*Shamisen is a three-stringed traditional Japanese music instrument from this region
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.
We will take a bullet train from Tokyo to Tohoku region. Once we are in the southern part of Tohoku, we will get on a van to head to a small movielike village with traditional Japanese houses with thatched roof. After photographing this village, we will go to photograph a charming old thatched roof train station with cherry blossoms beside the train tracks. Then, we will move to another town to stay in Ryokan, Japanese style inn, with hot spring bath.
In the morning, we leave our Ryokan to the most popular cherry blossom site in Tohoku. There we will find a 3km-long path with a thousand of weeping cheery blossom trees. After photographing and enjoying the natural tunnel made of cheery blossom, we will move to a hot spring town with astonishing cherry blossom mountain park. After taking pictures and strolling around the pinky mountain, we will retreat to our ryokan with hot spring bath. If you wish you can walk back to the mountain park to photograph the illuminated cherry blossom in Yukata, thin kimono.
We will head to a Buddhist temple located in a steep mountain. The place offers impressive views over the valley and a walking course of many wooden temples of more than 1.000 years old. There will be countless opportunities to take curious photos there. In the afternoon, we will arrive at a retro romantic hot spring village to photograph the village and stay over night there.
We can enjoy breathtaking spectacular landscapes of cherry blossoms in Kakunodate. For people who love nature, this should be one of the best occasions to capture the images of cherry blossoms along the river and with traditional Japanese houses. By the evening, we will reach to a ryokan, Japanese style inn, lost in the middle of nature, with authentic interior and amazing outdoor wooden hot springs baths. It is a magical place where splendor multiplies at night.
We will start the day, being surrounded by the beautiful landscape of a crystal transparent caldera lake. It is the deepest lake in Japan. We will photograph the famous red entrance gate of a shinto shrine on the shore of the lake. After this lake, we will stop various stops to photograph beautiful cherry blossoms. By the evening, we will arrive at the city of Hirosaki where the festival of cherry blossom is being held. We will visit the huge park of the Hirosaki Castle at night where cherry blossoms are illuminated and reflected on the inner moat of the castle. This 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.
In the morning, we will go back to the castle’s park. We will visit the small and lovely castle, and take pictures of the wide varieties of cherry blossoms in various tones under the daylight. In the afternoon, we will visit Mount Iwaki surrounded by the apple farms. We will visit the Iwakiyama Shrine at the foot of the Mount Iwaki, and 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 at night. No electricity is available at room. Forget everything and make your mind totally blank and relax in hot springs baths. It is absolutely unique experience.
In the morning, we will go to a caldera lake to get on a cruise. Then we will go to the river whose nature is just breathtaking. If you were a nature photographer, this is a perfect place for you. We will practice how to take pictures of river and waterfalls with silky water effect under the daylights. We will stroll along the river to enjoy the smell and sounds of the nature.
In the morning, we will visit a famous contemporary art museum where big format art works by Japanese and international artists are featured inside and outside of the museum. It is full of interesting and surprising art installations, and we can take pictures of the most of the art installations, unlike many other contemporary art museums in the world. After enjoying arts, we will head to one of the three most spiritual mountains in Japan. It is a mysterious place that folklore describes as the border of this world and the other world. The rocky landscape almost like a moon, blue caldera lake, sulfur vapor coming out of the ground, and hundreds statues of jizo (protector of children and travelers) create surreal environment and convert this remote place to a paradise for photographers. This night we will sleep in a temple. We will eat Japanese vegetarian dishes, the same food the monks of the temple eat. At night we can relax at a hot spring.
The last day of this tour will start at 6.30am to chant Buddhist sutra with monks. After vegetarian breakfast, we will head back to Aomori. In Aomori, we will visit a culture center where the traditional floats of Nebuta festival, famous summer festival in Aomori, are displayed. After seeing the huge floats made of Japanese paper, we will go to a station to catch a bullet train 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 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 & conditiones.
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: email@example.com
Documentary photo project on Japan by Toru Morimoto and Tina Bagué
Photo agency that deals with exclusively works of Toru Morimoto & Tina Bagué
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