JAPAN IN FALL
November 10 – 20 2023
Very excited to restart the unique photography expedition in my dear country, Japan ! Japan is a country with serenity and tradition, multifaceted and complex culture, non-stop flux of technology development. You will visit the 2 iconic cities, Tokyo and Kyoto. I would like to show you the deepest traditions as well as the extreme modernity. The photo opportunity is countless and abundant. The focus on this program is to hone your skill of story telling by capturing this unique culture and people. November is the most beautiful time of the year with the transient beauty of the fall foliage. It would surely add the flavor to your images. The culinary experience is also the highlight of this trip, tasting variety of Japanese cuisine. Don’t forget “Wagashi”, the Japanese delicate sweets !
Tokyo: Capital of the country, a vibrant hub of everything. We stroll into every corner of this gigantic city, experience the tranquil tradition of Kabuki, the high-speed daily life of Tokyoites and immerse into “Otaku” culture.
Kyoto: Everything tradition, it’s in Kyoto. Striking temples, Zen rock gardens, mysterious Geisha, elegant Kaiseki dinner… You will be drawn back to ancient time of Japan. With the full color of the fall foliage, this exquisite city looks even more magical.
November. 10(Fri) – 20th(Mon). 2023
Tokyo…. 4 nights (Nov. 10 – 13, Nov. 19 - 20.)
Kyoto…. 5 nights (Nov. 13 – 18.)
Mt. Koya…. 1 night (Nov. 18 – 19. )
Tokyo, Kyoto, Mt. Koya - 10 nights /11 days
double occupancy TBA (around $8,000)
single occupancy TBA (around $9,000)
Rates are per person, U.S. Dollars. Program rates include all accommodations, all ground transportation, some meals (see the itinerary), entrance fee for temples and gardens.
International Airfare to/from Tokyo
Airport transfer to/from hotel in Tokyo
Arrive in Tokyo Narita Airport ( or Haneda Airport ) at your convenient time.
Transfer from the airport to hotel in Tokyo and check in.
We will meet at the hotel in the evening for welcome dinner and first presentation.
Hotel: Hyatt Regency Tokyo, (Dinner)
Start the program by visiting Asakusa, the oldest districts in Tokyo. Sensouji, a Buddhist temple, and Kaminari-mon, a gate with giant lantern, are breathtaking. Neighborhood used to be an entertainment district during Edo period (400 years ago !) and still maintains the atmosphere.
Lunch for “Okonomiyaki”, a popular pan fried food with selected toppings of meat, sea food, vegetable. Cook it ourselves on the iron griddle is fun and yummy !
World-famous electronics town is now the mecca of Japan’s “otaku-culture” such as anime and manga. It is a birth place of J-pop girls phenomenon and “maid-café”. We venture into Japan’s modern insanity !
Visit the center of youth culture & fashion. “Takeshita Street ”, the main street, will be packed with thousands of teenagers. Their style varies from lolita, punk, gothic, hip hop… you name it !
The town with youth fashion and culture is now world-famous for its largest intersection, “Shibuya Scramble Crossing”. Let’s capture this “organized chaos” !
Hotel: Hyatt Regency Tokyo, (Breakfast, Dinner)
Toyosu Fish Market:
The world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market was relocated to Toyosu, the brand new location now. We will try to visit this gigantic market and photograph the tuna auction, then stroll around the wholesale area filled with hustle and bustle.
Then, what about sushi for breakfast !
Japan’s biggest luxury and entertainment district with world-famous fashion brands and department stores. Great place to photograph the architectural beauty as well as high-fashion street scenes.
The most authentic experience in Tokyo is watching Kabuki - the compelling art form.
“Samurai”, the old time Japanese soldiers, is a symbol of power, honor and discipline. This museum shows the spirit through swords and costumes. You can photograph the performance of a sword battle and the portrait of yourself with the samurai costumes !
“Yokocho” alley in Shinjuku:
Stepping into the narrow street with lanterns and neon signs, you will find exotic and retro Japan with many small bars and restaurant. Capture the locals pleasurably enjoying the nightlife.
Hotel: Hyatt Regency Tokyo, (Breakfast)
Depart Tokyo to Kyoto by “Shinkansen” (Bullet Train - 2.5h ride).
Transfer from the station and check in the hotel.
Start the journey in Kyoto by visiting the temple with incredible 1000 statues of Kannon (Buddhist goddess). Temple was built in 1164 and the main hall containing the statures is 120 meter (393 feet) long, the longest wooden structure in the world.
One of the most stunning fall foliage can be captured at this old temple. Garden will be lit in the evening and the bright red and yellow leaves make magical reflection on the pond.
Hotel: Enso Ango Fuya, (Breakfast, Lunch)
The district with historic sites and the scenic beauty of mountain and river. Early morning, we stroll along the majestic “Bamboo Path”, the most photogenic sight in Kyoto. “Tenryuji Temple” and “Togetsukyo Bridge”, both are famous for its splendid landscape of the fall foliage.
Famous for its golden pavilion, this temple is the signature of Kyoto…you can’t miss it !
Visiting “Machiya”, traditional wooden townhouse or “Ochaya”, the tea house where Geisha entertain the guests, you will taste the cultural heritage of Kyoto. Geisha, called “Geiko” or “Maiko” in Kyoto, will make tea ceremony and performance.
Night shoot with splendid pagoda:
We will visit Yasaka Shrine and Kodaiji Temple. The neighborhood preserves the most authentic look of the street scenes. Yasaka Pagoda is famous for its stunning view with night light.
Hotel: Enso Ango Fuya, (Breakfast,)
Another mecca for the fall foliage. This stunning temple was founded in 1236. The best view is from the old wooden bridge which spans over a valley of lush maple trees.
This Zen Buddhist temple is called “Moss Temple”, surrounded by serenity and tranquility. The gardens are covered by 120 variety of moss.
Known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, the long and narrow street is packed with hundreds shops of Japanese sweets, seasonal foods, pickles and seafood. Best place to practice the interactive photos with the local people.
Welcome dinner at “Kaiseki” restaurant, Japanese multi-course haute cuisine.
Hotel: Hotel: Enso Ango Fuya, (Breakfast, Dinner)
Rural Villages in Kyoto:
Escaping from the crowded city, we will drive around the rural Kyoto. Miyama village is a jewel in the mountain, called “little Kyoto in the forest”. You can experience time slip to 100 years ago rural Japan landscape with old thatched roof houses and rice field. The village offers simple yet colorful flavor lunch with local ingredients.
Hotel: Hotel: Enso Ango Fuya, (Breakfast )
Fushimi Inari Shrine:
Famous for its pathway lined with thousands of red-colored “Torii” gates (it is believed to divide our world and the sprit world), one of the most photogenic sites in Kyoto.
Fushimi is Kyoto’s “Sake” district, with about 40 breweries. What about tasting freshly made sake….don’t get drunk yet !
We visit the rural towns nestled in the mountains of northern Kyoto. In this area, the fall foliage occurs earlier than central Kyoto. Hop on the local train and enjoy the tunnel of fall color with night illumination.
Hotel: Hotel: Enso Ango Fuya, (Breakfast)
Depart Kyoto to Mt. Koya by vehicle (2.5h ).
It is a headquarter of “Shingon Buddhism”, most sacred sect originated early 9th century. The original monastery has grown into the town of “Koya”, now consisting of 120 temples. “Kongobuji”, the head temple, and “Okunoin”, mausoleum surround by graveyard, are serene and stunning.
Many of the temples offer lodging to pilgrims (called “Shukubo”). We will stay one of them, tasting monk’s simple but profound lifestyle, eating vegetarian cuisine, attending religious activities, sleeping on “tatami” floor…deep cultural experience.
Hotel: Henjokoin Temple, (Breakfast, Dinner)
Start the day by morning prayer, followed by breakfast.
Noon, depart Mt. Koya to Osaka by vehicle (2h drive) and take “Shinkansen” (Bullet Train) back to Tokyo.
Hotel: Hyatt Regency Tokyo, (Breakfast, Dinner)
Transfer from Hotel from Tokyo Narita Airport (or Haneda Airport) by limousine bus for flight home.
“The itineraries are subject to modified and changed. We will try all our effort to operate programs as planned, but alterations may still occur based on the weather and other conditions.”
“Japan has always been on my wish list, but who knew that I would be so, so lucky to have had it be the most amazing trip of my lifetime. I saw the wonders and beauty of Japan while learning how to capture what I saw with my own eyes and turn them into lasting memories. The wonders of nature in Fall made for spectacular sights to behold, admire and capture. I never felt that I had to create something out of nothing; we were constantly surrounded by the wonders and beauty of the unfolding Fall colors. The days are in the hands of a master; an amazingly talented photographer who imparts and shares his knowledge with unending patience and professionalism; a master with people, funny, kind and caring; and a master of organizing spectacular photographic, cultural and culinary experiences. I went to bed each day in awe of what we had seen and done during the day, only to wake up and have continuous days of awesome sights, experiences and surprises.”
(Fran Keller, Connecticut, USA)
“ Amazed at Japan’s ability to be so advanced and innovative, and yet remains so close to its oldest traditions and cultural roots. Extremely satisfied experience ! “
(Beatriz Lombardi, Australia)
“ Absolutely peerless in experience the traditional and modern Japan from a local’s perspective. A day with Katsu is equal to 3+ days with anyone else!! Simply fantastic program and so impressed with the precision of all the logistics as well. I also felt that each meals introduced us to a different aspect of Japanese cuisine! They were fabulous and always surprise.”
(Leslie Falk, New York, USA)