2018 Cherry Blossom Photo Tour of Japan | Kyoto

May 20 | Evan | No Comments |


By the time our small group of photographers reached Kyoto, time earlier than normal cherry blossom season was starting to catch up with us.  Even that being the case, there were still areas of Kyoto where we could still find cherry blossoms in good condition and also many places in Kyoto are picturesque with or without cherry blossoms.

Often visitors of Japan tell me they want to go “off the beaten path” which sometimes we will do, but sometimes the view from the path is too great to pass up on. Kyoto has many of these high traffic paths with great views like Fushimi Inari Taisha, Golden Pavilion and Bamboo Groves of Arashiyama.  After all, there is a reason they got on the path in the first place!


So now the challenge becomes creating your art at this often photographed place in a way that is your unique view.  Usually I find myself having to take the “standard” photo just to get it out of my system, then I can look for my view off the path.  If you do visit Japan, even though Kyoto IS the beaten path, don’t pass up on it.  There is no city in the world like Kyoto that can match it’s mix of modern, tradition and culture and with more than 400 shrines, 1600 temples and plenty of small side streets, you will have many paths, on and off, to explore and photograph in Kyoto!  

The 2018 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour took a small group of photographers to Japan.  We started in Tokyo and continued to Hiroshima, Miyajima, HImeji Castle, Kyoto and Mt. Fuji.  Here is the trip report from the 2018 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan. The 2019 Cherry Blossom Photo Tour of Japan is already planned and live!  Limited spots are available for the 2019 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan, with first booking already reserved!  Below is a gallery of cherry blossom photos from our time spent making photos in Kyoto.

2017 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan | Kyoto

May 24 | Evan | No Comments |

After visiting Tokyo, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Himeji, the 2017 Cherry Blossom tour of Japan headed north again to Kyoto.  I’ve said it many times before, Kyoto is my favorite city in Japan and perhaps in the world.  The mix of modern and traditional Japan is fantastic and there are always opportunities for photographers visiting Kyoto

For our group of photographers touring Japan in cherry blossom season, the cherry blossoms had momentarily caught up with us and cherry blossoms were in full bloom in Kyoto!  Though cherry blossoms in Kyoto are spectacular, there are many other places that regardless of the cherry blossoms are wonderful for photography.  Kyoto is extremely crowded during this peak season for cherry blossoms, so some of these other place that don’t have cherry blossoms or aren’t famous for their cherry blossoms can be a nice place to take a break from the crowds of tourists visiting Kyoto.


No matter how many days you stay in Kyoto, it would be hard to run out of photography opportunities. No matter what time of year, there are always a few places I love returning to like the Golden Pavilion (photo at top of this post), Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama and Fushimi Inari Shrine.

Before the gallery I also wanted to touch up on one feature of my new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.  There are quite a few things I love about my new mirrorless camera, size and weight is obvious and then there is the amazing image stabilization.  I found that quite a lot of times during my trip I was trying to push the limits of the in body image stabilization (IBIS) which is suppose to have 5.5 stops of stabilization and also combined it with the M.Zuiko ED 12-100mm f4.0 IS PRO for an extra stop.  Take a look at a few examples below, first two were hand held with a little body bracing at 1 second.  Yes, a full second!  The cherry blossom one was done with me holding the camera up above my head using flipped screen to compose, not super sharp because there was some wind but still quite amazing for what I was doing.

1 second handheld

1 second handheld

1/10 of a second handheld

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!

2016 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan | Fushimi Inari Taisha

May 25 | Evan | No Comments |

Japan Photo Guide Fushimi Inari 080

Fushimi Inari Shrine in south eastern Kyoto is always a popular place to visit for photography tours of Kyoto or just as a normal tourist visiting Japan.  Like the bamboo forest in Arashiyama though, if you don’t go early in the morning, good luck with getting photos without lot’s and lot’s of fellow tourists in the photos!

Japan Photo Guide Fushimi Inari 077 Japan Photo Guide Fushimi Inari 079

There are not too many places open early in Kyoto before sunrise, but Fushimi Inari Shrine never closes.  Photography wise, I’d recommend visiting Fushimi Inari as close to sunrise as possible.  If you can visit Fushimi Inari before sunrise, the small lanterns in the gates should be on like the first of the two photos below.

Japan Photo Guide Fushimi Inari 075

Japan Photo Guide Fushimi Inari 076


Photo courtesy of and created by Barna Photo

With TokyoHiroshima, Miyajima and Himeji Castle already visited, next up for the 2016 cherry blossom tour was Kyoto, my favorite city in Japan!  After Kyoto we would continue our tour of Japan to photography Mt. Fuji and the Fuji Five Lakes, still chasing and photographing the cherry blossoms around Japan!  Interested in joining the 2017 cherry blossom tour?  Please contact me today to start your trip to Japan during cherry blossom season or any other time you’d like!

2015 Fall Photo Tour of Japan | Fushimi Inari Kyoto

Feb 15 | Evan | No Comments |

Japan Photo Guide Fushimi Inari 001

Anyone that has talked to me about visiting Japan before knows that Kyoto is my favorite city to travel to in Japan.  I usually follow that up with saying, Kyoto is perhaps my favorite city to visit not only in Japan but in the world.  I’m sure there are some great cities out there for me to visit and photograph, I love Kyoto for it’s incredible mix of traditional and modern Japan.  Of course like when visiting other parts of Japan, Kyoto is very safe, clean with good options for public transportation.  One of my favorite places to visit and photograph is Fushimi Inari Shrine.  Japan Photo Guide Fushimi Inari 002 Japan Photo Guide Fushimi Inari 004

Besides the thousands of torii gates and beautiful grounds, Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of the few spectacular places in Kyoto that is open 24 hours, making it great place to visit for golden hour in the morning.  Not to mention, anything later int he day will be so packed with tourists that it makes taking photos quite difficult.

Japan Photo Guide Fushimi Inari 003


The photo just above was created by and courtesy of Mami Yasui who very graciously cropped the image to hide my bald spot!

The 2015 Fall Photography Tour of Japan included Tokyo, Kanazawa, Shirakawago, Okayama, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Kyoto!  Interesting in joining your own escorted tour of Japan with Japan Photo Guide?  Contact us to get the planning of your trip to Japan started or join one of the group tours of Japan!