Contact JDS if you are interested in this tour for 2021.
Photography of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant
Authentic Japanese Style Inn Experience
Observe the ‘Difficult to Return’ Zone after the 3.11 Disaster
Witness a community rebuilding
Meet at Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND) at 8 am, and then to the Yamabiko Shinkansen or the Hayabusa which departs Tokyo for the Tohoku Region to Koriyama city in Fukushima Prefecture. From that station, you will transfer to Fukushima Coastal area in a luxury SUV.
After a little less than 2 hours, you will arrive in Tomioka, Fukushima. Tomioka skirted the edge of what was known as the ‘difficult to return’ region of Fukushima immediately after the earthquake, nuclear disaster, and tsunami, and it was only recently recategorized for Reconstruction and Revitalization as part of Fukushima Prefecture’s long-term plan to spark interest in this area as it is rebuilt.
Once you arrive in Tomioka, you will photograph a city with two distinct personalities. There are several areas where the restoration is nearly complete, and many shopping malls and industrial centers are nearly finished ready to welcome returning residents. However, as you move to the outskirts of the city center, you will see the legacy of March 11th, or 3.11, as it is referred to in Japan, as some areas around Tomioka still need more time to heal from the earthquake’s effect.
The next stop in Namie, a small down north of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, but on the way to the northern town, we will stop as close as is safe to observe the power plant itself. Photos of the power plant will be difficult because of safe distances required, but the environment around the Dai-ichi grounds will give you pause as you see a city frozen in time at the fateful moment that Japanese residents of Fukushima changed forever.
After absorbing the gravity of the situation, we will finish the journey north to Namie. Some of the town has been designated as safely inhabitable, but other parts have not. In contrast to Tomioka, this city is still held sway by the forces of nature that stopped it years before. Some areas are still evacuated and walled away from travelers, but you can still explore around those areas and see what was happening at the precise moment when the disaster struck.
Once you have recorded the area’s history with your camera, it is time to rest up before tackling one more day witnessing Japan rebuild from the 3.11 Disaster. The Tohoku-Fukushima Photo Tour is all-inclusive, and your JDS has secured accommodation at a nearby ryokan, or Japanese style inn, a location that keeps the traditions of Fukushima alive by refusing to close its doors more than was officially mandated by the Japanese government.
Early in the morning, your JDS Photography Tour Leader will provide time for you to capture some golden hour photos of the nearby landscape as well as taking you to some excellent vantage points to see a large part of the nuclear facility. We will be shooting at a distance, so we recommend bringing the correct lens, but well before the Fukushima Photo Tour departs, your leader will advise you on gear choices to make the most of your adventure.
The next day, we once again board or luxury SUV and head slightly north to a small coastal city called Minami-Soma. Minami-Soma and Soma weren’t featured on the news as prominently due to its neighbor cities Namie and Tomioka being so much physically closer to the ground zero of the nuclear disaster, but it was struck just as hard by the accompanying tsunami.
At this location, you will again see two photographic worlds expressed in one town. On one hand, local organizations have banded together to restore the city and its industry, and their efforts provide ample photo ops for visiting photographers to document how much progress has been made to restore the town, but the local residents have decided to leave some of the ruined buildings and tsunami created phenomenon just as it was on that fateful day nearly a decade ago. The remnants of the disaster serve as a reminder of the event as a tribute to thousands that perished on March 11, 2011. Minami-Soma and its sister city Soma represent a photo spectacle that JDS will help you navigate and take the best pictures of your life.
With your photograph documentary completed of four cities changed forever by the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, everyone will reflect one last time on the gravity of the event and their amazing photos, and ride in the luxury SUV for approximately 90 minutes, but this time to Fukushima city, the capital of the prefecture. As with any other prefectural capital, there are local delicacies that we recommend stocking up on before boarding the shinkansen for Tokyo. Once we arrive back in Tokyo, we will part ways and wait for our next adventure together.
- 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! - Your JDS photo workshop leader is happy to discuss the best shooting options with weather conditions in mind so each tour member will be well prepared to take spectacular photos. - 2020 is the 23rd year that your workshop photography instructor has lead workshops & tours throughout Japan.
Tour Cost: $1000 per person/ MINIMUM 4 people. Due to the concentration of this tour's itinerary and the travel from Tokyo via Shinkansen, this tour has a minimum client threshold. The tour reservations close three weeks before the tour start date, and one week prior to departure, JDS will contact the members who have joined and either confirm the tour and give in-depth details regarding itinerary and recommendations OR announce a postponement and refund the photo tour deposit.
NOT included: Flight to and from Japan, any alcoholic beverages, and travel health insurance (recommended)