JAPAN FALL FOLIAGE November 2-14, 2019
The beauty of Japan is seldom surpassed and never as stunning as during the peak of fall colors.
We'll hit the best of Tokyo, Nikko, Kamakura, Kyoto, Mt. Koya, and more during our adventure.
This trip includes images of cityscapes, landscapes, awesome temples and shrines, people, and more.
M&M will you show sides of Japan many do not get to see.
About the Tour
Per person double occupancy
International Airfare INCLUDED
Single Supplement Optional
$2,200 USD due at time of booking
Tour Guest Limit
12 Guest Maximum
90 Days before departure
This price is inclusive of Round Trip economy airfare from USA gateway city. See below for more details.
Tour Pricing Info
M&M Guide Photographer
International RT airfare from USA gateway city
All hotel stays
Meals as mentioned in the program
Land transfer by Japan Rail including Bullet Train
Japan fall foliage
Ancient Kamakura & Nikko
Mike Gulbraa has Intimate knowledge of Japan and the culture - Mike has been traveling to Japan since 1983
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
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!
November 02 – Depart USA
November 03 – 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 with Mt. Koya potentially being colder. Let’s keep an eye on the weather and plan & pack accordingly.
November 04 - 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.
November 05 - 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.
November 06 - Head to Nikko via train (app. 2hrs.) after an early breakfast. Arrive and check-in at our hotel (right across street from station). Head out to begin the day of shooting – Kanmangafuchi Gorge, Shinkyo Bridge, Toshogu Shrine & Complex, Taiyuibyo, Rinnoji, Futarasan Shrine, and more as time permits. We’ll time our day to be in a good location for Blue Hour.
November 07 - Leave Nikko for Mt. Fuji area (app. 4-5 hrs. depending on bullet train connections). We’ll experience a Japanese Bento box lunch on the train as well as other typical Japanese travel foods. Check-in to lodging and prepare for our Blue Hour and evening shoot of Mt. Fuji.
November 08 - Sunrise of Mt. Fuji and then out to explore the area for more images of Mt. Fuji and surrounding lake(s) and landscapes. Shoot Blue Hour again from a different location.
November 09 - Leave Mt. Fuji area for Kyoto after our sunrise shoot of Mt. Fuji. 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.
November 10 - 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.
November 11 - 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.
November 12 - Leave Kyoto via our private bus for Mt. Koya – check-in at Temple and have lunch nearby. After lunch begin our shooting of local temples/shrines – Okunoin, Torodo Hall, Kongobuji, Banryutei Rock Garden, Danjo Garan, Konpondaito Pagoda, and more
November 13 - Start morning with participation in morning prayers at Temple we stay at. After breakfast we’ll continue our shooting of Mt. Koya in AM & PM of places we don’t hit the day before and we may even shoot Blue Hour in the Okunoin Cemetery or surrounding area.
November 14 - Depart Mt. Koya and take train to Osaka International for flights home.
If you have questions let us know. We look forward to traveling with you all and enjoying this trip above all.
Thanks for joining us on this adventure!
PACK LIGHT – 1 BACKPACK/BAG FOR CAMERA GEAR & ONE 22” ROLLER FOR CLOTHES. WE WILL MOSTLY USE TRAINS AND BUSES TO TRAVEL.
We use local boutique hotels and other establishments that give us access to great photos, food, and transport.
More specific information on accommodations will be provided on a closer date to the tour.
What To Take (These are only suggestions, they are NOT required!)
Our list of Recommended Gear for your Photo Tour
· 2 camera bodies—the same manufacturer that will fit all your lenses
· Camera battery charger and cords
· CompactFlash/SD Cards (bring as much memory as possible. At least 40 gigs)
· Card Reader for file transfer
· External hard drives for back up (we recommend a minimum of a 500GB drive)
· Black Rapid camera strap
· Extra batteries (lots!)—best packed in checked luggage even when traveling abroad
· Lenses (Depending on the tour) Medium telephoto, Fixed, Wide angle & Macro lens that give you a wide range
of length. 10mm to 500mm if possible
· 1.4x or 2x teleconverter for the telephoto—same brand as lens
· Tripod and head
· Flash—strobe with automatic TTL fill flash capabilities or Reflector
· Photo backpack
· Lens cloth and cleaning fluid
· Blower ball for dust
· Circular polarizing filter
· Grad ND filters
· Rain sleeve for camera and lens
· Cable or electronic shutter release
· Laptop computer (travel size such as a netbook)
· Current version of Photoshop or Lightroom
· International power adapter
· Multiple plug power strip & adaptor to gain electric outlets in your room for simultaneous downloading & recharging
· Sensor cleaning supplies
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 ( HAS MANY OPTIONS AVAILABLE. MEDICAL DEVICES SUCH AS CPAP MACHINES ARE EXCLUDED FROM THIS RECOMMENDATION. PACKING LIGHT WILL MAKE YOUR TRIP MUCH MORE ENJOYABLE.
Tour Difficulty = Easy
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.
Pursuant to Clause 2 under Enrollment: If you need to cancel within a stated refund period, M&M Photo Tours, Inc. may allow you to apply all monies paid to a future trip, within 12 months. We must receive written notification (E-mail is accepted) of your cancellation and your desire to apply the funds to a future trip.
We strongly recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance as this policy is strongly adhered to. The purchase of travel insurance covering baggage, accident/life and trip cancellation is highly recommended. M&M Photo Tours, Inc. reserves the right to cancel any trip/tour/group due to insufficient registration at any time. In the even of such cancellation, those with reservations shall be notified as soon as possible and a full refund of trip payment will be given. It is agreed by registering for any M&M Photo Tours, Inc. tour that M&M Photo Tours, Inc. assumes no responsibility for refund or additional expenses incurred in preparation for a trip.
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