2015 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan | Fuji Five Lakes

Apr 29 | Evan | Comments Off on 2015 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan | Fuji Five Lakes |

fujigoko mt fuji japan photo guide

Before evening returning from the the 2015 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan, I received a few inquiries about the 2016 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan!  If you are looking for that information, the details of the 2016 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan can be found here.

fujigoko mt fuji japan photo guide

 

fujigoko mt fuji japan photo guide

After part of the group returned home after the main group tour, for the extension tour of 2015 cherry blossom tour of Japan, we headed to Yamanashi Prefecture to take photos of Mt. Fuji from the Fujigoko or Fuji Five Lakes.  We stayed at Kawaguchiko, but also took photos of Mt. Fuji from all five of the lakes, including, Lake Motosu, Lake Shoji, Lake Saiko and Lake Yamanaka.  We spent 3 nights and 4 days in the Mt. Fuji area but 2 of them we had rain and clouds all day and 2 we had views of Mt. Fuji.

fujigoko mt fuji japan photo guide

 

fujigoko mt fuji japan photo guide

Believe it or not, seeing Mt. Fuji for 50% of the days is actually ahead of the average for this time of year!  It’s well known in Japan that Mt. Fuji is “shy” and I’ve been told that during April, it’s estimated that you can see Mt. Fuji completely clear on only about 1/3 of the days.  So even though 2 days gave us nothing, I think we were lucky to see Mt. Fuji half the time we were there!  In general, you have a better chance of viewing Mt. Fuji in the Winter months and also earlier in the morning, but of course, anything can happen!

fujigoko mt fuji japan photo guide fujigoko mt fuji japan photo guide

Want to see more photos from the 2015 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan?  The group tour also went to Tokyo, Miyajima, Hiroshima, and Kyoto.  Stay tuned for more photos from the escorted tour of Japan!

fujigoko mt fuji japan photo guide fujigoko mt fuji japan photo guide fujigoko mt fuji japan photo guide fujigoko mt fuji japan photo guide fujigoko mt fuji japan photo guide

2015 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan | Kyoto

Apr 29 | Evan | Comments Off on 2015 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan | Kyoto |

kyoto japan photo guide

Before evening returning from the the 2015 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan, I received a few inquiries about the 2016 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan!  If you are looking for that information, the details of the 2016 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan can be found here.

kyoto japan photo guide

I’ve said it many times before, Kyoto is my favorite city in Japan and possibly the world!  The mix of modern and traditional influences is combine for a spectacular place to visit, explore and take photos in Japan.  There is never enough time to fit in all the places I want to share in Kyoto, but with this group tour of Japan, we certainly tried!

kyoto japan photo guide

In addition to visiting places like Nanzenji, the Path of Philosophy, Silver Pavilion, Gion, Higashiyama, Kiyomizudera, Fushimi Inari Taisha, Golden Pavilion, Ninnaji and Arashiyama, I had also arranged for some special experiences and cultural lessons.  The group got to spend time with a maiko in a tea house, as well as have a portrait session with her around Gion and the Kyoto Botanical Gardens.  Also, Some members of the group tour of Japan participated in an ikebana lesson (flower arrangement) and others in a Japanese calligraphy class.  Everyone also learned about and participated in a tea ceremony.  There will be more on all these experiences in Kyoto coming soon!

maiko kyoto japan photo guide

maiko kyoto japan photo guide

Even though the weather and cherry blossoms weren’t fully cooperating with us, Kyoto has many great photo opportunities during all times of the year!  Also, there are many varieties of cherry blossoms, so while some were too early, we had great timing for later blooming species like those at Ninnaji and Heian Shrine.

kyoto japan photo guide

Want to see more photos from the 2015 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan?  The group tour also went to Tokyo, Miyajima, Hiroshima, Himeji Castle and some of us to The Fuji Five Lakes close to Mt. Fuji.  Stay tuned for more photos from the escorted tour of Japan!

kyoto japan photo guide

2015 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan | Himeji Castle

Apr 29 | Evan | Comments Off on 2015 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan | Himeji Castle |

himeji castle japan photo guide

Before evening returning from the the 2015 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan, I received a few inquiries about the 2016 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan!  If you are looking for that information, the details of the 2016 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan can be found here.

2015 Cherry Blossom Tour Japan Photo Guide

Himeji Castle, located in between Hiroshima and Kyoto, is considered to be one of the top 3 castles in all of Japan and also one of best spots in Japan for viewing cherry blossoms.  Himeji Castle just finished a 5 year long restoration and fully reopened to the public at the end of March.  Between the newly opened castle, being one of the top castles in Japan and being one of the best spots for cherry blossoms in Japan, Himeji Castle was CROWDED!  Don’t get me wrong, most popular places for cherry blossom in Japan are crowded, so we were expecting this, but we were told it was a 2 hour wait to go into the main keep!

Japan Photo Guide Cherry  Blossom 029

Luckily, the cherry blossoms are all around the outside and since I had arranged to get tickets ahead of time, we didn’t have to wait long to enter the Himeji Castle grounds.  We had plenty of time to explore the castle grounds and find great spots with cherry blossom and the castle and photos of just Himeji Castle.

himeji castle japan photo guide

While we did see our first blue sky and the sun for a few hours in the afternoon in Himeji, we didn’t have much of a sunset or sunrise the next morning in Himeji.  I know of a few good places for spectacular views of Himeji Castle, which would really had been nice had we weather cooperated with our group tour but like most days of this trip, we had mostly cloudy and some rain but went anyway…

himeji castle japan photo guide

 

himeji castle japan photo guide

Want to see more photos from the 2015 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan?  The group tour also went to Tokyo, Miyajima, Hiroshima, Kyoto and some of us to The Fuji Five Lakes close to Mt. Fuji.  Stay tuned for more photos from the escorted tour of Japan!

himeji castle japan photo guide himeji castle japan photo guide himeji castle japan photo guide

2015 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan | Miyajima and Hiroshima

Apr 26 | Evan | Comments Off on 2015 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan | Miyajima and Hiroshima |

Japan Photo Guide Miyajima

Before evening returning from the the 2015 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan, I received a few inquiries about the 2016 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan!  If you are looking for that information, the details of the 2016 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan can be found here.

Japan Photo Guide Miyajima

After spending a few days in Tokyo we took our chartered bus from the hotel in Shibuya to Shinagawa Station for the first ride on the bullet train of this tour of Japan.  I love riding the shinkansen and find it relaxing and much less stressful than flying or taking a car.  The one way trip from Tokyo to Miyajima takes over 5 hours and included bus, train and ferry!  Especially since it was raining the entire time our group was transferring, the trip worked out fine and was well worth the time spent in transit through Japan!

Japan Photo Guide Cherry  Blossom 015

Like with Tokyo, cherry blossoms blooming earlier than normal, hard rain and strong winds limited cherry blossoms still intact in Miyajima and Hiroshima, but it’s still a beautiful place…. even if we did have mostly cloudy, rainy and misty weather for our stay in Miyajima!

Japan Photo Guide Miyajima

 

Part of the group did take some time during the day to visit nearby Hiroshima and Peace Park.  The museum is under renovation, but about half of it was open.  After that we made sure to eat some Hiroshima Okonomiyaki, which I love love love!

All the photos below are courtesy of and created by 2015 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan participant, Gavin Everson:

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Want to see more photos from the 2015 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan?  The group tour also went to Tokyo, Himeji Castle, Kyoto and some of us to The Fuji Five Lakes close to Mt. Fuji.  Stay tuned for more photos from the escorted tour of Japan!

2015 Cherry Blossom Group Tour of Japan | Tokyo

Apr 25 | Evan | No Comments |

Before evening returning from the the 2015 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan, I received a few inquiries about the 2016 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan!  If you are looking for that information, the details of the 2016 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan can be found here.

Like every trip to Japan, the 2015 Cherry Blossom Tour went by too fast! Even though the weather was not great for traveling around Japan (I think in 2 weeks I saw the sun on 3 days at best and somebody forgot to tell Japan that it was Spring and not still Winter)…. and in some cities the cherry blossoms bloomed too early for us to catch the peak bloom of the sakura, we had a great time, made new friends, ate delicious (and too much) Japanese food, experienced the culture and we were able to make some nice photos!
japan photo guide sakura
This guided tour of Japan started out in Tokyo, with the tour participants flying into Japan from 4 different countries on 3 different days. Tokyo was the perfect place to meet and wait while the entire group was getting settled in Japan. I arrived in Tokyo first, just as the cherry blossoms had hit their peak, only to see the next two days bring rain and extreme winds which are both devastating to the fragile cherry blossoms…sigh… But that didn’t stop us having a portrait session in Shinjuku Gyoen with Manami in her kimono! It was a great portrait session in Tokyo, but she was too popular with everyone else in the park as well! She was great about it and so kind to let every take her photo!

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Tokyo

Due to cherry blossoms blooming a few days earlier than the average and the weather not cooperating, we didn’t get too many cherry blossom photos in Tokyo, but still managed to get some photos close to peak around Tokyo!  Also, as the sakura petals are falling off, the cherry blossom petals can make for some quite beautiful photos as well!

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The first night we were all together, I had arranged with a friend of mine in Tokyo to introduce some Japanese families to our group! We had dinner together in a (really dark-sorry photo is so as well) restaurant in Shibuya and it was a great cultural exchange for our group visiting Japan and for the Japanese friends to meet travelers. If you are visiting Tokyo and want to make some Japanese friends over a meal, here is the facebook page my friend started for cultural exchange in Tokyo.

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Other highlights of our days in Tokyo were a cooking lesson in a Japanese home and visiting an early morning sumo practice! All really great experiences in Tokyo for some nice memories!

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Photo by Gavin Everson

Want to see more photos from the 2015 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan?  The group tour also went to Miyajima, Hiroshima, Himeji, Kyoto and some of us to The Fuji Five Lakes close to Mt. Fuji.  Stay tuned for more photos from the escorted tour of Japan!

 

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