*Route Ohenro is a route made up of 88 temples for Japanese Buddhist pilgrims. Many Japanese people wish to visit these 88 temples before they die.
*Torii is a red gate to Shinto shrine.
*Ryokan is a Japanese style inn, where usually you sleep on futon in tatami room
We all will meet at a hotel in Kyoto in the evening to make sure that everyone has arrived and are ready for our adventure that starts next day.
We will wake up early and start early with the famous bamboo forest of Kyoto in order to avoid the crowds. After bamboo forest, we will move to another part of Kyoto to photograph cherry blossoms and visit our favorite Buddhist temple with beautiful Japanese garden. In the evening we will stroll traditional Kyoto style streets with cherry blossoms and later go to Gion, geisha district, where we might be able to photograph geisha on the street.
Today also, we will wake up early and start early to photograph the famous thousands of Torii, red gates of Shinto shrine, in Fushimi Inari Shrine. Once we are done with the Shinto shrine and overwhelmed by the crowds of tourists, we will move to our favorite quiet Zen temple with beautiful Zen garden. There we will find less tourists and enjoy the peaceful moments. In the afternoon, we will catch a bullet train, Shinkansen, to head to Takamatsu.
Today, we will dedicate all day to discover two small islands of Setouchi, Inland Sea of Japan, where many modern art works are permanently displayed outdoor and make up very interesting contemporary scenery with traditional Japanese landscapes. We will enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of both islands and take pictures of beautiful landscape of Inland Sea of Japan, dotted with small islands.
We will visit Naoshima Island, headquarter of Setouchi Art Festival. Naoshima Island has a few important museums designed by famous Japanese architect, Tadao Ando, and also famous huge pumpkin artwork by Yayoi Kusama. Modern art, nature, architecture, landscape and slow life melt together beautifully in this island. We will spend the whole day, wondering around the island and capturing the essence of the life in the island.
We will wake up early to be the first visitors of the impressive Japanese garden with cherry blossoms and have a Japanese breakfast there. Afterward, we will head to the most popular Shinto shrine in Shikoku. But unlike in Kyoto, we will find very less tourists and we will be able to mingle into local Japanese people. In the evening, we will retreat to a Ryokan, Japanese style inn, near the shrine and enjoy authentic Kaiseki dishes, artistic traditional Japanese cuisine, and hot springs bath to relax our bodies and mind.
In the morning, we will visit a beautiful mountain with cherry blossoms with a great view of Setouchi. From the cherry blossom mountain, we will head to one of our favorites Buddhist temples of Route Ohenro, Japanese Buddhist pilgrimage rout with 88 temples. After we discover what Ohenro is all about, and photograph Japanese pilgrims, we will head to the heart of Shikoku, Iya Valley where we will find our hot spring Ryokan, with Kaiseki dinner.
In the morning, we ill visit and photograph the amazing gorges and get on a boat to enjoy the gorges. Later we move deeper into the Iya Valley where we will find vine bridges to cross the river. In the afternoon, we will go back to the coast of Setouchi, and photograph beautiful cherry blossoms along the river. In the evening, if weather permits, we will go up to a mountain to photograph amazing sunset on small islands of Setouchi.
Today, we will leave Shikoku and head to Honshu, main island of Japan, crossing and stopping by small Setouchi islands that are connected with bridges. We will photograph an island with 500 stone sculptures of disciples of Buddha standing on the top of the hill from where we can see the spectacular view of Setouchi. Later, we will take a short-distance ferry to visit another island that has the most impressive cherry blossoms in Shikoku and Setouchi area with the spectacular view of Inland Sea of Japan. If time and weather permit, we will approach to a Shinto shrine on the coast of an island where we will photograph the photogenic shrine on the seashore before we arrive at a small interesting town in the main island of Japan.
We will visit a Buddhist temple with cheery blossoms on a hill where we go up by a cable car and walk down by photogenic long stairs and slopes. Then, we will catch a bullet train to go to Osaka that is our final point of this tour.
During our photo tour to Japan we will combine nights in ryokan with nights in western hotels. Whether they are traditional Japanese inns or western hotels, all of them are mid-high or high class with good reputation or selected by tour leaders from their experiences.
The rooms will be twin room (with two beds), so participants who come alone will share a room with another single participant. If you wish to stay in a single room for the whole trip, you must pay a supplement. But single room might not be available in some of the accommodations, and you have to share a twin room with another participant. (In that case, we will return proportional part of single supplement fees.)
Restaurants are carefully selected to enjoy the varieties of Japanese food from sophisticated kaisei to homemade local food. Not to be forced to eat the same things together, some of the meals are not included. If breakfast or lunch is not included, since we normally go to a restaurant together for breakfast or lunch, you just choose what you would like to eat and you pay for it. If dinner is not included, each person can choose a restaurant to dine. If you don’t want to look for a restaurant, you can also go to a restaurant where the tour leaders go, and you just pay for what you eat.
If anybody has allergy or food intolerance problems, or is a vegetarian, we will try to make the necessary changes in the menus when it is possible.
For the trip to be carried out, there must be at least 6 participants (maximum of 10 participants). For this reason it is recommended to consult the occupancy of the trip before buying the international flight if the flight ticket requires cancellation fees.
It is mandatory to have comprehensive insurance cover for cancellation, medical expenses, personal accident, emergency evacuation, repatriation of remains, dismemberment, and accidental death. You have to give us a copy of travel insurance before the trip.
If the cancellation is made more than 61 days before the start of the tour, deposit will be refunded in full only if the place(s) is/are filled with another/other participant(s). Deposit will not be refunded if the cancellation is made within 60 days before the start of the tour. For more details of cancellation and conditions of refund of the balance due after 60 days, please read our terms & conditions.
The cherry blossom can not be guaranteed in any case. Each year cherry blossoms bloom on different dates and even though we try to catch them at their best time, blossom period varies every year depending on the winter, the temperature, the rain, the wind and the heat of each spring. It is important to keep it in mind that the organizers will not have any responsibility if it is too early or too late to enjoy cherry blossom during the specific dates of the tour. However, if it did happen, organizers will try to chance plans to be able to view cherry blossom tree in different spots.
If you have more doubts about any topic related to the photo tour to Japan, send us an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Documentary photo project on Japan by Toru Morimoto and Tina Bagué
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