Recently back from my Japan trip I wanted to show you some highlights of this beautiful country. On my private (4 max) 10 day tour we ventured through 5 major locations we stayed a night or two. Staying in some modern and traditional accommodation we explored each city or area to capture the best shots from the best spots. Spring this year with it's cherry blossoms came very late. Surprisingly in some parts still had fresh snow on the ground. I will be going back in early November and still have spots to fill so please email me if you are keen to join on this learning adventure. www.alfonso.com.au
Travelling from Tokyo to the Mt. Fuji area is not a long journey. There are 5 major lakes surrounding Mt. Fuji which stands at 3776 metres and viewable from many vantage points. Like most tall mountains the weather can reveal it's peak or hide behind the clouds. Lucky for us we were able to catch glimpses of her from a snow filled graveyard. The next morning at the 400 step pagoda we had a clear view as seen below.
In Kyoto it goes without saying that we become the Paparazzi and the Geisha (Maiko & Geiko) are our target. Lucky for us we found them down a back alley in some secret spots I know they frequent. Lucky for them they got to run away quickly. Gion is the area where they live and work. Another highlight in Kyoto is the Bamboo grove in Arashiyama and Fushimi Inari orange gates. As usual there were hoards of tourists so you can imagine how hard it would be to get a clean shot.
The Shinkansen from Kyoto to Kanazawa was a delight to ride the thunderbird which only takes two hours. It's always fun to pick our bento lunch box to have on the train journeys while we edit our best photos. Kanazawa is on the Japan sea. It is a like a mini version of Kyoto with much less tourist. Our first stop was the Higashi Chaya Unesco Heritage listed area followed by a short stroll to the back streets nearby where we spotted a Geisha on her way to work.
Not too far away from Kanazawa up in the mountains is a picturesque village also Unesco Heritage listed with twenty pristine 250 year old houses you can stay the night in tradition style. Sleeping on a tatami mat floor and Futon was a very comfortable stay. They even cooked river fish over the hot coals in a open fire pit in the next room.
Nagano Snow Monkeys
After a short 45 minute stroll through the forest an hour out of Nagano city is Jigokudani National Park. Riddled with the infamous snow monkeys who come down from the mountains to soak themselves in the hot springs. They are used to us rubber necked tourists taking their photos like celebrities on the red carpet, some even like to pose.