March 9-20, 2015 (8 Participants Maximum)
The experience of traveling is about not only learning how we are different, but how we are similar. As we begin to understand the local culture, our experiences and greater understanding will translate into great photos. To understand a culture you must understand the people, and people are most easily understood through food: everyone has to eat. In most cultures, food is a point of pride and a way for locals to share customs/traditions. When people eat, they are relaxed and they are enjoying themselves. Our Japanese guide's local knowledge will give us opportunities to share in this culture both in formal and informal settings throughout this tour. Aside from the food, we will use local transportation, trains, subways, buses
and ferries. We will only use a private van once during this trip. All of these things will help us stay more grounded and closer to the people, which is where we like to take our photographs. By the end of this trip you will have a greater understanding of how your camera works and how to get a great photo when you want to take a great photo. Our concern is not only a great travel experience but also a great photographic learning experience. Your photographer/instructor will help you every step of the way as we explore culturally significant and exquisite locales from Kyoto to Fukuoka. Your Japanese guide will help ease any communication gaps. All of this adds up to a great photography and cultural experience.
$5575 Includes all hotel accommodations (single occupancy) and local transportation. (8 Participants Maximum). To begin registration please click here: register now!
Transportation. You will be responsible for all international transportation requirements. This photo tour will begin in Kyoto (exact hotel and meeting location will be provided after registration) and end in Fukuoka. Please click here for more information on airports and trains to and from Kyoto and Fukuoka. Once the photo tour begins, all internal transportation costs are included in the registration fee. We will be using taxis, trains, busses, ferries and subways during this visit. When moving between cities we will use taxis to get from hotels to train stations. We will begin our trip with a meet and greet on March 9th in Kyoto and end with a farewell meal on March 19th although accommodations are provided through March 20th.
Accommodations. You will be staying in be predominantly three stars and above, with the exception of one night spent in a traditional 150 year old Japanese Inn (only shared sleeping arrangements are available at this location). The registration fee is for SINGLE occupancy. If you would like to book a double occupancy please let us know during your registration. Double occupancy registrations will be refunded $200 total.
Meals.On our journey we will try as many different Japanese foods as possible; everything from Ramen to Yakitori and Okonomiyaki, Kaiseki, Shabushabu, Tonkatsu, Bento boxes, and many other Japanese favorites. From simple Japanese fast food to elegant meals fit for royalty. We’ll even participate in a traditional tea ceremony. 31 meals total (8 Breakfasts, 7 lunches and 9 dinners are included in registration fee).
Documents.Visa requirements for visiting Japan. Citizens of most western countries with a valid passport are not required to apply for an entry visa to Japan for stays less than 30 days. For a list of which countries fall under this exemption please follow this link: VISA REQUIREMENTS. For those needing a visa please follow this link: Visa application. You are responsible for fulfilling your own visa requirements.
Itinerary. Our photo tour begins with a 5 night stay in Kyoto where we’ll visit Nijo Castle (World Heritage Site), Kiyomizu Temple(World Heritage Site), Higashi Honganji Temple, Fushimi-Inari Shrine, Chionin Gate, Sanjusangendo, and several others along the way. We hope to see Geikos/Maikos on the streets of Kyoto heading to work. We’ll also go a little further afield to the IM Pei Museum and the Moss Temple. After exploring and photographing the most historic and beautiful sites of Kyoto, we’ll head to the city of Kurashiki to spend one night among the 400 year old canals which wind through the preserved historical Bikan district. There will be time to take photos, wander the streets, and do some shopping too.
As we head further south towards Fukuoka by train, we’ll spend one night at the small island of Miyajima, the site of the famous vermilion colored Tori gate (UNESCO). With its picturesque seascapes, shrines, pagodas and colorful bridges, Miyajima will provide you more photos for your collection.
Day 8 finds us on a 2 hour train ride to Fukuoka. Here we’ll get a chance to participate in and photograph a traditional tea ceremony. The evening will begin with a gourmet buffet, to prepare us for a night on the town. We’ll end the day with a night shoot in the city.
Our trip the next morning will begin early as we head up a series of windy roads to Mt. Aso by private van. This all day excursion will finish at a 150 year old Inn near the top of mountain. Along the way we’ll stop for photo ops as well as a 230 year old organic farm owned and operated by our Guide’s cousin! There we’ll be served a uniquely traditional homemade lunch made with fresh produce gathered just outside the door. This will be a long day, but our efforts will be rewarded with an amazing Japanese barbeque and natural hot spring baths at the Inn where we’ll spend the night, much the same way travelers did 150 years ago – with the exception of the private van of course. We’ll all be sleeping on futons on the floor. Private rooms will depend on what’s available at the time of our arrival. Although arrangements will be made more than 6 months in advance, they try to accommodate as many travelers as possible as this is the only Inn at the top of this mountain. Please note that this is the only lodging on our tour that lacks a few modern conveniences like wifi, but I’m sure you will agree it is worth the trip.
After spending a quiet evening on at the Inn, we’ll continue our journey up the mountain to visit an active volcano (weather permitting) before heading back to Fukuoka. Along the way we’ll stop at the Kumamoto Castle, considered one of the three most beautiful castles in all of Japan. Our last day together will be in Fukuoka visiting Dazaifu and a Zen temple with beautiful grounds. We’ll say our farewells after an elegant lunch. Although hotel accommodations will be available through this night, some may choose to travel on or return home at this point.