Arrival at any time at our hotel. We will meet with all participants in the hotel bar at 6:00pm with a welcome drink to get to know each other.
We will visit Asakusa area in the morning to discover the most traditional part of Tokyo and later on we will approach to the Sky Tree, the latest and highest tower in Tokyo. After lunch we will take a cruising boat from Asakura to Odaiba, the futuristic island in Tokyo Bay. We will photograph the amazing architecture of the artificial island and at dusk we will capture the twilight Tokyo.
Our second day in Tokyo, after visiting Meiji Jingu, the most important Shinto shrine in Tokyo, will be dedicated to the most modern part of Tokyo. We will stroll around modern Aoyama area with full of fashionable young Japanese people. From there we will go to Shibuya to photograph the famous scramble crossing. Then, we will go up to Roppongi Hills tower to capture the Tokyo sky view at sunset.
Today we will take a bullet train, Shinkansen, to Nagano where we will photograph the snow monkeys while they bathe in hot spring water. In the evening, we will enjoy street photography in narrow old streets at one our favourite hot spring villages where we will stay today. After photographing the snow monkeys in a snowy cold winter day, we will deserve to relax in hot springs and enjoy beautiful and delicious Japanese Kaiseki dinner in our Ryokan, Japanese style inn.
In the morning we will go back to photograph the snow monkeys for a little while just in case we are not satisfied with the pictures or the weather of the day before. Afterwards we will visit the most famous Japanese temple in Nagano. Then we will take Shinkansen to go back to Tokyo.
We will take a Shinkansen to Tohoku region the northernmost prefecture of Honshu, main island of Japan. From today we will move around with our private van for the rest of our trip. In our first day in rural Japan, we will take a bath in a breathtakingly beautiful snow-covered hot spring hidden in the valley. We can take a walk with the camera in the deep snow forest.
We will start the day visiting a snow-covered Shinto shrine on the lake. The view of the crystal water lake surrounded by snow-covered mountains and the red shrine gate, Torii, on the lake offers beautiful photographic opportunities. From the lake we will enter the deep snow country to do some “trainspotting” photography. Local one car train crosses untouched snow landscapes creating amazing postcards. Afterwards we will get on the train to capture beautiful snow country landscape from the one car train. In the evening we will enjoy a traditional igloo festival in another town. Igloos are lighted up with candles all over the town and children invite visitors to come inside the igloos.
In the morning we will attend to a traditional winter festival in a shrine, where locals offer 4-meter-long sacred wooden rod with decorations to pray for a good harvest and good health. In the afternoon, we will head towards a hidden photogenic retro hot springs town along the river, hidden in a deep valley. We will stroll around the tinny village and will take pictures during the blue hour. In the evening we will rest in our ryokan and relax in a hot spring bath.
In the morning, we will visit a local craft shop where they make hand-made Japanese chez and wooden dolls, Kokeshi, and later on we will arrive at a village where hot springs steam is all around creating very mysterious pictures. We will take a ropeway to the top of the mountain where we will be able (if weather conditions permit) to photograph an amazing natural phenomenon similar to hard rime on trees, called “snow monsters” in Japan. The thick hard rime covers the trees completely creating “snow monsters” and a very peculiar landscape. This phenomenon takes place only in a couple of places in Japan and almost nowhere else in the world! After freezing ourselves on the top of the mountain with snow monsters, we will go down to the hot spring village to stroll around and enjoy the tinny wooden baths spread around the village. Just put a coin in the box, enter the little wooden house, bathe, relax and go to the next one. A real treat for the body to finish our tour before heading back to the real and busy world of Tokyo!
In the last day of our tour, we will go back to the mountain in the morning to take pictures of the snow monsters again, just in case the weather was not good enough the day before or to enjoy different weather conditions and light. After lunch we will head to the bullet train station and will go back to Tokyo where our tour will end.
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.
“Snow Monsters” can not be guaranteed in any case. Although we will visit to photograph the Snow Monsters on the best time during the year, it depends on the various clime conditions. It is important to keep it in mind that the organizers will not have any responsibility if there is no Snow Monsters during the specific dates of the tour.
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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