Chasing Sakura Blooms
All Inclusive Japan Adventure
Land of the Rising Sun
DateMarch 27th-April 7th
Trip length12 Days
You could travel to Japan any time of year and visit any place and we promise you would return with rich and vibrant memories of people, architecture, cuisine and culture. So when we set out to create our Japan photo tour, we asked ourselves, “how can we raise the bar and deliver an experience even more exceptional to our guests?” And the answer is Sakura season. Sakura, or “Cherry Blossoms” are highly symbolic and celebrated throughout Japan while their flowers bloom moving North with the warming of Spring.
Their blooms are celebrated at shrines, castles, temples, parks and more where we can enjoy not only special fairs and events, but also capture ancient Japanese structures surrounded and framed by the beautiful blooming Sakura!
This photo tours is chock full of highlights as we make our way from the Southern city of Hiroshima, 800 kilometers north to Tokyo, with many stops along the way during our journey. Our carefully choreographed tour leaves no stone unturned visiting massive Torii gates, mystical mountains, bamboo groves and zen gardens. In Between our photo opportunities we’ll enjoy a diverse variety of authentic Japanese cuisine from local food markets to sit-down 5 course feasts!
To allow our photographers to spend ample quality time with our guests, and to keep our group intimate, we only allow 12 guests to join us in Japan. For complete tour and itinerary details, continue reading below. This tour typically sells out during our pre-registration event, so if there are still seats left, don’t wait too long!
Discovery Gold Standard
Our Spring in Japan Photo tour is an all encompassing cultural phenomenon. It’s got cuisine, history, art and architecture. We guarantee every morning you wake up in Japan, you will be looking forward to the adventure of the day ahead. Beginning with the food: forget what you know about Japanese cuisine, this tour is on another level and delivers authentic regional dishes that will not only ravish your taste buds, but will also be meticulously presented ritualistically.
Of course there’s the history, art and architecture, all of which will serve as the backdrop to many of our planned photo shoots. Temple, Torii Gates, shrines, pagodas, castles and so many others. Japan keeps its history alive and preserved as well as relevant in everyday life.
We’re going to take a moment and pat ourselves on the back for this one. There are so many wonderful shots to get in Japan, and we’ve taken all the guesswork out about where to capture the magic. We’ve studied the locations and will be sure to share our knowledge and secrets with you at every shoot.
When planning shots, we consider weather, traffic, crowds, time of day, construction and more. We know exactly where to be and the precise time to be there, all to make sure you get that shot your friends and family will envy. At the end of the day, taking unbelievable pictures is what we do, and now we’re sharing these locations with you.
Our photographers are the heart of our company… and they’re so much more than their incredible talent. Sure, they’ve traveled the world and captured beauty beyond our wildest dreams. Sure, they’ve graced the covers of magazines and websites and earned the respect of their industry. But it takes much more to be a Discovery Photo Tour Leader. Simply put, our photographers are good people. You’ll travel, explore and learn with them, you’ll share meals together, and they’ll show you how to capture amazing pictures. And at the end of the tour, you’ll have a lifelong friend; the newest addition to your holiday card list. Our tour leaders are here to make your journey unforgettable, and that’s why they’re not only world renowned for their craft, but they’re also an absolute pleasure to adventure with around the world.
Welcome to Japan
Our tour begins in historic city of Hiroshima
It's Arrival Day and our guests and photographers will be traveling to Japan from all over the globe! After landing in Hiroshima Airport you'll meet our photographers and make your way to our hotel for the night. Our group will meet up for a celebratory dinner to get our tour kicked off!
Peace Memorial Park Hiroshima
History of our world
After a group breakfast we visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. This beautiful serene setting celebrates the heroes and history of the city's WWII tragedy. It is an eye opening experience that demonstrates the honor and life passion of the Japanese people.
Next we will visit Hiroshima Castle for a landscape shoot before taking a sunset cruise by the The Floating Torii Gate.
Temple, Shrines and the Great Torii Gate!
Today we take a short ferry ride to the Island of Miyajima where we'll get our first taste of ancient Japanese architecture and some incredibly delicious street market food. Don't miss the steamed buns! Making our way through the temples, shrines and pagodas we'll capture the scenes of the daily life of a Japanese monk. We'll wrap up our first day with a sunset shoot of the Great Torii Gate off the shore of Miyajima!
History and Canals
After breakfast we will take a local train to the the historically preserved town of Kurashiki. Hundreds of years ago it served as a rice distribution town, now we can visit a slice of history and see where the rice was stored and the canals they used to transport it. After exploring the small town, we will end our day with a sunset shoot on the canal.
Castles and Zen Gardens
After breakfast our group continues North to the town of Himeji. Here we will visit Himeji Castle, one of Japan's largest and most beautiful castles, listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. After lunch we will visit a vast zen garden at Kokoen where our group can explore 9 separate walled gardens spread over ten-thousand square meters!
On to Osaka!
Parks, Temples and More!
Enter the magical city
Today we head to the incredible city of Kyoto, where we will spend the next 3 days. This city is full of photographic opportunities and we will visit many of them! We'll start at the historical Nishiki market where the locals have purchased all their fresh produce and local specialties for close to 800 years! After a guided tour along the Kamogawa river we'll enjoy a delicious dinner and retire early to prepare for our early morning shoot.
Torii Gates and Geisha
Early rise and off to Fushimi Inari Shrine! We need to arrive before the crowds in order to capture the Torii gates uninterrupted. After our morning shoot we will explore the trails around the mountain side visiting dozens of shrines along the way. Later we'll have a special access to photograph a private Geisha tea ceremony, after which we will wrap up our busy day with a blue hour shoot at Yasaka shrine.
Bamboo Groves, Temples and More!
We kick off today with an early sunrise shoot at the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest where we will capture the sun's early rays piercing the peaceful grove. Our day continues onto the Tenryuji, Adashino and Nanzenji temples , each with it's own character and story. Finally after a full day of shooting we will end our day with a sunset shoot at Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion before dinner.
Onto the great city!
After breakfast our group will board a high speed bullet train and make our way to Tokyo. Once we arrive we will head to Asakusa, one of Tokyo's oldest areas. There we can get a glimpse of what Tokyo used to look like many many years ago. After exploring and lunch we will make our way to the World Trade Center building where we will end our photography with a blue hour shoot of Tokyo taken from the 35th floor observatory. After our shoot our group will enjoy a farewell dinner before retiring for the night.
Get To Know
DateMarch 27th-April 7th
Trip length12 Days
Max group size12
Our tours not only focus on postcard quality photography opportunities, we also carefully select all our dining locations and menus. Specifically on our Japan tour, our aim is to provide an authentic culinary experience that allows you to taste the extensive and stylistic cuisines from Hiroshima to Tokyo. Menus will include local delicacies and dishes throughout our journey ranging from Oyster flavored rice in Miyajima to Tepanyaki skewers in Tokyo. Bring a healthy appetite, you will never be hungry!
Although we spend minimal time in our hotels, we select them with the focus on customer satisfaction, cleanliness and location. This allows our guests a comfortable setting to unwind, recharge and rest with the convenience of departing to our next shoot or location.
Overview of shooting locations
Photography skill level
Recommended photography equipment
- DSLR or Mirrorless camera(s)
- Sturdy Tripod
- Wide angle lens 16mm or less
- Zoom lens 24-70mm
- Zoom Lens 70-200mm
- Cable release
- ND & Polarizer filters
Join us in Japan
If you would like to request your own room for the tour, there is an additional cost of $800USD. We reserve our accommodations many months in advance, therefore please understand we will do our best to secure you a single supplement room, however cannot guarantee its availability.
Choose your room type below and add to cart to complete your deposit and reserve your spot to join us on this unforgettable photography tour to Japan.
Ken Kaminesky is a veteran commercial travel photographer, Fujifilm Global Ambassador, Zeiss lens Ambassador, writer, consultant, and entrepreneur with over twenty years of experience in the photography industry. Ken's iconic photography has featured in major publications including the New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, and twice on the front cover of National Geographic magazine.