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 offers.
Discover Japan with the authors of photo book “Japan/日本”
Summer is probably the best season 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 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 have unique and unforgettable experiences.
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, started in 2010 when they decided to leave everything behind 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 photo lovers and people who want to travel out of the beaten track in Japan. They organize a unique and unforgettable trip full of top-notch photographic opportunities and wonderful experiences during 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.
The meeting point to start our photographic journey will be Shin-Osaka station, Osaka, where we will catch a bullet train to Hakata Station, Fukuoka. After chcking in our hotel, we will have a welcome dinner to get to know each other before starting the adventure of the region of Kyushu. Dinner
We will witness and 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. Later, if you want, you can have dinner at the foods stands with local Japanese. Breakfast
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
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
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. Breakfast-Lunch
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 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
From pure landscape, we will move on to 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 watch and photograph Kagura dance and the gorges lighten up with lights. If you are interested, it is a good time to practice night photography with tripod. Breakfast-Lunch
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. Breakfast-Lunch
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 Hita. In the evening we will have a farewell dinner on a private boat. From the boat we will also watch and photograph the traditional fishing with birds, ukai, in the river. Breakfast – Dinner
From Hita we will travel to the Shinto shrine of Dazaifu on the way to Hakata by our private bus. From Hakata, we will take a shinkansen, bullet train, 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 some of them have thermal baths in their facilities to relax at the end of the day.
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.
Restaurants are carefully selected to enjoy the varieties of Japanese food from sophisticated kaisei to homemade local foods. Not to be forced to eat the same things together, some of the meals are not included. If breakafast or lunch is not included, since we normally go to a restaurant together for breakfast or lunch, you just choose what you would like to eat and you pay for it. If dinner is not included, each person can choose a restaurant to dine. If you don’t want to look for a restaurant, you can also go to a restaurant where the tour leaders go, and you just pay for what you eat.
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.
Once the first payment of the deposit has been made, these are the conditions of return of the deposit of €1.000:
Once the full payment has been made, these are the return conditions of the remaining of € 2,990:
“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!”
DATES: from July 14 to July 23, 2018 (10 days)
SEATS: from 6 to 10 participants
STATE: open to sign up
RESERVATION: send email to email@example.com
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