Being able to host Niigata Private Photo Tours is one of the pleasures I and our photo workshop leaders at Blain Harasymiw Photography enjoy because of our proximity to the prefecture’s capital city. With so many amazing photogenic sites in regions such as Tokyo and Yamanashi, my staff members and I are often asked by our clients why we moved one of the main offices to Niigata prefecture. The answer is simple. Niigata prefecture is an off the beaten path location treasure trove that appeals to visiting photographers who are interested in something beyond the tours that everyone without insider information takes when they visit Japan. The Blain Harasymiw Japan Photo Tour/W,orkshop experience is something that can’t be found with the common tour companies.
For example, in a small section of Niigata prefecture, there is an off the beaten path shrine called Asaiino Shrine. The shrine’s history goes back nearly 1700 years. Part of the temple’s name written in traditional kanji carries the meaning of the rising sun, a symbol that most people find synonymous with the country of Japan itself. As is common with temple entrances in Japan, Asaiino Shrine has the same torii or gate as an entrance and demarcation of the spiritual realm that you enter the temple grounds. However, at the golden hour, which is when we would recommend you first set eyes of the temple, the gate reflects the brilliance of the sun’s embrace changing from the standard red and appearing as a glittering amber. It is a once in a lifetime photograph, and your Blain Harasymiw Photo Tour Workshop Guides look forward to introducing you to this opportunity.
The deity that the shrine is built around is Honda Wake no Mikoto. It is said that this deity is credited with starting rice cultivation in the area. With Niigata having the most famous rice, vegetables, and produce in all of Japan, we are very thankful for this contribution! You may only be visiting Niigata for a short time, but as your photo workshop leader I recommend that you sit down and sample the delicious harvest of delicious rice with fresh vegetable fish and or meat before returning to Tokyo or back home.
Another part of the temple that showcases Niigata’s off the beaten path merit is the verdant landscape the makes up the shrine’s grounds. As you pass the gates onto the grounds, nature unfolds all around you as you are caressed by the healing power of shinrin-yoku, or forest therapy. While you take numerous gallery worthy photos, you can also enjoy the forest’s natural ability to help center and calm you on your Niigata Private Photo Tour. As you scale the gently graded stone steps to the main hall of the temple, I recommend glancing backwards to enjoy the view of the forest on either side of the path, the gate, and the soothing pond in the background of your view. It makes a spectacular photo as well as a spiritually fulfilling perspective.
There is one more must see spot beyond the main hall of the shrine, which we at Blain Harasymiw Photography recommend that you participate in. We will make the donation on your behalf, but you must ring the bell yourself. After that, as you stroll the perimeter of the shrine, you will find a large stone called the Holy Spirit Stone. Two things will stand out immediately for you. The first is that you’ll want to take a picture to commemorate your viewing of the stone, and, second, you will want to know why such is stone has been placed behind a temple. The stone beyond being a great photo op also demarcates a power spot, a region which emanates power to those who approach it. The myth is that if you make a wish while you are in contact with the stone, the chances of your wish being granted are greatly increased. We always wish for breathtaking photos, and we’ve never been disappointed yet.