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!

Photo Tour of Japan | Golden Pavilion

Apr 10 | Evan | No Comments |

In the Northwest of Kyoto you can find quite a few interesting temples and shrines, including a few that are designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites like Ryoanji, Ninnanji and this one Kinkakuji.   Or in English, The Golden Pavilion.  Perhaps one of the most iconic symbols of Kyoto, and maybe Japan, The Golden Pavilion is beautiful and certainly worth visiting.  I’ve always found the light a little better in the morning and the pond always seems to be stiller as we well in the morning hours.  That being said, you cannot enter the grounds until 9am, so depending on the time of year you are in Kyoto, it already may be too late for nice light.  I’ve also found that if you go right when it opens, there will usually be a school tour bus or two waiting there with you.  Once they leave you could have some time to yourself, but depending on the time of year, it could be nonstop crowds.  The Golden Pavilion does have a non tripod policy and is very strict about it.  When you see the crowds, you will understand why!

More from this photo tour of Japan is coming soon!  Here is the list of the places we visited and photographed in Japan.

Interested in your own custom photo tour and experiences in Japan?  Contact Japan Photo Guide today to start your adventure!