Kyushu is the third largest island in Japan; a region of impressive landscapes with active volcanoes, a cultural heritage recognized by UNESCO, the Mecca of the production of dried bonito in Japan (an essential product of Japanese cuisine) and a destination little known by the foreign visitors. Despite of being connected by bullet train, shinkansen, with the main island of Japan, the distance from the big cities like Tokyo and Kyoto makes it hard for foreign visitors to venture to visit and spend days there during their limited stays in Japan. Akashi Photo Tours will make the way easier and take you there to discover all the charms Kyushu has for photographers who want to capture them.
Discover Japan with the authors of photo book “Japan/日本”
Summer is probably the best season for photographers to visit Kyushu. In July, Gion Yamakasa, one of the most important summer festivals in the country, takes place. This festival with more than 700 years of history is registered as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Also the landscapes of the tea fields, the terraced rice fields, and the plains around the Mt. Aso reach their most intense green at this time. The active volcanoes through the year also add a touch of excitement to the journey.
Getting around the extensive island of Kyushu by public transportations is not an easy task, so most of the time we will travel with a private minibus with a professional driver. In that way, we can concentrate on finding the best pictures in the best possible locations. We will also use bullet train, shinkansen, to speed up our journey. We will tour the third biggest island in Japan from top to bottom and from left to right. We will stay in some luxury ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) as well as in western hotels. In ryokan, we will enjoy the famous kaiseki, artistic Japanese cuisine, and soak ourselves in hot springs to relax our bodies and minds. This is not a trip just for photographers, but also for those who want to enjoy good food and wonderful cultural experiences as well!
Toru Morimoto and Tina Bagué are both professional photographers with more than 20 years of experience behind them. Both have been traveling together in Japan since 2002. Their photo project, The Japan Photo Project, has started in 2010 when they decided to leave everything behinde in Spain and spend a whole year of their life (365 days) photographing Japan from the northernmost island of Japan (Hokkaido) to the tropical islands of Okinawa, with a motorhome. As a result of this road trip, they published their first co-authored book “Japan/日本”.
The fact that Toru Morimoto is Japanese and has lived half of his life in Japan and the other half abroad, and that Tina Bagué is Spanish and has traveled countless times to Japan makes them the perfect couple to guide and lead a small group of amateur or semi-professional photographers to create a unique and unforgettable trip with full of top-notch photographic opportunities during the 11 days of this adventure.
Once the reservation is made the, participants will receive a dossier with the complete information of the tour itinerary. For now this is a small introduction day by day of the tour.
DAY 1. The meeting point to start our photographic journey will be Hakata station in Fukuoka. For those who wish to travel with us to Hakata station, we can meet at Shin-Osaka station, where we will catch the bullet train to Hakata Station. (The fees of bullet train is not included.) We will all meet at Hakata station in Fukuoka at the evening. After chcking in our hotel, we will celebrate with a welcome dinner to get to know each other before starting the adventure of the region of Kyushu for the next ten days. Dinner.
DAY 2. We will photograph the Gion Yamakasa festival in Hakata. The electrifying atmosphere and the speed at which events happen is a first-rate photographic challenge. At dusk we will approach to the riverside, where the picturesque street food stands, yatai, are ready to open. It is a good place to mingle with local people in a casual atmosphere. We will test the good resolution of our cameras in low light situations. Later, if you want you can have dinner at the foods stands with local Japanese. Breakfast.
DAY 3. We will travel to the city of Kagoshima by bullet train, shinkansen. From there we will take a private mini bus to visit Sakurajima, Japan’s most active volcano currently with several ash eruptions weekly. Upon returning to Kagoshima, we will stay at a luxurious hotel overlooking Sakurajima from the the outdoor thermal bath. Good chance to photograph Sakurajima with sunset light. Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
DAY 4. Kyushu is also known for its extensive tea plantations. We will approach the plantations to capture the suggestive undulations of their shrubs and visit a distillery of shochu, Kyushu’s famous distilled drink. In the afternoon we will experience the incredible sensation of being buried in very hot sand. Due to the thermal water of the beaches of the area, which naturally heats the sand. We will spend the night in a ryokan, Japanese style inn, by the beach with beautiful views and traditional kaiseki food of the area. Breakfast -Lunch-Dinner
DAY 5. Another attraction of this region is the elaboration of katsuobushi, dried bonito, a basic and essential element of the Japanese cuisine. We will visit one of the factories that make katsuobushi in an almost artisanal way and photograph part of the process. In the afternoon we will take the bullet train again to move to the city of Kumamoto. We will stay in a hotel with the view of Kumamoto Castle from your room. During the evening we will do personal reviews of the pictures taken until this point. Breakfast-Lunch
DAY 6. We will spend the whole day visiting the Aso National Park. If conditions are good (depending on the volcanic activity of the day and the gases it produces) we will drive to the top of the crater of Mount Naka to capture the incredible beauty of its interior. We will continue our photographic tour through the immense caldera capturing the intense green of its valleys and small hills. We will stay in a hotel with the view of the Aso National Park from your room. Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
DAY 7. From pure landscape photography, we will move on to capturing the essence of Japanese mythology in the small town of Takachiho. We will visit the mysterious cave of the Shinto shrine, Amano Iwato. In addition, the gorges of Takachiho make up one of the most beautiful sceneries one can imagine. At night, we will photograph Kagura dance and the gorges lighten up with lights. A good time to practice night photography with tripod. Breakfast-Lunch
DAY 8. Once in the province of Oita we will portray the great faces of Buddha carved in stone in full nature. Later we will head towards the city of Beppu, known for its hot spring village filled with columns of white steam. Its public baths anchored in the past as well as its narrow streets are worth being captured by curious eyes. In the evening we will hold the second session to review photos. Breakfast-Lunch
DAY 9. We will spend the morning strolling the streets of Yufuin, located in a valley surrounded by mountains, farms and rice fields. After lunch we will travel to Kurokawa Onsen, one of the most authentic and well-preserved hot springs villages in Japan. We will stay at a hotel with breathtaking views over the valley. Tonight we will all meet for “slideshow night” to see a projection of the best images of each participant. Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
DAY 10. This day we will photograph the summer festival in the city of Hita. In the evening we will have a farewell dinner on a private boat. From the boat we will also photograph the traditional fishing with birds, ukai, in the river. Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
DAY 11. From Hita we will travel to the Shinto shrine of Dazaifu. This will be our last stop and from there we will return to Hakata by our private bus to catch the bullet train back to Osaka. Breakfast
Eating and sleeping in Japan is not a mere process, quite the opposite. Traditional food and accommodation is a very important part of the Japanese experience, as well as the photographic work.
We will combine nights in ryokans with nights in western hotels. Ryokan, traditional Japanese style inn, with tatami room, kaiseki food and thermal baths, offers a myriad of photographic opportunities, from the beauty of the dishes to the minimalist aesthetics of the rooms.
Whether they are traditional Japanese inns or western hotels, they are all medium-high to high class and almost all of them have thermal baths in their facilities to relax at the end of the day.
Most of the meals are included in the price except for some days. In total there will be 1 lunch and 4 dinners are not included.
If anybody has allergy or food intolerance problems, or is a vegetarian, we will try to make the necessary changes in the menus when it is possible.
The rooms will be basically twin rooms (with two beds), so participants who come alone will share a room with another single participant. There might be a few nights that everyone sleeps in a single room when there is no twin rooms available. If you wish to stay in a single room for a whole trip, you must pay a supplement. And in the case of this trip, single room might not be available in some of the accommodations.
In case of cancellation once the first payment of the deposit has been made, these are the conditions of return of the deposit, 1.000 €:
In case of cancellation once the full payment has been made, these are the return conditions of the remaining €2.490 (or €2.990 if 8 or 7 participants, or €3,490 if 6 participants):
“Discover Kyushu with Toru Morimoto and Tina Bagué, both professional photographers specializing in Japan. An adventure away from the crowds and tourist areas. Capture the true spirit of Japan!”
PRICE: 3.490€ (if 8 or 7 participants €3.990, if 6 participants €4,490)
DAYS: 11 DAYS. from the 14th to the 24th of July 2017
SEATS: from 6 to 10 participants
RESERVATION: send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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