Shikoku is probably the least known island of the four main islands that make up Japan. However, it is where one can discover the true spirit of the Japanese country away from the touristic crowded areas. The mixture of culture, religion, landscape and rural atmospheres far from the big cities gives us infinite opportunities to unleash our creativities.
Shikoku is famous especially for the Buddhist pilgrimage route of 88 temples known as “Route Ohenro”, a route similar to the Christian pilgrimage, “camino de Stantiago”, in Spain. We will visit some of the most impressive Buddhist temples of the route that we have selected from our own experience. We will also visit some small islands of Setouchi, Inland Sea of Japan. These small islands have practically turned into open-air museums from the sleepy depopulated islands. Now a modern art festival is celebrated every three years in the small islands attracting tourists and art lovers from all over the world. We will explorer one of the deepest valleys in Shikoku to enjoy the nature and sleep in a renovated Japanese farm house in a picturesque village. We will also witness one of the most special autumn festivals in this region. You will real Japan in this Photo Tour to Japan, not prepared Japan for tourists.
Discover Japan with the authors of the photo book “Japan/日本”
Toru Morimoto and Tina Bagué, both professional photographers, have organized a dream trip to Shikoku to enjoy rural Japan in traditional villages, discover some of the best temples of Rout Ohenro that scatter all over Shikoku, and experience a relaxing life in small islands of Inland Sea of Japan, know as Setouchi. Sleeping in handpicked hotels and ryokan, enjoying Japanese authentic dinner, kaiseki, as well as delicious local food, travelling by a private bus, and visiting placing off the beaten tracks are some of the elements that make this tour more special.
This Photo Tour to Japan is not just a trip for photographers, but also for everyone how wants 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 Japan together 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.
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Once the reservation is made the participants will receive a dossier with the complete information of the tour. For now this is a small introduction of the photo tour to Japan.
The meeting point of our organized tour to Shikoku will be Sannomiya Station in Kobe. In the afternoon, we will catch a bus that will take us directly to the city of Takamatsu. We will check in at a hotel located at the port of Takamatsu with the great view of Setouchi, Inland Sea of Japan. We will dine at the hotel. At night if you want, you can stroll around the city of Takamatsu. Our adventure in Shikoku will start next day. Takamatsu will be hub for us during the first days, permitting us to travel to the islands of Setouchi, and the northern part of Shikoku from there without changing hotel. Dinner
Today, we will dedicate all day to discover two small islands of Setouchi, Ogijima and Megijima. The both islands are just a few kilometers away from Takamatsu and also the venues of triennial Setouchi Art Festival. Although the festival is not held this year, many of the art works are permanently displayed outdoor and make up very interesting contemporary scenery with traditional Japanese landscapes. For example, even without walking, we can see the artful Ogijima ferry terminal designed by Jaume Plensa at the old port of Ogijima. Ogijima with two kilometers of length and one kilometer of width has about 200 houses built on the steep slopes of the island with maze-like small streets. Megijima is slightly bigger. We will enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the both islands and take pictures of beautiful landscape of Inland Sea of Japan, dotted with small islands. Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
We will leave Takamatsu toward to the city of Naruto by our private bus. The first stop of today’s trip will be a temple of Route Ohenro. We will see and take pictures of the garden and inside of the temple decorated with warmly lit-up paper lanterns. We might able to photograph some Japanese pilgrims there. From there, we will go to see a theatre of traditional Japanese puppet. In the afternoon, we will head to Naruto Strait where we will get on a boat to see the impressive whirling tides from a short distance. After sunset, we will go back to Takamatsu. Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Naoshima that used to be anonymous island became a well-known island recently in and outside of Japan. Naoshima, headquarter of Setouchi Art Festival, has a few important museums designed by famous Japanese architect, Tadao Ando, also famous huge pumpkin artwork by Yayoi Kusama. Modern art, nature, architecture, landscape and slow life melt together beautifully in this island. We will spend the whole day, wondering around the island and capturing the essence of the life in the island. Breakfast-Dinner
We will wake up early to be the first visitors of the impressive Japanese garden, Ritsurin Garden, one of the best Japanese gardens in Japan. We will have a Japanese breakfast in the garden. Afterward, we will head to Kotohira-gu shrine, known as Konpira-san, one of the most popular shrines in Shikoku. Konpira-san stands on a mountain at the end of a long path with more than 700 steps. (more than 1300 steps to the inner shrine!) But the great view from the main shrine compensates all the efforts to go up the steps. In the evening we will retreat to a ryokan, Japanese style inn, and enjoy authentic kaiseki dishes and hot springs bath to relax our bodies and mind. Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Before we proceed to the heart of Shikoku, we will visit one of our favorites temples of Route Ohenro, hidden in a mountain. From there, we will head to the gorges of Oboke and Koboke where we get on a boat to enjoy the gorges. Later we move to deeper into the valley where we will find vine bridges to cross the river. This night, we will stay at a renovated Japanese traditional house in a village lost in the heart of Shikoku, which will be very unique and wonderful experience. We will be divided into two or three groups to sleep in two or three houses. Breakfast-Dinner
We will leave Iya valley toward to the city of Kochi where we will visit the third temple of Route Ohenro. In lunchtime, we will go to a market where there are various local food stands. It is the perfect place to taste famous tataki bonito of Kochi that is cooked in a traditional way. In the afternoon, we will head to the city of Matsuyama that is famous for the one of the three oldest hot springs in Japan, Dogo Onsen. Dogo Onsen, is housed in a photogenic old Japanese house of Meiji period. Also we will visit Kochi Castle, one of the most appealing castles in Japan. We will stay at a ryokan. If you want, you can take a walk in yukata (thin kimono) and geta (Japanese wooden sandals), take pictures around or take a bath in Dogo Onsen. Breakfast-Dinner
We will leave Matsuyama toward to Uchiko to see the old streets of the village with well-conserved traditional architectures of Edo period (17th-19th century). Later, we will head to Shimanami Kaido, a road that connects various small islands. We will reach until Innnoshima island to see “500 Rakan”, stone sculptures of disciples of Buddha, stand on the top of the hill from where we can see the spectacular view of Setouchi, Inland Sea of Japan. After watching a beautiful sunset going down on small islands in Setouchi, we will go to a hotel at the city of Imabari to spend a night. Breakfast
We will spend he last two days of our Shikoku tour in Shodoshima Island, the second biggest island in Setouchi, famous for the soy sauce production and the plantation of olives. We will leave Imabari to Takamatsu to catch a ferry to Shodoshima Island. We will visit a soy sauce caller, terraced rice fields, and in the evening witness with local people Kabuki, traditional Japanese theatre, performed by the villagers in an outdoor wooden Kabuki theatre with thatched roof. It will be unforgettable experience. Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
We will finish our Photo Tour to Japan with one of the most popular autumn festivals in Shikoku. In the festival, many portable shrines carried on the shoulders of a group of men gather in a shrine. This festival is also know as Taiko (Japanse drum) Festival because each portable shrine carries children on top who play taiko while a group of men agitate the portable shrine on their shoulders. It is amazing especially when all men hold up the portable shrine off their shoulders up in the air with full of strength. This is a 100% Japanese experience with few or no foreign tourists around, but only with authentic local Japanese people, which is a perfect ending for our Shikoku tour. In the afternoon, we will get on a ferry that takes us to the city of Himeji. The tour ends at the station of Himeji. From there, each of us can choose their next destination. One can stay in Himeji to see Himeji Castle, another can head to another city. Breakfast
During our photo tour to Japan we will combine nights in ryokan with nights in western hotels. Whether they are traditional Japanese inns or western hotels, all of them are mid-high or high class with good reputation or selected by tour leadres from their experiences.
The rooms will be twin room (with two beds), so participants who come alone will share a room with another single participant. There might be some nights with a single room if twin rooms are not availble. If you wish to stay in a single room for the whole trip, you must pay a supplement. But single room might not be available in some of the accommodations, and you have to share a twin room with another participant. (In that case, we will return propotional part of single supplement fees.)
Restaurants are carefully selected to enjoy the varieties of Japanese food from sophisticated kaisei to homemade local food. Not to be forced to eat the same things together, some of the meals are not included. If breakfast 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 the €1.000:
Once the full payment has been made, these are the return conditions of the remaining of € 2,990:
“Discover Shikoku with Toru Morimoto and Tina Bagué, both professional photographers specialized in Japan. An adventure away from the crowds and tourist areas. Capture the true spirit of Japan!”
PREU: € 3,990DATES: from the 6th to 15th of October, 2018 (10 days)PLACES: from 5 to 10 participantsESTAT: open to sign up
RESERVES: BOOK NOW
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