Temperatures have been too high to enjoy a Tokyo Photo Tour and our most popular tourist spots on the beaten path. At the moment, a heatwave has Japan in its clutches, and there is no immediate relief in sight. However, when I think of my experiences as an explorer and a photography workshop leader and think of the heat, my thoughts are fueled by the boiling-hot magma bubbling below the surface of Japan’s many active volcanoes. I know that true heat lies in locations difficult to see.
I also believe that a Tokyo Photo Tour means every location around Tokyo can be part of a photo tour. Recently, an area only an hour from Tokyo which is normally flooded with Japanese tourists and visitors from other counties looking to stay at a ryokan, a Japanese style inn, and relax in the milky white onsen has dramatically changed. Also, clients and I have visited a local geopark with its volcanic steam vents, but they are now closed and have been transformed into a literal hotbed of volcanic activity. Earthquakes have been shaking Japan recently, and natural phenomenon tend not to be isolated to one type of meteorological significant event. Earthquakes agitate Japan’s volcanoes and recent activity indicates, the volcanoes are doing some agitation of their own.
Research indicates that Japan is responsible for approximately 10% of the entire world’s earthquakes, and Japan’s location is where several tectonic plates intersect. In fact, the Philippine Tectonic Plate runs almost directly up to Tokyo, and the Eurasian Plate essentially bisects the nation’s main island, Honshu. All of these facets combined make Japan a seismically and volcanically very active country.
On two of my latest Japan photo tours, I used my connections and years of experience to gain access to an area that is under strict supervision by the Japanese Meteorological Agency due to the latests volcanic warnings. Returning to the same location as I had visited last year, I remembered the freshly placed power lines in a healthy forest that functioned as part of the means to measure local seismic and volcanic activity. As you can see in the picture attached to this blog post, the power lines used were bowed down to the point where they were essentially unusable, and the green, healthy forest destroyed. Mother Nature does not take kindly to unwanted supervision.
During the time spent in the limited access zone, two separate groups had the opportunity for an up-close and personal experience with Japan’s volcanic activity. One client, I did not take into the fields due to lack of experience in hot spots, and I believe I did not have the desire to indulge in such an adventure yet still took amazing photos around the perimeter of the area. However, my other group once given protective gear such as masks and the correct clothing entered the volcanically active zone and has a photographic record of the time spent, which he will treasure forever. As an explorer and photo tour leader, I have over 30 years experience in all types of terrains and environments, so even near a grumbling volcano, clients can safely photograph some of Japan’s more dynamic natural landscapes.