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Japan Photography Tour 2020
Join Glenn McKimmin on this exceptional photography tour to experience the very best of Japan. The tour will follow three Japanese springtime floral celebrations at the best time of year.
The cherry blossom (‘sakura’) holds a very special place in the hearts and culture of the Japanese. They even have a name for cherry blossom viewing, ‘hanami’. This is the theme of our photographic tour of Japan and adds a stunning visual dimension to this fascinating land and its proudly maintained traditions.
Our carefully prepared itinerary affords you many locations and opportunities to follow the Japanese springtime floral celebrations. Apart from a range of cherry blossom locations, we have included extra festival experiences such as the Pink Moss Shibasakura festival at Mt Fuji and the Ashikaga Wisteria Festival.
Of course, apart from cherry blossoms, we will visit many of Japan’s iconic historical and natural sites and witness first-hand many cultural practices to gain deeper insights about this beguiling land. Some of our time will be spent in selected cities, however we make it a point to also provide time in the countryside, time to wander around rustic villages and to enjoy less populated locales.
You will benefit from the depth of knowledge and services of our local Japanese guide as well as two Fotoworkshops mentors. We will take care of all logistical matters. We will provide information and guidance when needed and leave you free to explore, to develop your photographic skills, to enjoy the company of like-minded travellers and to enhance your understanding and appreciation of visions of Japan.
Your accommodation, meals and transport have been specifically selected with your comfort, convenience and satisfaction in mind. The timing and reach of our tour are calculated to provide the best chances of quality cherry blossom viewing. This wonderful opportunity awaits.
7 Apr – 18 Apr 2020
$TBA per person
Join Glenn Mckimmin
and explore the very
best of Japan
Fushimi Inari Shrine
- A DSLR Camera with lens/lenses
- Spare batteries, there will be a long days with plenty of shooting.
- A sturdy tripod.
- Remote shutter release.
- Filters if you have them (Polarizer/Graduated/Neutral Density).
- Good walking shoes.
- Wet weather gear & a compact umbrella(rain will not hold us back).
- Your creative brains.
- The weather can change very quickly in Japan, the average temp is 18.5 degrees celsius with a low of 10 degrees celsius.
- Comfortable warm clothing.
- Layering your clothing is best. Temperature can quickly change.
- Good supportive boots. Warm and waterproof would be best.
- Cherry Blossoms
- Mt Fuji
- Wisteria Festival
- Fushimi Inari Shrine
- Stunning Landscapes
- Japanese Culture
Breakfast, lunch & dinner will be provided each day.
Meeting time & place
Process your deposit to secure your spot instantly.
Upon arrival at Kansai/Itami Airport, you will be transferred to your hotel in the historic city of Osaka, on the Japanese island of Honshu.
After breakfast we head to Osaka Castle, continue to the Expo 70 commemorative park and then on to the Mint Bureau for cherry blossom viewing. More than 4,500 cherry trees line the banks of the Okawa River, providing space and perspectives perfect for the photographer. We then finish off the day with a stroll around the Dotonbori district, Osaka’s entertainment area, famous for its movement and light…Neon signage gone mad resulting in a kaleidoscopic chaos.
We will enjoy a welcome dinner at the Taiko-en Restaurant.
Today we visit Kinkakuji Temple, known as the “Golden Pavilion” due to being covered in glittering gold leaf. This Zen Buddhist temple sits beside a mirror pond evoking the best of nature and a sense of calm. We then continue to the mesmerising Fushimi Inari Shrine, an 8th Century Shinto shrine to the gods of rice and sake. Its thousands of vermillion, wooden torii gates create marvellous optical effects just waiting to be creatively captured by the photographer. Moving then on to the arashiyama district, we have free time to explore the Bamboo forest before arriving at the Togetsukyo bridge, Arashiyama’s well known, central landmark. The wooden bridge spans the Katsura River in front of Arashiyama Mountain and is a favourite site at Cherry Blossom time. If time permits, we will visit the Kyoto’s geisha district of Gion.
To celebrate springtime in Japan, we will attend the Miyako Odari live performance with more geisha wigs, face-paint, dancing and gorgeous kimonos than you could poke stick of cherry blossom at.
Time for wisdom as we take the Philosopher walk, a cherry tree lined path beside Kyoto’s canal. We will see the ‘Silver Pavilion’ Ginkakuji Temple, attend and witness the age-old rituals of a tea ceremony performed by Maiko, apprentice geisha. Then head to the spectacular Kiyomizu
Temple an icon of the UNESCO world site of Ancient Kyoto. If time permits, we will also explore the picaresque and historic Higashiyama district.
We pick up the pace as we enjoy the quiet, quick convenience of a bullet train to Takayama in Japan’s mountainous Hida region. Takayama is a Mecca for cherry-blossom afficianados. Blossoms of different colours and shades, water ways, wooden bridges, parklands, laneways, stairways and many ways to frame your shots.
We will visit the Festival Floats Exhibition Hall and the historical Sanmachi street which still evokes the sights and features of the Edo period, 300 years ago. The distinctive, traditional black-painted wooden shops and homes, the market-wares and celebration of all things Edo make for wonderful images.
This morning we visit the colourful Takayama morning market and then take a short (1.5hrs) trip to o the UNESCO Heritage listed Shirakawago, famous for its traditional Gassho-Zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. Their unique thatched roof design was named gassho, meaning two hands in prayer, as the two sides of the high-peaked roof are joined together. The gassho-zukuri houses are built without nails or any metal fasteners. We have ample time to explore this rustic village setting on foot to maximise its photographic potential.
We then drive on to the Higashi Chaya district of Kanazawa. This historical area has cobbled lanes, traditional wooden buildings and is evocative of 18th Century Japan.
Kanzawa is a famous castle town with three large gardens that come alive with massed cherry blossoms framing and providing foregrounds for the towering Edo-era castles with their pagoda-style roofs.
We will explore the expansive Kenrokuen garden, with its floral displays, streams, ponds, and waterfalls, stone lanterns, and historical tea houses. The garden has Japan’s oldest gravity-fed fountain. After visiting the nearby Nomura Samurai House, we will board our bullet train to Tokyo.
What is a visit to Japan without taking in a fish market? We will visit one at Tsukiji and then explore the vibrant Asakusa district with its many ancient temples including the 7th Century Sensoji Buddhist temple, Tokyo’s oldest. We will also walk through Nakamise arcade, a traditional, colourful shopping street with an intriguing selection of street food.
In the afternoon we will be in Shinjuku park for more cherry blossom viewing and then witness the organised chaos of Shibuya crossing, reputedly the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing. Perfect for street photography, time-lapse, slow-shutter speed…whatever takes your fancy.
Today we visit the Fuji Shibasakura festival where 800,000 shibasakura flowers (pink moss or phlox moss) come into bloom near Lake Motosu in the Fuji Five Lakes region. Massed blooms forming vivid patterns of pink, purple, blue, and white are set against the backdrop of Mount Fuji and provide an added bonus to our tour’s cherry blossom theme. We will also visit the Mt Kachi Kachi Ropeway that a climbs Mount Tenjō from the shores of Lake Kawaguchi. We then visit Chureito Pagoda with its multiple floors, sweeping pagoda-style roofs and impressive spire. The pagoda makes for a stunning photograph with surrounding cherry blossom trees and Mt Fuji dominating the horizon.
This morning we will cruise on Lake Ashi before taking in the illuminations of the Ashikaga Flower park. This 9-hectare park features dramatic multi-coloured floral displays, the most famous of which are the hundreds of wisteria trees (‘fuji’), some well over 100 years old and some forming tunnels of up to 80 meters through which visitors can walk.
After spending time taking in the Ashikaga Wisteria Festival, we return to Tokyo where we visit the iconic 19th Century Shinto Meiji Shrine and then continue with cherry blossom viewing at the Meguro River, the premier location for massed sakura in Tokyo.
We then spend some time in the lively but not attractively named, Piss Alley. Piss Alley evolved from the 1940’s as a centre of cheap bars, food stalls, hostess-cabarets and restaurants. It became a popular social venue in post WWII Tokyo with affordable luxuries such as alcohol and meat dishes. Yakatori is still the classic street food in Piss Alley. The charm and vitality of this Showa era location has been carefully preserved by local authorities. Thankfully the original scarcity of public amenities has been rectified though the alley’s name persists.
Our farewell dinner will be at Momiji-tei, a Japanese restaurant set in a peaceful garden and featuring teppanyaki with prime local ingredients and chefs expertly preparing meals at your table.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your homeward journey.
Services of 2 professional photographic tour leaders, photographic tuition and workshops (suitable for any levels or ability). Internal travel and transfers. Minimum 4-star accommodation with private bathrooms on twin share / double basis. All meals are included (breakfast, lunch, dinner).
International flights, alcohol, extra drinks, room service, laundry, gifts, souvenirs and any extras purchased. Travel insurance – a compulsory condition of booking. Camera or other optional insurances are not included.
*TOUR ITINERARY IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT THE DISCRETION OF FOTOWORKSHOPS. PLEASE READ OUR T&C FOR MORE INFO.
Imagine combining a dream holiday with your passion for photography. You will explore secret locations and gain new expertise in one of the greatest art forms ever created. With Fotoworkshops, you will be personally mentored by some of the most highly regarded professionals in the industry. A truly immersive experience that is sure to check off on the bucket list. Our itineraries and experience in handpicked locations will ensure you never miss an opportunity, you can capture everything from breath-taking waterfalls, wild bears, quiet and serene sandy beaches, snow-capped mountains, volcanoes, diverse and wonderful local people, streetscapes and ancient cultures – the list is endless.
Give some one you know a personalised gift towards any of our Photo Tours, Landscape Photography Workshops or Personalised Photography Tours. Vouchers are available in any amount from $100.
All of our Photo Tours require a moderate level of fitness. There are no major walks but where possible we would like our guests to be able to walk for about an hour if needed. Check with your tour guide before leaving and we can give you a better idea of any special fitness requirements you may need to complete the Tour.
If groups are not for you and you would prefer to travel by yourself or with a group of friends and family then we can accommodate your needs by customizing a Photography Tour to suit your individual needs, schedule, budget and interests.
We also offer private one or two day photo tours and workshops in many of our locations. Please or email us for rates and information.
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How To Book
Simply place your $1000 deposit through our secure booking platform, Your place will be reserved instantly. The team will then be in contact with you to provide you will all the information you will require and confirm your trip details. If you would prefer to make your booking with the team directly, please email email@example.com