June 26 - July 5, 2019   Katana & Armour Of The Samurai - Japan Photo Tour/Workshop

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Other cultures call it chivalry, in Japan it is known as Bushido. For the Samurai it is a code of honor and moral principles and a code that is unuttered and unwritten, influenced by the teaching of Zen Buddhism as well as Confucianism. This journey will descend us closer to those legends...

Together in a year-long quest to bring you this legendary tour, Blain and Arland Ben have joined forces and are proud to present a workshop like no other in Japan.

Enriched in history and forged in the late 13 early 14 century the Honjo Masamune Katana is legendary in Japan and known around the world. The Katana was considered a national treasure and after the second world war disappeared. Most agree today that the sword is hidden somewhere in Japan and its whereabouts still remains a mystery. Samurai craved to attain such an ultimate weapon and sought the most renowned master metallurgist to forge a sword and body armor that one could claim victory by presents alone. Our nine-day journey follows the path of the samurai and their quest to attain such a flawless Katana.

Day 1,2,
Arrival and pick up Tokyo, Haneda Airport, (HND)
Our first two days of exploration starts at Nikko UNESCO world heritage site, which honors the Tokugawa Shogunate and their generations that were honored to carry the Honjo Masamune Katana.

Day 3,
After breakfast in Nikko, we will take the bullet train to Nagoya and explore Nagoya Castle, Tokugawa Shogun Museum.

Day 4, 5, 6,
We will witness the ancient process of making Japanese katana swords then you will forge your samurai tanto. Samurai were precise in their preparation before going into battle; such is the same as a professional photographer. To master your equipment is as important as your skill. We will be given lessons on the significance of the samurai armor and how to handle and care for both the armor and katana.
Gifu Castle with a history of over 800 years. The legendary Daimyo Oda Nobunaga occupied the castle in 1567.

Day 7,
Monet’s pond a place of Zen and was inspired by such places far out of reach that only elite samurai enjoyed. Gujō Hachiman hilltop Samurai Castle, the hilltop location provides a picturesque view of the town and valley below.

Day 8,
After breakfast in Nagoya you will enjoy a two and half hour the Bullet train ride to Tokyo, and after checking in and refreshing yourself, we will go enjoy the atmosphere of Tokyo.

Day 9,
MASTER JAPANESE SWORDSMITH (by appointment only)
Now that we have experienced sword making for ourselves and understand the depth it takes to forge, we will be visiting a master swordsmith and his workshop. He is one of the best in Japan and has written books on Japanese swords. His works have been displayed at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Day 10,
Drop off and departure from Haneda, JP (HND).
Thank you, and we look forward to our next adventure together.

Why Choose this Photography Tour/Workshop?
•Photographers of all levels are welcome.
•All Camera formats are welcome, digital, handy camera, scoping with iPhone large format, film, etc.
•Photograph Japanese architectural masterpieces.
•Explore the authentic Samurai Japan.
•Learn the truth of the missing Katana Swords.
•Activity level leisurely - moderate.
•Two group leaders equal quality time with participants questions are always welcome and encouraged.
•Each evening and morning we discuss our best shooting options with our weather conditions so that you will be well prepared.
•2018 will be Blain's 21st year leading photo adventures in Japan.
•Arland Ben is a renowned visual artist and photographer, also a master metalsmith.

Tour Cost:
$10,000 Includes all lodgings based on double room occupancy, all breakfasts, and dinners, all ground group transportation, all entrance fees, all donations at shrines and temples, professional photo guide instruction, detailed itinerary with clothing and gear recommendations.  

Single supplement: $1350USD

Not Included:
•Flights to JPN & from JPN, Alcohol Beverages, Travel Insurance, Lunches, Hotel Amenities

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