2017 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan | Himeji Castle

May 21 | Evan | No Comments |

The cherry blossoms were catching up with our small group of photographers as we headed north in Japan from Miyajima to Himeji.  Himeji is Japan’s most famous and spectacular castle but also famous for it’s hundreds of cherry blossom trees spread out across the castle grounds.

While the cherry blossoms were almost few bloom, we were probably still 2 days or so early for taking photographs of full bloom cherry blossoms with Himeji Castle.  The cherry blossoms were still quite nice though and even the castle without the cherry blossoms can be a great subject for our photography tours.

Created by and courtesy of Tim Durham

I believe that Mount Fuji is best viewed and photographed from afar, and like Japan’s most iconic symbol, I really enjoy taking photos of Himeji Castle from a distance as well.  The past few years I haven’t had much luck with the sunrises in Himeji, but this year’s sunrise at Himeji Castle was quite nice and colorful!  Scroll down to see more photos of Himeji Castle at sunrise in the gallery.

The 2017 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan took our small group of photographers to Tokyo, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Kyoto, Wazuka and Fuji Five Lakes.  Take a look at the 2017 Cherry Blossom Tour Trip report to see more from our tour of Japan during cherry blossom season. Want to visit Japan during cherry blossom season with Japan Photo Guide?  The 2018 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan for photographers has limited spaces available, book now!

2017 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan | Miyajima and Hiroshima

May 19 | Evan | No Comments |

After a short stay in Tokyo, our group of photographers touring Japan headed southwest to Hiroshima and Miyajima for the 2017 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan.  Even though the cherry blossoms started to bloom earlier than normal in many places in Japan, a sudden burst of cold weather put the cherry blossoms on pause, so the sakura while approaching full bloom in Miyajima and Hiroshima, had not caught up yet with our group tour of Japan.

 

We know the average dates cherry blossoms open and bloom in Japan but these dates are just that, averages.  Every year is a little different both in the exact dates the cherry blossoms bloom and how fast they go from opening to full bloom and then from full bloom to finished.  If you look at photos from almost the exact same dates in Miyajima from the year before, you can see quite a difference in the status of cherry blossoms!

This is why when planning a cherry blossom tour of Japan for photographers, it is important to include places on the itinerary that not only have slightly different cherry blossom blooming average dates but also that locations we visit also have photographic opportunities should the cherry blossoms not cooperate with our schedule.  Of course, there are also a variety of different cherry blossoms, like these pink ones in the first photo below from Shukkeien Garden in Hiroshima, some blooming earlier in Japan and some later, so this helps as well!

 

Daytime in Miyajima is quite crowded with tourists making a day trip, so if possible, I like to spend the early mornings, late afternoons and evenings in Miyajima and visit neighboring Hiroshima during the day.  Creating a photograph like Tim’s below at Itsukushima Shrine would be impossible as besides the light, there seems to be a never ending flow of tourists in Miyajima.  Besides Shukkeien Garden mentioned above, the Peace Park and Memorial Museum is nice to visit during the day and Hiroshima Castle is nice as well. 

Created by and courtesy of Tim Durham

Created by and courtesy of Tim Durham

The 2017 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan took our small group of photographers to Tokyo, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Kyoto, Wazuka and Fuji Five Lakes.  Take a look at the 2017 Cherry Blossom Tour Trip report to see more from our tour of Japan during cherry blossom season. Want to visit Japan during cherry blossom season with Japan Photo Guide?  The 2018 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan for photographers has limited spaces available, book now!

2017 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan | Tokyo

May 17 | Evan | No Comments |

The 2017 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan was shaping up to be quite a large group of photographers visiting Japan but suddenly some members had to drop out for personal reasons. In January I had pretty much accepted that the 2017 Cherry Blossom Tour was not going to happen when just as suddenly as the original group fell apart, 4 new members inquired about joining me on an escorted tour of Japan during cherry blossom season. Leading a smaller group of photographers through Japan certainly has it’s benefits and allowed us to do a couple of things that aren’t possible, or much more difficult, with a larger group. One of which was a fantastic home stay in the tea plantations in the outskirts of Kyoto, Japan (more on that to come).

As you can see by the photo of Chidorigafuchi above, even though the dates of this tour of Japan during cherry blossom season were almost identical to the 2016 cherry blossom tour of Japan, we were slightly early for full bloom of the cherry blossoms when the trip started in Tokyo.  Not an issue though as it was easy to isolate some cherry blossoms in bloom or ignore the blossoms completely with many of the interesting subjects Tokyo has to offer for photographers, for example the “Shibuya Scramble” in Shibuya.

Of course street photography is as easy as it comes in Tokyo with opportunity after opportunity if you are patient and look for it.  After meeting one couple at the airport in Tokyo, on the transfer into the Tokyo, I was asked to dial up a wedding to take photos of in Tokyo and wouldn’t you know it, the next day walking around during their free time, they found the wedding shoot I “arranged” like last summer in Himeji!

Created by and courtesy of Tim Durham

Created by and courtesy of Tim Durham

While we were slightly too early for the first few days in Tokyo for cherry blossoms, by the time we made our way back, the cherry blossoms were still holding on a bit, just starting to fall off the trees but still quite beautiful. See the gallery at the end of this post for more photos from Tokyo during cherry blossom season and some night time shooting of Shibuya Scramble. 

The 2017 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan took our small group of photographers to Tokyo, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Kyoto, Wazuka and Fuji Five Lakes.  Take a look at the 2017 Cherry Blossom Tour Trip report to see more from our tour of Japan during cherry blossom season. Want to visit Japan during cherry blossom season with Japan Photo Guide?  The 2018 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan for photographers has limited spaces available, book now!