Sponsored by Blackrapid
Tour Date: November 20-29, 2017
Tour Price: $7,900 ***INCLUDES RT AIRFARE from USA gateway city
Registration Deadline: TBC
Single supplement $1200
Guest Pro: Jeff Cable - www.jeffcable.com/about.html
Sign-up early for M&M 10th Anniversary Discounts on ALL trips
- World’s largest fish market
- Ancient Kyoto
- Majestic Mt. Fuji and area
- Ancient Kamakura & Nikko
- Vibrant Tokyo
- Mt. Kota
- Mike Gulbraa has Intimate knowledge of Japan and the culture - Mike has been traveling to Japan since 1983
What’s Not Included
- International RT airfare from USA gateway city
- All hotel stays
- Meals as mentioned in the program
- Land transfer by Japan Rail including Bullet Train
- Admission fees to Temples & Shrines
- Any Passport and Visa arrangements
- Early check-in, late check-out surcharge
- Additional drinks and other personal expenses (alcoholic drinks, laundry, phone calls etc.)
- Any services not specifically mentioned in the tour program
- Tips for guides or baggage handlers
- Airport Taxes
Tour Itinerary – subject to change
The idea of this trip is to expose you to as much of Japan as possible but still keep you in many of the best photographic locations to give you an excellent cross-section of what Japan is and how she runs. This plan is meant to be flexible and we will monitor weather and other factors before finalizing things. Mike G lived in Japan for more than 10 years and has a great love of the country and many parts of her culture. Get ready to experience things you’ve only heard of or seen on TV!
Day 1 - Depart USA
Day 2 - Arrive in Tokyo Narita International in late afternoon/early evening where we’ll meet guests arriving on other flights and then we’ll take a train into Tokyo (Shinagawa area) then taxi to hotel & check-in. Once we are all settled-in at the hotel head out for dinner and then our first evening/night shoot. We have many options.
The entire time we are in Japan sunrise will be 6am with sunset about 5pm every day. We’ll have an average of 10 hours of light per day with a norm of about 5 hours of good sunshine each day. Temps will be anywhere from 35 to 70 degrees. Let’s keep an eye on the weather and plan & pack accordingly.
Day 3 - Today after breakfast we’ll travel to Kamakura via train (app. 1 hr.) where we’ll explore this former feudal capital of Japan. We plan to visit and photograph the following – Engaku-ji, Tokei-ji, Jochi-ji, Kencho-ji, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Jufuku-ji, Kotoku-in (Great Buddha), Hase-dera and we’ll wander the two most famous streets in Kamakura – Wakamiya Oji & Komachi Dori. Of course, something will catch your eye as we wander – feel free to shoot all you want. We’ll break for lunch and will also shoot Blue Hour in Kamakura and then have dinner there before heading back into Tokyo for the evening/night shoot where we have our choice of Ginza, Yurakucho, Akihabara, Kabukicho, or even Shibuya.
Day 4 - This morning we will rise VERY early (I suggest 3AM) and head to the world famous Tsukiji fish market to see if we can get lucky enough to be some of the 150 photographers they let in daily to shoot the tuna auction. If not, we improvise and find other things to shoot in this massive wholesale seafood/foods market. Once the market has calmed down we settle in for Sushi for breakfast – yes, sushi/sashimi for breakfast at one of the local shops. Does not get any fresher than this! During the day we’ll head to Meiji Shrine, The Imperial Palace area, Harajuku and in the early evening right before the height of rush hour we’ll hit Shibuya Crossing at Blue Hour and when done there have dinner and then head to the Shinjuku area where we’ll shoot the Golden Gai (AKA Piss Alley) – a spot of many small bars and eating places that are full of colorful people, spots and intimate scenes.
Day 5 - Free Day in Tokyo.
Day 6 - Leave Tokyo for Kyoto. We’ll take the bullet train to Kyoto and then take taxis from Kyoto Station to our hotel to check-in. Depending on arrival time we’ll either get our first shots of local temples/shrines OR make our way to the Gion District for photo opps of Maiko & Geisha – hopefully, we’ll get a Blue Hour shoot in as well.
Day 7 - Today we have a private bus for 8 hours while we wander the following Temples/Shrines to shoot them and the beautiful (hopefully) fall foliage. The bus will pick us up at 8AM (we can go out and shoot before this as well as long as we are back in-time to catch the bus). We will visit & shoot the following in order – Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavilion), Ryoan-ji (the most famous Zen Rock Garden in Japan), Ninna-ji, and then Tenryu-ji. We’ll have 90 minutes at each location. I have personally selected these locations for their beauty, abundance of Japanese Maple trees and other trees that turn color in the fall. We’ll also have a Japanese Bento box lunch on the bus while traveling between temples to save time and maximize our time today. After Blue Hour the evening will be spent at the Gion District again looking for images of Maiko & Geisha and of course, whatever catches your eye – street food-stalls, small eateries/drinking spots, and more.
Day 8 - Today we will wander Kyoto and visit several locations to shoot Temples, Shrines and the fall foliage. The plan is Kiyomizu-dera, Fushimi Inari, Nanzen-ji, Zenrin-ji, Eikando, Ginkaku-ji (The Silver Pavilion), and more if time permits. Good walking shoes are a MUST today. This evening we’ll end with a shoot and dinner at Ponto-Cho - a kilometer long, narrow pedestrian street lined with restaurants and bars. It is a former red-light district and has the Old Kyoto feel. It is great for taking photos in the early evening, and we might get a glimpse of Maiko walking past. We’ll select a Blue Hour location – like Ponto Cho and see what develops.
Day 9 - Leave Kyoto via bullet train for Osaka after breakfast and check-in at hotel and have lunch nearby. After lunch begin our shooting of Osaka.
Day 10 - Enjoy a full morning of shooting in Osaka before heading to airport for evening flights back to USA/home.
THIS PLAN IS TENTATIVE AND WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO FLIP (FLY INTO OSAKA AND OUT OF TOKYO) THE SCHEDULE TO ENSURE WE CAPTURE THE FALL FOILAGE AT ITS PEAK IN KYOTO.
If you have questions let us know. We look forward to traveling with you all and enjoying this trip above all.
Suggested photography gear – 2 camera bodies, lenses to cover at least 16-200mm (bring teleconverter to extend range and keep weight down) a 50mm prime with f/1.4 or even 1.8 is a great lens to have as well, plenty of memory, any filters you desire to shoot with, travel size tripod, laptop loaded with editing software, HDD/SSD to back-up images, camera cleaning gear, adapters for electrical outlets, and an open mind.
Thanks for joining us on this adventure!
M&M Photo Tours, Inc.
This trip is: Moderate
Easy = less than 2 miles walking/day and little climbing; Moderate = up to 5 miles walking per day with some climbing; Strenuous = more than 5 miles/day of walking and several climbing/hills/rough terrain expected. You should know your health and ability to carry your gear in hot, cold, humid, and dry conditions and be able to walk 5 miles or more per day and make climbs in elevation of up to 1000 feet in gain and be OK climbing many steps or steep terrain.
GUESTS SHOULD PACK LIGHT. YOU MAY BE EXPECTED TO CARRY, ROLL, SCHLEP, AND/OR OTHERWISE TRANSPORT YOUR OWN BAGS AT ALL TIMES AND IN ALL PLACES ON THIS TRIP. LAUNDRY SERVICES ARE ALWAYS AVAILABLE. M&M RULE OF THUMB IS ONE BAG FOR CAMERA GEAR AND ONE 20-22"" ROLLER FOR YOUR CLOTHES AND TOILETRIES. INVEST IN A TRAVEL TRIPOD - BENRO (http://www.benrousa.com/products/travel-angel-ii/) HAS MANY OPTIONS AVAILABLE. MEDICAL DEVICES SUCH AS CPAP MACHINES ARE EXCLUDED FROM THIS RECOMMENDATION. PACKING LIGHT WILL MAKE YOUR TRIP MUCH MORE ENJOYABLE.