Tohoku Sakura Japan Photo Tour - April 24 - 26, 2019
This tour is fully booked for 2019, but it is offered annually for dates in spring for 2020 and 2021. Contact JDS to pre-book your spot.
Japanese Cherry Blossoms from several different locations in Aomori
Majestic views of Mt. Iwaki
Historic Hirosaki Castle
Longest Sakura Road in the World!
Tsugaru Fujimi Lake
Several different parks and varieties of Cherry Blossoms
Day 1 - April 24, 2019 - Wednesday
Meet at Haneda International Airport at 8 am, then a quick transition to a bullet train to Tohoku, Japan. The tightly packed cityscape that is Tokyo will quickly give way to the open and wooded countryside where Tohoku’s breathtaking cherry blossoms reside.
Upon arriving at the shinkansen’s last station, Shin-Aomori station, we will change to local transportation, a spacious vehicle with business class seating to view the longest cherry blossom lined road in the entire world! The road is longer than 20 kilometers and has approximately 6,500 sakura trees for you to photograph. Not only do you have seemingly endless avenues of cherry blossoms, you also have the good fortune of a spectacular mountain range with Mt. Iwaki as the tallest peak creating a picture perfect background for panorama photos of the sakura. You can also enjoy up close shooting with the numerous individual blossoms. While on location, your Japan Dreamscapes Photography Workshop Leader is always happy to answer questions or give you any advice while enjoying Aomori’s cherry blossoms.
The next cherry blossom viewing is at historic Hirosaki Castle. Since the castle’s completion in 1611, it has been praised for its beauty at the center of Hirosaki City in Aomori Prefecture. It has also been memorialized in several travel brochures for its natural appeal. Hirosaki’s castle grounds boast several distinct features unlike any other Japanese location. The castle grounds hold more than 2,500 sakura trees with numerous varieties to enjoy. The sakura tunnel near the castle’s western moat is breathtaking as the trees come together over your, shrouding you in pink and white cherry blossom petals. One last element that makes Hirosaki’s sakura one of a kind is the metamorphosis that occurs every spring. The wind gently blows cherry blossoms petals into main moat of the castle transforming the moat into a glimmering pink garland encircling Hirosaki Castle. Imagine the one of a kind photographs you may take while visiting the castle.
Higashi Park in Kuroishi City is the center for its annual cherry blossom festival, and the park is expertly constructed to allow you to enjoy ‘hanami’ or cherry blossom viewing, sakura photography, and to sample delicious Japanese traditional festival meals while strolling through the park. With approximately 650 trees and more than 50 varieties of cherry blossom trees to photograph, you will definitely take photos that you will treasure forever. It is the most popular location in this part of Kuroishi City, and once you have spent time photographing there, you will probably feel the same.
Day 2 - April 25, 2019 - Thursday
The second day of sakura viewing begins in Aomori’s prefectural capital, and Gappo Park provides spellbinding views. We will leave early in morning to capture Aomori Bay behind the more than 500 cherry blossom trees that line the park’s pathways during the blue hour for shades of dawn to accent your sakura photos. Paper lanterns are a staple of Gappo Parks’s cherry blossom viewing, and they add a sense of authenticity and history to a day filled with spring beauty. If you would like a moment to relax between your spectacular photos then you may visit some of the food stalls that are open during the cherry blossom season.
Tsugaru Fujimi Lake is famous for being Aomori’s largest reservoir, but that is not what makes the location beautiful and draws the attention of photographers and tourists every year. On maps, the location is commonly referred to as Mawarizeki Otameike, but due to the Mt. Iwaki providing the backdrop for this location and the uncanny resemblance of the mountain to Mt. Fuji, the location adopted the Tsugaru Fujimi name. The park has more than 2,000 cherry trees planted, and it is surrounded by nature as well as other species of trees such as pine or maple that will offer a superb natural landscape to your cherry blossom photos. However, if up close photography is what you prefer, you will have that opportunity as well.
For photography from a different perspective, Tsuru no Man bridge has become very popular for being a spiritual place, so you can add that dimension to your photography tour experience. The bridge is the longest triple arch bridge in Japan, and it’s believed that those who walk across the bridge will enjoy a long life. The natural climate around Tsugaru Fujimi Lake and Mt. Iwaki is also believed to provide good luck and purify you mind and body. The Cherry Blossom Tour provides amazing photo ops as well as uplifting your sense of well-being.
The final stop for the second day is Ashino Park. Ashino Park is a tremendous open area nature reserve, some 80-hectares in size. Lake Ashinoko is home to more than 2,000 cherry trees and is ideal for the photographer who enjoys nature and landscapes photography as part of their cherry blossom photo workshop experience. You may explore the park on the well marked and sakura tree-lined paths inside the reserve area. If you’d prefer to take photos with the lake in foreground, there are boat rides offered in the park that can help make that dream a reality.
At the close of the day, over dinner and conversation, you and your Japan Dreamscapes Photography Workshop Leader will discuss shooting conditions for the following day delighting in Aomori’s cherry blossoms and natural landscapes.
Day 3 - April 26, 2019 - Friday
Our day begins in Shimoda Park, another expansive natural area for you to commune with nature and take photos to commemorate your time spent with Aomori’s cherry blossoms. Shimoda Park is a bit more open space balanced with cherry blossoms, and that is one element your photos will also reflect the balance of the lush, green trees and forest area with cherry blossoms. The paths are wide and allow you to pause and perfectly frame the best sakura photo. However, if you would like to look down into the park, there is an observation tower at the top of a hill in the park that will allow you to take an amazing panorama photo.
From Shimoda’s Park wide open areas, we transition into cherry blossoms seemingly painted into the cityscape of Towada. The city’s government office is based on this street, and it must be because of the inspiration that the cherry blossoms provide. The cherry blossoms form a similar canopy of shiny, pink beauty with the sakura trees as their branches reach out across the thoroughfare, making the sun shine a rosy pink. The entire walk is one kilometer long, but with so much beauty as far as the eye can see, the walk could take you hours to photograph and truly enjoy. This street was selected as one of the best streets in Japan, and with all of your photos, we are sure you’ll agree with that distinction.
The last viewing and photography area combines culture, history, and the breathtaking sakura. The cherry blossom photo tour leader has spent more than 20 years in Japan learning the culture and history of Japan, and the first thing you will know upon arriving at Sannohe Park is that the castle was formerly a possession of the Nanbu clan. The castle and its grounds make the ideal compliment to the cherry blossoms that are planted all over the castle grounds. You also won’t be able to miss the numerous monuments spread out over the grounds as a further dimension to your cherry blossom photography experience. Your mind and your memory card will full with Japanese culture and history.
After a full day of photography, your JDS photography workshop leader will guide you back to your business class seating in your spacious vehicle, then to Shin-Aomori Station and ultimately to Tokyo Haneda International Airport until you join us for another photography adventure.
Why Choose This Photography Tour/Workshop?
- All levels of photographers are welcome. - Any type of camera is welcome: digital, pocket camera, scoping with an iPhone, large format, and others. - Professional Photo Instruction available when requested - Opportunity to photograph cultural and architectural masterpieces. - Activity level varying from leisurely to moderate. - Provided transportation: Sports Utility Vehicle with Business Class Seating. - Small group size means quality, in-depth time with your workshop leader. - All questions are welcome and encouraged throughout your JDS adventure! - Each morning and evening, your JDS photo workshop leader will discuss with you and the group the best shooting options with weather conditions in mind so each tour member will be well prepared to take spectacular photos. - 2019 is the 22nd year that your workshop photography instructor has lead workshops & tours throughout Japan.
Tour Cost: $2100 per person (based on double occupancy) in 3 - 5-star accommodations with western style toiletries, and all breakfasts and dinners included. All group ground transportation will be in sports utility vehicles with business class seating. All entrance fees and all donations at temples and shrines are included in tour cost.
Single Supplement: Add $500
NOT included: Flight to and from Japan, any alcoholic beverages, and travel health insurance (recommended)