Opening a satellite office in Niigata also meant becoming very familiar with the prefecture, from top to bottom. Niigata Private Photo Tours allow me to show clients the authentic elements of Niigata.
One element of Niigata prefecture that I always try to include in Private Photography Workshops is Sado Island. It is only a short ferry or jetfoil ride away from the body of Niigata prefecture, but its local culture and customs set it apart.
The first element is for birders. Any birding photographer should visit Sado for the sake of capturing the rare Crested Ibis, or Toki, on film. There are birds that call their domain the conservation center, but the efforts of local conservationists have brought the birds back from the brink of extinction. However, this internationally protected bird is still in a fragile state, still recovering.
The first Toki was documented in 1874, but there are pieces of art from all over Japan that depict the Crested Ibis dating back to the Tokugawa Shogunate, which started in 1600. The Toki is a bird most comfortable in wetlands, swamps, and marshes, places typically devoted to cultivating rice, so, naturally, the prefecture most famous for rice in all of Japan would be a location the Crested-ibis would enjoy inhabiting. Sightings outside the conservation center are rare, but anything is possible while birding with me and my colleagues at Blain Harasymiw Photography!
However, there are still several other species that you can photograph during your visit on a Niigata Private Photo Tour. Duck species such as the Mallard, the Northern Pintail, the Eurasian Teal, and the Tufted Duck can all be spotted during winter.
One other must-see element is the Kodo drumming troupe. Founded in Sado, the taiko drumming troupe tours all over Japan and internationally as well. If you visit Sado, even if just for a half day, I highly recommend that you set aside some time to capture the rhythmic vibrations and motions of the Kodo with their mesmerizing performances, several members are now taking part in the ‘One Earth Tour 2019: Michi’ traveling to destinations all over Japan to share the rich culture that is Taiko drumming. The songs and performances will yield some of the most amazing action photography as the drummers sway and lunge toward their taikos and let loose a wild symphony for your enjoyment.
The video attached to this blog is of a recent impromptu performance where one of the drummers decided to give a brief demonstration of just how moving a Kodo performance can be. There’s always something breathtaking happening on Sado Island. Contact me at blaininjapan.com, and I’ll create a Niigata Private Tour itinerary for you!