October 20-28, 2018 Japan Autumn Leaves - Japan Photography Tour

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The autumn Japan photo tour that has the most breathtaking scenery Japan has to offer. You will feel humbled as we pilgrimage the time-honored route and embrace the ancient villages with there majestic landscapes shrines, temples and castles.

Our journey beings in Yatsugatake Chushin Kogen Quasi Nature reserve, in Japan Southern Alps. We will use the ancient pilgrim route that legendary 'Samurai-Takeda Shingen' was known to use with it’s many mirrored ponds while viewing Japanese autumn maple leaves and Mt. Fuji in the drop back a 130km away. This area is well known for observatories and the soothingly captivating night’s sky. We will dedicate an evening for astrophotography we will include the autumn’s breathtaking landscapes in our star-lit night sky. If you have never used an intervalometer don’t worry, our Japan photo tour leader Blain will help with interval shooting along with setup and if needed advice on post-processing during or after the tour via Skype, phone or email. After serval days exploring in Yatsugatake Mountain ranges, we will take a meandering scenic route to Ueda a samurai Castle Village where you will have the opportunity to experience the traditional Japanese community lifestyle and the Ueda castle colored leaves autumn festival. At the festival chefs from all over Japan gather to compete in the Yakitori Olympics, you will enjoy the atmosphere and cuisine of a Japanese barbecue. At the festival, many will be dressed in traditional Japanese clothing making for appealing cultural photo opportunities. Our lodging provide us with a traditional Japanese Yukata (a casual kimono) which you may wear while out on the town. While in the village we will visit Ueda Castle built in Edo architectural style, the alley of the zelkova is vividly lit up each evening. Bright and early we will arrive at Anraku-Ji Zen Buddhist Temple of Soto School, founded in the 8th century. In the temple grounds, there is an octagonal three-storied pagoda built in the late 1200’s and is the only of its kind in Japan, designated a National Treasure; it is said to be a serene point of spiritual zen healing. After experiencing traditional village lifestyle, we will visit Jigokudani-Yaen Koen - Joshinetsu Kogen National Park home to the wild Japanese macaque’s better known as the Snow Monkeys. Autumn is the mating season when little-photographed behaviors and fleeting encounters can be photographed with proper planning and preparations. Even rarely photographed Macaque facial expressions can be captured. Our tour leaders spend several weeks per year photographing and video-recording the wild snow monkeys in the valley and the hot springs, they are familiar with individual monkeys in the park, including their ranks and behaviors. Each evening we will go over the next day’s photo itinerary so you will be well prepared.  Sayōnara to the snow monkeys, next we enter the world of the Samurai at Matsumoto Castle National Treasure. Matsumoto Castle is also known as Crow Castle or Kuasu-Jo, due to its grandeur poised black exterior. The samurai fortress was built in 1504 which has a unique architectural design that does not exist elsewhere, having both a secondary donjon and turret adjoined to its central keep. From the outside, the castle unquestionably has five floors. However, the builders managed to perfectly hide the fact that on the inside there are six floors. The wood interior of crow castle provides an authentic experience unlike that felt at many other castles. Matsumoto Castle Honmaru Garden Chrysanthemum exhibition is spectacular for autumn flower photography Hanami (花見, “flower viewing,) along with the Japanese tea ceremony all in autumn colors with camera in hand. Suwako and Matsumoto are home to several of the oldest shrines and temples throughout Japan, you will be among the few to experience the beautiful autumn colored zen gardens.

Day 1, 2, Arrival and meet Tokyo, Haneda Airport, (HND)
Yatsugatake Chushin Kogen Quasi Nature reserve, alpine autumn colours, astrophotography, the philosopher’s tree on Takeda Shingen’s autumn pilgrimage route.

Day 3, 4, Ueda Village, Ueda Castle, and autumn festival, the alley of the zelkova trees, Anraku-Ji Soto Buddhist Temple founded in the 8th century. In the temple ground, there is an octagonal three-storied pagoda that was built in the late 1200's its the only one of its kind remaining in Japan and is designated a National Treasure.

Day 5, 6, Shibue Onsen Village, Snow Monkeys in Jigokudani-Yaen Koen - Joshinetsu Kogen National Park, Japanese maples in full colour cover the alpine autumn landscape.

Day 7, 8 National Treasure Matsumoto Castle, Tengu Jinja, Suwa Jinja, Zen gardens.

Day 9, Drop off and departure Tokyo, Haneda Airport, (HND).
Thank you, we look forward to the 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.
•Japanese Maples in Red, Orange, and Yellow.
•Photograph Snow Monkies in hot springs without the cold temperatures.
•Activity level leisurely - moderate.
•Get a feel for the real Japan, off the beaten tourist track.
•Transportation Private Sports Utility Vehicles with Business Class Seating.
•Small group size equals 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 the tour leaders 21st year leading photo adventures in Japan.

Tour Cost: $6200 Includes all lodging based on double room occupancy 3-5 star hotels, all breakfast, and dinners, all group ground transportation in sport utility vehicles with business class seating, all entrance fees, all donations at temples and shrines, professional photography guide instruction, detailed itinerary, clothing and gear recommendations.

Single Supplement: $1000

Not Included: Flights to JPN and from JPN, alcohol beverages, travel health insurance, lunches, items of a personal nature.

japan tour booking   Contact Blain

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