* “kokeshi” is traditional typical wooden doll of Tohoku
* “shamisen” is a Japanese three stringed musical instrument
In the evening, we all will meet at a meeting point to make sure everyone is in Tokyo, and go to a station to buy bullet train tickets together to leave smoothly tomorrow morning at a rash hour.
From Tokyo, we will take a bullet train to Tohoku region. Once we are there, we will get on our van and head to photograph colorful autumn mountains with waterfalls. On the top of the mountain, we can see the incredible crater lake from a short distance. Then, we will visit a hot spring village before check-in our Ryokan, Japanese style inn, with wonderful hot springs bath.
In the morning, we will visit a Buddhist temple that offers impressive views over the valley and walking course with many wooden temples of more than 1000 years old. The walking course has more 1000 stone steps that lead to the top of the mountain little by little. It is easy walk and perfect to take pictures on the way up to the mountain. After lunch, we will head to, a hot spring village famous for handcrafted wooden doll called kokeshi, and colorful gorge in autumn. We will visit a workshop of kokeshi to see how a kokeshi is made in front of our own eyes. After sunset, we will enjoy hot springs bath in our hotel. We will also take you a local public hot springs bath in the village if you wish.
In the morning, before the arrival of the flock of tourists, we will be at gorge, taking pictures of the breathtaking colorful landscapes. When we are satisfied with our pictures, we will descend this mountainous region toward to the ocean until we reach to the seaside town of Matsushima, one of the three most celebrated scenic sites in Japan. We will have a lunch in Matsushima and enjoy the famous ocean landscapes dotted with numerous small islands from the seashore and tea house.
In the morning, we will photograph a picturesque swamp surrounded by colorful autumn trees before going up by a cable car to enjoy the impressive views of the landscape covered with the carpet of autumn leaves. After taking a ride of cable car, we will approach to an autumn color gorge with a bridge in the afternoon. Today, we will stay in an accommodation with hot springs, one of the oldest hot springs in Tohoku with more than 300-year-old history. The accommodation is very simple, but the old traditional wooden huge hot springs bath is one of the best in Japan.
If weather permits, participants who want to go back to yesterday’s swamp to photograph with magical lights of morning glow will wake up very early to hop in our van. Then, we will head to a mountain, a mysterious place that folklore describes as the border of this world and the other world. The mountain is considered as one of the three most spiritual mountains in Japan. The rocky landscape almost like a moon, blue caldera lake, sulfur vapor coming out of the gray ground, and hundreds stone statues of jizo (protector of children and travellers) create surreal environment and convert this remote place to a paradise for photographers. This night we will sleep in a Buddhist temple. We will eat Japanese vegetarian dishes, the same food the monks of temple eat. At night we can relax at a hot spring.
We wake up early to start the day with prayer in the Buddhist temple. After Japanese vegetarian breakfast, we will go back to a city to enjoy an impressive modern art museum. After we enjoy the art and lunch in the museum, we will head to a resort hotel to check-in early to enjoy and relax at this luxurious hotel. Of course, we also have hot springs in the hotel.
We will go to a mountain stream to enjoy the breathtaking landscape with autumn leaves. If you were a nature photographer, this is a perfect place for you. We will stroll along the river to enjoy the smell and sounds of the nature. At lunchtime, we will go up to a lake where we will get on a cruising boat. We will be amazed by the beautiful autumn landscapes of the lake, visiting two peninsulas of the lake that were only accessible by boat. In the evening, we will arrive at a very special ryokan, in a magical place hidden in the narrow valley where a stream crosses. We will find ourselves in a fairy tale. This place is lit up only by oil lanterns and moonlight. No electricity is available. Forget everything and make your mind totally blank in hot springs baths. It is absolutely unique experience.
Today, we will photograph a stunning mountain from the foot with apple farm and rice fields. We will capture beautiful rural Japan. After lunch, we will head to Hirosaki Castle where there is autumn festival with illuminated autumn leaves. When we are happy with our night shots of autumn leaves, we will leave the castle to our hotel in city center. Tonight, we will go out to eat dinner in a restaurant with live music of shamisen.
If weather permits, participants who want to capture sunrise shots with beautiful bridge on the lake will wake up early to leave the hotel. After breakfast, we will leave to Aomori city to visit a modern impressive culture center where the traditional floats of Nebuta festival, famous summer festival in Aomori, are displayed. After seeing and photographing the amazing huge floats made of Japanese paper, we will go to a station to take a bullet train to go back to Tokyo.
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 5 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.
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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