2014

“... Unlike any other country, Japan is old and new, high technology and ancient ritual, perfect manners and flawless service. For a photographer the country is packed with fascinating visual challenges, breathtaking scenery and unforgettable memories. Combining the best visual experience Japan has to offer, with great food, ancient culture, terrific shopping, good value and a truly memorable experience...”

Here's a brief itinerary to give you an idea of the places we visit:

Travel Day: Arrive Tokyo, overnight Ueno area
Day 01:  Local subway to Harajuku.

Photograph the curious dress-up (cos play) kids, lunch, then  visit Meiji Shrine.  Dinner locally near the hotel.
Overnight Tokyo.
Day 02:  Early start to get to Tsukiji fish markets.  After lunch, catch the local train again and head to Akihabara, the electronics retail centre of Tokyo.

Overnight Tokyo.
Day 03:  Shinkansen to Nagoya, then local train to Takayama.  Leisurely afternoon wandering through the older parts of Takayama.

Overnight Takayama.
Day 04:  Local bus to World Heritage listed Shirakawa-go.  Visit the excellent open air folk museum.  Stay in a traditional ghasso-zakuri style thatched farmhouse (ryokan).

Overnight Shirakawa-go.
Day 05:  Bus to Kanazawa

Luxury bus to the city of Kanazawa to visit Kenrokuen gardens and bustling city markets.  Optional night shooting session in the station precincts.
Overnight Kanazawa.
Day 06:  We catch the Thunderbird Express (train) to Kyoto, the cultural capital of Japan.  Check into hotel.  Afternoon free.
Day 07:  City bus to Shisen-Do shrine and garden. Then to Kinkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion. After a lunch amble along the Philosopher’s Walk. 

Overnight Kyoto.
Day 08:  Local train to Kameoka for rafting trip downstream to Areshiyama.  Here we wander through a maze of laneways to the exquisite World Heritage Sagano bamboo forest. Overnight Kyoto.
Day 09:  Short train ride to Nara, the ancient capital of Japan.  Return to Kyoto, lunch, then walk to Tofuku-ji temple complex.  Then a local train to Fushimi Inari shrine with its 14 kilometres of torii gates (no need to walk all the paths!).

Overnight Kyoto.
Day 10:  Express to Okayama, then a local train to Kurashiki. This pretty town has an amazing art gallery featuring works from Europe by El Greco, Renoir and Degas, among others.  Overnight Kurashiki.
Day 11: Shinkansen from Okayama to Hiroshima.  Morning at Peace Museum then on to Miyajima island.  We spend the night in a modern ryokan with an afternoon visit to Itsukushima Shrine.

Overnight on island.
Day 12:  Shinkansen south to Fukuoka/Hakata.  Check into the hotel then it’s off to catch some action at the national sumo tournament.

Overnight Hakata.

Day 13:   Today we head back to Osaka. Our hotel is located in Dotonbori district, a colourful area, especially at night. great for iconic images.
Hotel accommodation in bustling Dotonbori.
Day 14:   Free day in Osaka.

Depart Osaka Kansai airport evening...

Classic Japan Tour: how it works
To keep costs down, I have structured this tour on the basis we stay in two to three star business class hotels (i.e. small rooms, but clean and well appointed), travel mostly using trains, subway and local buses.  For a couple of the locations, I have extended the budget to stay in one or two of Japan’s fabulous ryokans (traditional inns) where you experience the best in Japanese hospitality.  I’ve visited Japan several times before so, though still struggling with the language, I’m familiar with the way things work in-country. And it’s because Japan is such an efficient place that a photo tour like ours can function so well. 
As the emphasis is on photography, we can afford to spend more time looking for the best light, angles and elevations wherever we visit and never feel pushed to follow an itinerary religiously.  Also while travelling I take the time to critique your work on an ongoing basis and give talks on various photographic and post-processing topics.  This usually helps significantly in both broadening your knowledge but it also gives you the opportunity to develop your photographic styles and come home with some fabulous images.

Interested? Email me at

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