Duration: 12 nights / 13 days
Group Size: Max 10
Level of fitness required: Easy
Cherry blossom season in Japan is a magical time of year where a sea of white and pink flowering cherry blossom trees sweep over the entire country. The tour will focus on a mixture of landscape, street and portrait photography in various areas around Japan during this spectacular time of year.
We will explore different areas in Japan during full bloom of the cherry blossoms, but also visit areas and have options for cultural experiences that are incredible with or without the cherry blossoms. Like other weather related forecasts and yearly averages, it is impossible to always forecast correctly so far in advance. With the different places we will visit we will maximise the potential for the blossom as different areas & different variety of cherry blossom bloom during different stages of the season.
Our locations will include Tokyo, Hakone national park, Lake Kawaguchiko & Mt. Fuji, Kyoto, Nara, Himeji, Hiroshima, Miyajima & Osaka.
During the tour we will visit some locations using public transport. Japan has a public transport system unrivalled anywhere in the world for efficiency, cleanliness and coverage. The daily number of journeys on the Tokyo subway alone is in excess of 8 million yet despite its huge scope and vast number of lines navigating the system is really rather easy.
While on location you will receive dedicated one-to-one tuition to help hone your photography skills. Martin Rak will offer guidance on both the technical and creative aspects of landscape, street & portrait photography and always be at hand to provide feedback on your photographs. At each location we visit Martin will make suggestions and offer advice on how to create wow factor images.
Your tutor for this workshop is Martin Rak. Martin is a renowned Czech landscape photographer based in Prague. He got his first camera at the age of 6 and has been interested in photography ever since. He has been commended in many competitions and won awards such as SWPO National Award winner 2016 and 3rd place EISA Maestro 2016.
Martin’s work has been published in various publications, magazines and calendars around the world. He contributes to Black and White Photography Magazine, Practical Photography, Digital SLR Photography, GEO (Germany) and many others. Martin cooperates with the CzechTourism agency and Bohemian Switzerland National Park.
His photographs are typical with foggy scenery, dramatic light and dreamy mood.
Lee Filters have kindly donated a landscape filter set including various grads, ND filters and the BIG 10 Stopper, Lee have also provided a range of holders and rings, all of which will be available to use to participants on the workshops and will be demonstrated by the Tatra photography award winning tutors.
Any customers wanting to purchase their products can then buy from Robert White cameras or direct from Lee filters.
Day 1: Departure from UK.
Day 2: Transfer from Tokyo Narita Airport to Hotel followed by welcome Dinner at a local Restaurant.
Day 3: Full day exploring Tokyo using public transport. Locations will include Senso-Ji Temple, Shibuya Crossing, Meiji Jingu Shrine, Harajuku, Neon Lights of Shinjuku & Tokyo Metropolitan Building.
Day 4: Sunrise session in Tokyo. Breakfast followed by private transfer from Tokyo to Hakone via Fuji Five Lakes & Mount Fuji.
Day 5: Full day in Hakone national park.
Day 6: After the sunrise session & breakfast we will board the private coach and transfer to Odawara Station, where you will meet your first bullet train of the tour that will take us to Kyoto. Locations for this day will include Higashiyama: Kiyomizu-dera, Sannenzaka, Ninenzaka and Maruyama Park.
Day 7: Sunrise session in Kyoto. Breakfast followed by visiting Golden pavilion in Kinkakuji, rock gardens of Ryoanji & the suburbs of Arashiyama.
Day 8: Sunrise at Fushimi Inari Shrine. Breakfast followed by leisurely stroll along the tree-lined, traffic-free old Sosui Canal, better known as the ‘Path of Philosophy’ to Nanzen-ji Temple.
Day 9: Sunrise session in Kyoto. Breakfast followed by train ride to Nara. Nara was formerly the end of the Silk Road and was for this reason the area which first saw Buddhist teaching making the transition across the ocean from China and over into Japan. Location we will visit in Nara will include: Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Taisha & Nara Deer Park.
Day 10: Sunrise session in Kyoto. After breakfast we will take the Shinkansen from Kyoto on to Himeji where we will visit the famous ‘White Heron’ Castle. After we will transfer to Hiroshima with the Shinkansen where we will visit the Peace Memorial Park & museum. After that we will take the ferry across to Miyajima Island where we will stay tonight.
Day 11: Sunrise session in Miyajima. Breakfast followed by full day exploring on Miyajima.
Day 12: Train from Hiroshima to Osaka. We’ll explore the backstreets of Shinseki, an entertainment district that had it’s heyday in the 1950s. Today the district is an area of faded glory, a fascinating district for unstructured, instinctive street photography. From Shin-Osaka you’ll be boarding the Shinkansen for the journey to Tokyo. After check in we will head for farewell meal at a local restaurant.
Day 13: Private transfer to the airport.
Featuring an art deco style, Asakusa View Hotel is directly connected to Asakusa Station on Tsukuba Express Line. Each room at Asakusa View are warmly lit and feature floor-to-ceiling windows.
All rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV, en-suite bathroom that comes with a bath tub, shower and complimentary toiletries. The hotel is a 5-minute walk from Senso-ji Temple and Asakusa Shrine. as the name suggests, the upper floors command great views over Tokyo, with the sky bar a great place to unwind at the end of the day.
Resorpia Hakone Hotel features 2 restaurants – Restaurant Kirin serves Japanese specialities, while restaurant Hana offers Western as well as Japanese dishes. Air-conditioned rooms at Resorpia offer twin beds a TV and a minibar. The hotel also has hot spring baths.
All rooms come with a seating area, some with a chaise-longue and others with a Japanese-style area.
Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Sanjo is a smart modern hotel with welcoming lobby with view of a pleasant Japanese-style garden within the hotel grounds. Rooms are fairly compact but comfortable with modern amenities such as flat-screen TV.
The Mitsui Garden also provides a traditional Japanese bathhouse, perfect for a relaxing soak after a long day of sightseeing in Kyoto. The hotel has a great location in the centre of Kyoto.
‘Sanjo’ is the name of one of the main routes that runs west-east across the city, so you are well placed to explore the sights.
Founded in 1893, the Iwaso Ryokan was the first establishment to open its doors on Miyajima Island. Situated in a beautiful part of Momijidani Park, the original owner of the Iwaso also built a tea shop and planted the area with maple trees whose leaves turn a blaze of reds and oranges in the autumn. Iwaso was constructed in the ‘miya-daiku’ style, built by the same craftsmen who built Japan’s beautiful ornate Shinto shrines. The ‘Shinkan’ is the new building, opened in 1981 with modern exterior but classic Japanese style rooms with attached baths and toilets.
The Hotel Century Southern Tower is one of the best places to stay in Shinjuku. Located just 5 minutes walk from JR Shinjuku Station on the southern terrace opposite Takashimaya Times Square department store, the Southern Tower makes for the perfect base from which to explore not just Shinjuku but the whole of central Tokyo and beyond.
The lobby offers great views of the city and on clear days you can see Mt Fuji towering up in the distance. All rooms are stylishly decorated with modern earthy tones and high quality bed linen, flat screen TV’s, wifi.
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