Tour highlights Mt. Fuji, Snow Monkeys, Matsumoto Castle, Zen Buddhist Gardens, The Red-Crowned Cranes, The Steller's Sea Eagles, Sika deer, Whopper Swans, White Tailed Eagles, winter wonderland Hokkaido landscapes . This Japan photo tour workshop is all about our journey and photography, Blain your workshop leader enjoys the maximum amount of time in the field, while other tour groups are slumbering or in seminars, we will be in the field positioning ourselves for the photo opportunities of a lifetime!
Japan is 3000 kilometers long with 6,852 Islands; however, only 30% of Japan is populated. Japans wildlife is incredibly diverse and has flourished for millenniums. Thousands of animal species thrive in Japan, such as the Japanese Macaque or Snow Monkey and the largest herds of Sika Deer on our planet and over 600 bird species have been recorded to date. Winter in Japan is a wildlife photographers dream come true, and let us not forget the breathtaking landscapes and samurai, Buddhists, and Shinto architectural, cultural photo opportunities. Japan positively is the Exotic Winter photography adventure of a lifetime.
All our workshops are highly customized; we have been leading photo tours throughout Japan for over 20 years, and we know the right spots. All our staff is highly trained, and we drive only the newest suvs with business class seating.
After meeting we will drive to Mt. Fuji for our first nature adventure photographing the snow-capped world heritage site Mt. Fuji; we will photograph this iconic symbol of Japan between the golden and twilight, we will also, visit ice caves, and take a short hike in the volcanic forest at the base of Mt. Fuji.
After shooting sunrise on Mt. Fuji and breakfast we depart for Suwa Taisha Shinto Grand Shrine Complex, it is said to be the oldest shrine complex in existence across Japan. There are over 10,000 Suwa shrines across Japan, and we will visit the head shrine and photograph it’s most precious national treasures Japan holds, plus we will surely film Shinto maidens and priest in their traditional wear. Then we will drive under an hour and enter the world of the Samurai at Matsumoto Castle, locally known as Crow castle or Kurasu-Jo, due to its grandeur poised black exterior. Built in 1504, it’s unique samurai architectural design does not exist elsewhere in Japan, having both a secondary donjon and turret adjoined to its central keep. While photographing the interior of this original samurai castle, we will practice our low lighting techniques, which Blain will explain.
A little over an hour drive from Matsumoto, we enter Zen territory home of the Snow Monkeys in Jigokudani Joshinetsu-Kogen National Park, where you will have up-close and personal encounters with wild Japanese macaques as they enjoy the hot springs. They are the most northern-living nonhuman primate; they survive the snowy winter climate by soaking in the warmth of the healing hot springs, also in the region are volcanic steam vents keeping them warm on those cold nights.
After a full day of photographing Matsumoto Castle and Suwa Shinto Grand Shrine, we drive an hour, and we enter Japan Snow Monkeys Territory in Jigokudani Joshinetsu-Kogen National Park, where you will have up-close and personal encounters with wild Japanese macaques as they enjoy the hot springs. They are the most northern-living nonhuman primate; they survive the snowy winter climate by soaking in the warmth of the healing hot springs, also in the region are volcanic steam vents keeping them warm on those frosty nights. You will also, have the rare opportunity to visit a precious Buddhist shrine that houses national treasures said to be over a 1000 years old; Blain is friends with the head monk, and you can enjoy tea, as we photograph the treasures.
After Visiting with the snow monkeys, we transfer by plane to Japan's most northern Hokkaido. Wow, get ready Look Up? Red-Crowned Cranes, also known as snow ballerinas. Their courtship dance is know to be as graceful as ballerinas. They bow to one another, then raise their heads towards the sky and call in unison, the pair or the entire flock will leap into the air at the same time commencing in the courtship dance.
Following are two days photographing the Red-Crowned cranes, and other wildlife plus a sunrise that is rated top 3 on our planet in the Kushiro region, we make our way inland to the high alpine lakes of Hokkaido’s northwest. Comprising of Akanko, Kushiroko, and Mashuko Lakes, which are among the clearest and cleanest on our planet, and lake Mashuko is the 2nd cleanest on our planet, the mountainous landscape is breathtaking, and home to the first nations people of Japan the Ainu. The Ainu are world-class wood carvers and storytellers; we will visit with them photographing their museum-quality arts and crafts. We will experience the Ikor theatre, the Ainu performance of spiritual, cultural awakening, during the evening’s lomante fire performance where we will have press box seats, followed by fireworks by the lakeside. In the am, we will make ice bubbles so don't forget your micro lens.
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 the Steller's Sea Eagle, Red-Crowned Crane and Sika Deer up close and personal. •Film the largest herd of Sika Deer on our planet. •Transportation Private Sports Utility Vehicles with Business Class Seating. •Activity level leisurely - moderate. •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 Blain's 21st year leading photo adventures in Japan.
Tour Cost: $8500 Includes all lodgings based on double room occupancy, domestic flights in as described in the itinerary, all breakfasts lunches and dinners, all ground transportation sports utility vehicles with business class seating, all entrance fees, all donations at Buddhist- Shinto temples and shrines, photography guide instruction, receive a more detailed itinerary after sign up with clothing and gear recommendations.
Single Supplement: $1000
Not Included: Flight to and from Japan, travel health insurance, alcohol beverages, hotel amenities and items of a personal nature