* “kokeshi” is traditional typical wooden doll of Tohoku
* “shamisen” is a Japanese three stringed musical instrument
The meeting point of this organized tour to the northern part of Japan will be Ueno station in Tokyo. We will take a bullet train there to Yamagata station. Once we are there, a private bus that will carry us for the next 9 days in this tour will pick us up. From Yamagata station, we will head to Mount Zao from which we can see the incredible crater “Okama” from a short distance. After lunch, we go down to a hot spring village of Zao where we will bathes in an outdoor hot springs bath in the middle of nature. Dinner
In the morning, we will go up Mount Zao (1.736m) by a cable car to enjoy the impressive and photogenic views of the mountain painted with colorful autumn leaves. We will stroll on the top of the mountain, and go down to Zao hot springs village by a cable car to explorer the village. After a lunch, we will head to Naruko, a village famous for handcrafted wooden doll called kokeshi and hot springs. 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 public hot springs bath in the village if you wish. Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
From Naruko, passing by famous valley with autumn leaves, we will go up to north until we reach to Morioka, center of the production of handmade iron kettles. We will visit a workshop of the handicrafts. After a lunch, we will keep going up to north. In the evening, we will arrive at Hirosaki where we will find ourselves in the middle of illuminated beautiful autumn leaves with a castle. Breakfast-Lunch
From Hirosaki, we will head to Mount Hakkoda (1.585m) where we will go up by a cable car to enjoy the impressive views of the landscape covered with the carpet of autumn leaves. After taking a walk in the colorful mountain, we will approach to Sukayu hot springs, one of the most oldest hot springs in Tohoku with more than 300-year-old history. In the afternoon, we will arrive at the city of Towada to visit the famous contemporary art museum, Towada Art Center, where large format art works by Japanese and international artists are featured inside and outside of the museum. This night, we will stay over a night at a luxurious hotel, Hoshino Resorts, in Oirase. Breakfast-Dinner
In the morning we will stroll along the Oirase River to enjoy the breathtaking landscape. 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 head to Lake Towada where we will eat local food and get on a cruising boat. We will be amazed by the beautiful 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. No electricity is available at room. Forget everything and make your mind totally blank in hot springs baths. It is absolutely unique experience. Breakfast-Dinner
In the morning we will head to a park in Hirosaki to visit the small and lovely castle, and take pictures of the wide varieties of autumn leaves in various tones. In the afternoon, we will visit Mount Iwaki surrounded by the rice fields, which is the absolute beauty of rural Japan. Then we will go on an excursion to Shirakami Sanchi, impressive virgin forest of Japanese beech, declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. If we have time, we will stop by a Shinto shrine of Iwaki Yama. At night we will have a dinner in a restaurant where we can enjoy dinner with live music of shamisen, a three-stringed Japanese traditional music instrument that is very popular in this region of Tohoku. Breakfast-Dinner
We will start going down to south until we arrive at a wonderful town of Kakunodate with samurai houses. Created in 1620, Kakunodate is one of few cities in Japan that maintains the atmospheres of its old time. We will take a walk along the river and visit one of the samurai houses to enjoy the architecture of the 17th century. In the evening, we will head to a ryokan, Japanese style inn, lost in the middle of nature, with authentic interior and amazing outdoor wooden hot springs baths of more than 300-year-old history. It is a magical place where splendor multiplies at night. For a dinner, we will have a traditional local cuisine. Breakfast-Dinner
We will leave Nyuto Onsen toward to Yamagata prefecture, stopping at Lake Tazawa. In the afternoon we will arrive at Mount Haguro, one of the Three Mountains of Dewa (Dewa Sanzan). Dewa Sanzan is a popular pilgrimage destination to visit shrines of each mountain. In this season, it is only accessible to the shrines on the top of the Mount Haguro. In a foggy day, the shrines become very mysterious, giving a great opportunity for photographers. We will descend the mountain and head to a small hot springs village, Ginzan Onsen, where we will stay at a ryokan. At night we can take a walk in the romantic hot springs village in yukata (thin kimono) and geta (Japanese wooden sandals) just like authentic Japanese people. Breakfast-Dinner
In the last day of our photo tour to Japan, we will visit Yamadera temple. This temple offers impressive views over the valley and walking course with many wooden temples with more tan 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 Yamagata Station to take a bullet train to go back to Tokyo. Breakfast-Lunch
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 leadres 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 propotional 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, repartriation 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: email@example.com
Documentary photo project on Japan by Toru Morimoto and Tina Bagué
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