A Castle in the Blossoms: Capturing Himeji Castle in Cherry Blossom Season 2023

Jun 26 | Evan | No Comments |

Continuing our 2023 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour, we found ourselves in the charming city of Himeji, home to the breathtaking Himeji Castle. Our timing was impeccable, with the cherry blossoms in full bloom and the sun shining brightly in the sky, casting the perfect light on the castle and the vibrant pink sakura.

Upon arrival, I pointed out a few classic views that offered the perfect blend of cherry blossoms and the towering castle. Our photographers then had some free time to explore the castle grounds, each finding their unique perspective to capture this iconic site.

But the beauty of Himeji Castle extends beyond its immediate surroundings. We ventured to two different viewpoints that offered expansive views of the castle, showcasing its grandeur against the larger cityscape. We concluded the day at a spot where the castle stood majestically in the background of the modern city, offering a beautiful contrast between old and new, tradition and progress.

The magic continued the next morning as we found ourselves at another spot to capture the castle at sunrise. We were lucky enough to be there on one of the few days of the year when the sun rises directly behind the castle, creating a truly magical scene – a moment that felt like it was straight out of a fairy tale.

Once back home, I had some fun with Adobe Photoshop’s new beta software. Using the new generative fill feature, I was able to create alternative reality images of Himeji Castle almost effortlessly. These surreal, dreamlike images added a fun, creative twist to our collection of Himeji Castle photos.

The visit to Himeji Castle was a highlight of our 2023 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour. The perfect timing, the spectacular views, and the play of light and color offered a wealth of photographic opportunities. And with the aid of modern editing tools, we were able to push the boundaries of creativity and create images that were not only true to the moment but also a unique reflection of our artistic vision.

Our journey continues, each destination offering new sights, new experiences, and new stories to tell through our lenses. Stay tuned for more from our Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of 2023!

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Japan’s cherry blossom season in 2024! Reach out now to secure your spot on our guided photography tour, or explore our 2023 cherry blossom tour of Japan posts to get a glimpse of the unforgettable experiences that await you.

Tour of Japan | Japanese Sword Smith Demonstration

Apr 17 | Evan | No Comments |

The family I was guiding around Japan during cherry blossom season was interested in participating in quite a few experiences. One of which I was really excited about was visiting with a real Japanese sword smith and getting a demonstration while we were able to take photos. When I was first asked about this, I immediately told them that I would certainly look into finding a Japanese sword smith but also told them I was not overly optimistic about finding one open to allowing us to visit and take photos. I had attempted to contact quite a few and received no response before coming across Tamahagane.com.

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I did receive a response back very quickly and after describing what we were looking for, they thought that they could help me arrange something. I was also informed, like with many things in Japanese culture, there is a certain procedure to be followed when attending a demonstration and after agreeing to their terms to respect the artist, his creations and culture, we were able to arrange a private demonstration!

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The good folks at Tamahagane Arts introduced us to Fusataro san and arranged for us to visit his workplace. Much like the art of photography, a master sword smith needs to be able to control the available light to create the best swords to judge temperatures among other factors. So inside was always dark but sometimes he opened the window a little so that there was a little more light, but as you can see from the photos, the lighting conditions were always challenging. That being said, we came away with some great photos and also had a wonderful time. I love spending time with anyone that puts as much passion into their work, whether it is a coffee barista or sword smith. It was certainly an unforgettable experience that I hope to be able to introduce others to as well. Fusataro san has a warm and welcoming personality and speaks English well so that he could explain most aspects of his work to us but if you can’t speak Japanese or have a good understanding of Japanese culture, you would need to go with an interpreter or guide like myself.

You can see the full gallery after the break: More