Fast Trains, Smooth Saké, and Golden Rice Terraces - Japan Dreamscapes Photography Tour September 25 - 28, 2018
This tour is offered annually for approximate dates in September for 2019, 2020, and 2021. Contact JDS to pre-book your spot.
High Speed Ride on A Bullet Train! or Shinkansen
Sekijyosan Saifukuji Temple and others
High Alpine Escape
Spectacular Rice Terraces/Blue Hour through to Golden Hour
Delicious Japanese Sake Tasting
Day 1 - September 25, 2018, Tuesday
Meet and greet Tokyo-Haneda International Airport (HND) International Terminal 8 am (place inside the airport to be announced when you book your spot). After meeting, you and the group will immediately be transported into your Japan Dreamscape Photography adventure journey of a lifetime! Transfer from Haneda Airport by limousine shuttle to Tokyo Station and climb aboard a Super Express Bullet Train traveling at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per hour! Upon leaving Tokyo at lightning speeds, the city will slowly dissolve replaced by the pastoral countryside, with landscapes that inspired Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli’s and his Japanese animation masterpieces, such as My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away and others. We arrive in the pristine, highlands of Yuzawa, Niigata in the Japanese Alps which bear an uncanny resemblance to the original EU Alps. You will immediately experience the health benefits of the crisp, alpine air with a sensational view. The area is in the world’s top five producers of rice, sake, sake rice for rice wine. We will climb into our sports mountain vehicles and seize the opportunity to photograph the glorious panorama that the Yuzawa mountain range offers, as the SUVs steadily convey you to Sekijyosan Saifukuji Temple, a lasting haven of Shinto Bushido worship that the samurai shogun authorised the construction of, during the Edo Period. The temple’s dramatic yet calming dragon carvings were inspired by the mythological appearance of dragons in the Japanese Valley of the Dragons. The next day, you may photograph these mythological formations as they appear in the high, alpine rice terraces. Then, book into our lodgings and prepare yourself for a lavish dinner and variety of sumptuous saké, Japanese wine.
Day 2 - September 26, 2018, Wednesday
In the wee hours before the cock crows, we embark on the journey to Tokamachi. You will feel awestruck by your first glimpse of the rice terraces. As we arrive, the terraces will be shrouded in a mystical blue fog, as it tries fruitlessly to capture the boundaries of mythological shapes that manifest through and into the Valley of Japan’s Golden Dragons. The trees and some jagged edges of the terrain also play their part, as they pierce the mist, dispelling the illusional boundaries between worlds for your photography pleasure. There is always a philosopher’s tree, and we will utilize ours in our photography and contemplate upon the view, as the mist and clouds blur the boundaries of earth and sky. Approximately an hour later, as the sun breaks the horizon, all the illusions will be revealed as the sun separates from the land and takes its rightful place high in the morning sky. Rice terraces, that inspired Hayao Miyazaki, shift from fantastical variations of blue, catching fire as the rays of golden sunlight catalyze the transformation from night to day. Your photos will be the basis of your legendary journey that few foreigners have tread upon, and your images are testimony of your valour having entered the Valley of the Dragons. Your JDS Photography Workshop leader will insure that your images are gallery worthy. Once the rice terrace odyssey closes, the JDS team will shepherd you to a Zen Buddhist location. Tokamachi abounds in natural beauty and depending on weather conditions, you can photograph the well-known Bijinbayashi, the Beech Forest, or Kiyotsukyo, a gorge formed by a raging river than has flowed within it for thousands of years. In the Japanese alpine area, between and among all of the natural phenomenon, is an abundance of wildlife. In the evening, if you felt you wanted to imbibe more of the sacred Japanese rice wine, sake, you may. You’ll have your opportunity at our evening dinner. The cuisine will be divine and the rice wine will flow.
Day 3 September 27, 2018, Thursday
Revisit rice terraces in the am, off the beaten path and spectacular. These rice terraces are equally breathtaking with a different view and horizon, and you will be able to take advantage of your newfound photographic skills learned from your first day. After sunrise, we will return to our lodgings for breakfast and check out. After check out, you will have a couple free hours for shopping and purchasing Premium Japanese sake that is only available in Niigata. Then, board the bullet train to return to Haneda Airport via Tokyo Station.
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 (included in tour cost).
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 (minimum two people; maximum eight) means quality, in-depth time with your workshop leader.
All questions are welcome and encouraged throughout your JDS adventure!
During our super express bullet train ride and during evening meals, your JDS photo workshop leader will discuss with you and the group the best shooting options with weather conditions in mind so everyone will be well prepared to take spectacular shots. No precious moments are wasted in needless seminars.
2018 is the 21st year that your workshop photography instructor has lead workshops & tours throughout Japan.
Tour Cost: $1800 per person (based on double occupancy) in a 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. Also included is professional photography instruction as well as a detailed itinerary with clothing and gear recommendations.
Single Supplement: $200
Not included:Flight to and from Japan, any alcoholic beverages beyond what is stated in the tour itinerary, travel health insurance, items of a personal nature.