Join this magical 9-day photography tour of Japan, the land of the rising sun, to best capture its vibrant nature and fascinating culture.
Japan is an enigma layered with contradictions. Vast cities ride waves of innovation and offer the rest of the world a glimpse of the future, yet much of rural Japan has mainly remained untouched. The countryside is another world, one dominated by pillars of ancient tradition, spiritual temples, and nature in full bloom.
This photography tour focuses on a combination of the two, and although we will spend time in the big cities of Tokyo and Kyoto, you can expect to witness and shoot some of Japan’s most exquisite landscapes and cultural scenes firsthand.
On top of that, we’re heading over in the best season possible: Autumn. In the fall, the Japanese maple tree, Momiji, is in full bloom and its colourful leaves will decorate many of our photoshoots.
We will dedicate much of our time to the tapestry of colours to be found in the stunning city of Kyoto, and, of course, we’ll visit Kawaguchiko Lake and the legendary Mount Fuji.
So don't delay any longer! Hurry now, and you too can discover and photograph the wonders of Japan with this fabulous 9-day photography tour. Check availability by choosing a date.
19-27 November 2023
Maximum of 8 participants
$8,900 (Double Occupancy)
90 days prior to the workshop starting date.
Join us now
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Visas (if applicable)
Professional Photo Guide
Accommodation in a hotel based on twin sharing
All museum, parks entrance fees and tour tickets
Day 1 - Lake Kawaguchiko and Mount Fuji I
Our Japan photography adventure will begin in Tokyo, and we advise that you schedule your arrival in the capital for one day before the tour starts. We’ll meet at 8:15am at the Lobby of Mitsui garden hotel Kyobashi, which is located 10 minutes walk from Tokyo Central Station. Please note that the hotel in Tokyo is not included in the tour package. Day one of the trip will be spent strolling around the stunning Lake Kawaguchiko. Overlooking the lake is the magnificent Mt Fuji, and the group will take all the time we need to capture the stunning volcano with autumnal foregrounds of colourful maple trees. We will spend the day around the lake and take an excursion around the volcano, drinking in the views and capturing the landscape with the help of our expert photography guides. Don't worry if you haven't got all the pictures you'd like by the end of the day, for we'll be returning to this gorgeous lakeside for two more days of epic photography! In the evening, you will retire to accommodation in the nearby area.
Day 2 - Lake Kawaguchiko and Mount Fuji II
It is the second day of your photography adventure in Japan, and so we will be returning to Lake Kawaguchiko to capture its glistening water and autumnal leaves under different lighting conditions. Once again, the domineering Mount Fuji will be our major subject of the day. Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, standing tall at 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft). It is designated one of Japan's holy mountains alongside Mount Tate and Mount Haku. Thanks to its impressive, cone-like shape, Mount Fuji has inspired artists and poets for centuries, as well as been a centre for pilgrimage. Standing by the lakeside with your camera in hand, you will quickly realise that you are the latest generation of people to attempt to capture the mountain's majesty. When your time at the lake is over, you will once again return to your accommodation for the evening.
Day 3 - Kiso Valley
It is your final day to capture the exquisite beauty of Japan's Fuji Five Lakes area with a sunrise session to remember. Your group will find new areas and angles from which to capture the mountain, and with luck, the lighting conditions will create new effects and compositions. Thereafter, you'll continue the journey onwards, towards the valley of Kiso. This mountainous region is filled with photographic opportunities. We'll spend the day wandering through enchanting traditional towns, capturing the extraordinary architecture that harkens back several centuries. We'll spend two nights in the Kiso Valley as we explore all that it has to offer.
Day 4 - Kiso Valley
On day four, we'll continue strolling through the atmospheric Kiso Valley, unearthing beautiful compositions at every turn. The evening streets of these villages make for wonderful photographic opportunities, lit by the warm glow of street lights.
Day 5 - Kyoto
On the fifth day of your Japanese photo adventure, you will be moving west to Japan's second city, Kyoto. Kyoto is a magical blend of old and new, and we'll spend the next four days exploring the city's most famous cultural sites, including gardens, palaces, shrines and temples. Many sites in Kyoto have become popular attractions, hence why we will organise morning shoots. This not only allows us to skip the crowds, but also to maximise the morning's lighting conditions. Though there is no set schedule for the attractions we will visit, each day will be filled with incredible sights and experiences. Depending on the autumn foliage, we may visit a number of different Buddhist temples surrounded by stunning maple trees and spectacular Japanese architecture made all the more beautiful by the burning red hues of fall. We will be spending the night in accommodation in Kyoto. Our accommodation is in the centre of the city and offers easy walking distance to many of Kyoto’s most photogenic sights.
Day 6 - Kyoto
On day six, you will continue to explore Kyoto, capturing the very best of the city's cultural landmarks. You will continue your visits to Kyoto's most fascinating temples, surrounded by the flowering greens, yellows, oranges and red colours of fall. There are over 1600 shrines and temples throughout Kyoto, as well as intriguing rock gardens and pagodas steeped in ancient history and rich culture. Each has its own characteristic, so we will take our time capturing these tranquil zen0like areas, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Again, you will retire to accommodation in Kyoto for the evening.
Day 7 - Kyoto
The attractions covered over the last few days in Kyoto are by no means a definitive list of where we will be spending our time and organising our photo shoots, but it gives you a good idea of the sites we hope to visit, depending on the autumn colours and how photogenic they will be. There are plenty of other places well worth visiting and capturing with our cameras, from the Arashiyama Bamboo forest to the ancient blocs of Gion Higashiyama. What's for sure, however, is that time your time in Kyoto will be invaluable, not just as a traveller, but as a photographer too. Your portfolio will be bursting at the seams with new contributions! You will spend your final night at the inn in Kyoto.
Day 8 - Koyasan
On your eighth day, you will move on to the sacred Koyasan Mountain. Asides from being immensely beautiful, Mount Kōya, is the centre for Shingon Buddhism and thus is an incredibly special location to many Japanese people. You will also pay a visit to the beautiful, yet haunting Ancient Okunoin cemetery—the largest cemetery in Japan—as well as the vast temple complex and old shrines that can be found nearby. By the end of the day, you will not just have bagged yourself some new contributions to your portfolio, but also a deeper insight into the mysticism and spiritual practice that is still so prevalent in Japan today. You will have accommodation for one night at Ryokan Ekoin traditional temple.
Day 9 - Depart from Osaka
Today will be your morning and afternoon in the Koyasan Mountain area, a region of cedar trees and over two-thousand ancient tombstones. Mount Kōya has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004. After visiting morning fire ceremony, there are a variety of different areas you can photograph today. These include the Kobo Daishi Mausoleum, Torodo Hall: The Hall of Lamps, The Daimon Gate and the Daito Bell at the Garan temple complex. You can also spend some time during the day sampling traditional Japanese cuisine and learning more about the area's fascinating history and culture. We depart from Koyasan at 11:00 a.m. by our private bus. Once we arrive at the Shin-Osaka train station (likely around 3-4pm with quick lunch stop on the way), we will say our goodbyes and you are free to arrange your flight home or onwards to your next destination. Please keep your tour guides abreast of your travel plans so that they may help to organise your transfers to the airport. You can depart from international Kansai airport in Osaka or from Tokyo (sinkansen 2:30 h ride + 1 hour of Narita express, 150 USD approx. ticket price). Until next time, we hope you've had a fantastic time photographing the nature and cultural treats of Japan.
We highly recommend that you get a travel and medical insurance. Your own domestic medical insurance and private health scheme will not cover you whilst you are overseas.
The tour will always dependent on weather, as the weather can be highly unpredictable.
We always try to help travellers fulfil their dream vacation. If you need to change the details of your trip you are always welcome to contact us and we will make the necessary arrangements.
Please bear in mind that photo tours in Iceland are in high demand. The earlier you reserve your trip the better availability. Please note that Iceland Photo Tours does not include international flights in photo workshops, nor do we handle such bookings.
Terms of Payment
When you reserve online a full payment is charged to your credit card. You can also contact us by email and make a partial down payment to secure your reservation.
We always charge in U.S. Dollar (USD). On our website, you can view an estimate of prices in a number of currencies. This is only to help you understand the approximate price in your preferred currency. Final payment is always conducted in USD. We also refund in USD. As Iceland Photo Tours does not charge any booking or transaction fees we can not be held liable to any loss in currency exchange during transactions.
Tours and workshops that take place in Iceland are charged with 11% VAT. Unless otherwise specified, prices do not include any local taxes or use-fees, including foreign departure, security, port charges, park fees, customs, immigration, agricultural, passenger-facility charges or international transportation tax.
Iceland Photo Tours cannot be liable to any loss, damage, accidents, injuries or sickness during your tour. The same applies for any changes in tour schedule due to weather, strikes or any other force majeure. Iceland Photo Tours reserve the right to change routes, schedules and itineraries if needed because of weather, road, boat route conditions or should the necessity arise because of unforeseen reasons. We advise all travelers to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance to minimize possible loses due to unforeseeable situations during your travel.
Iceland Photo Tours is a trading name of Iceland Photo Workshops ehf., a company incorporated and registered in Reykjavik, Iceland. These terms are governed by the laws of Iceland.
Cancellation and Refund Policy
We strongly recommend you to get a Trip Cancellation & Travel Insurance after booking your trip. If you cancel and the Workshop is otherwise filled, we will refund you the full amount you have paid towards the tuition, minus a $300 service charge. If you cancel and the Workshop does not fill, then you will be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the Workshop:
Greater than 90 days from the start date of the Workshop: full refund minus $300 service fee.
75 days or more: 75% refund
60 days or more: 50% refund
Less than 60 days: no refund
Refunds will be paid by the same method that the original payment was made.