Japan Tours Itinerary

Photographic Challenge

Tour to Japan – 11 days, 10 Nights – 24 Mar – 04  Apr 2022 (Cherry Blossom Season)

Photographic Challenge Tour in Japan

Japan is the land of endless discovery.  It has everything from futuristic high-tech cities, stunning snow-capped mountains to ancient temples and shrines.  Part of its unique charm is how the old and new blend seamlessly together making it one of the most popular travel destinations for professional photographers in the world.

With strong visuals; stunning landscapes, historic architecture and the period costumes, Japan is packed with awesome photographic opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else. This tour is hosted by Trevor Grant, a professional photographer who will escort you around some of Japans famous photographic icons. Trevor who has been a professional photographer for over 30 years will be on  hand to give you hints and tips on aperture, shutter speeds, ISO values and how to frame the perfect shot for your portfolio.

Day 1  –  Osaka

All Day: Depart Australia for Osaka
Evening: Arrive Osaka at 7:15 PM 

On arrival at the hotel, we will check in and meet for a photo Q&A session.  Here will discuss what you can expect from the photography tour and chat about timings and the photographic opportunities of the coming days.

Day 2 – Kyoto

Composition and the use of props & night shoot 1

Morning: Kinkaku-Ji (Golden Pavilion)
Afternoon: Arashiyama
Evening: Dotonbori 

First up we visit the Kinkaku-Ji (Golden Pavilion). This is a remarkable example of a traditional Japanese garden with a gold-leaf covered pagoda.  With beautiful gardens and pond, this is a great location for stunning outdoor landscape shots.  Later in the afternoon we move to the bamboo forest and river gorge area of Arashiyama, for a different style of landscape photography.  After a short break at the hotel for processing, we will head out for a night photoshoot challenge at Dotonbori.  With fascinating structures, people and ambience to work with, this photoshoot is all about synchro-lighting of available neon and flash lighting

Day 3 Kyoto

Portraiture techniques, adaptive lighting and night shoot 2

All day: Gion Geisha shoot
Evening: Gion Old Quarter

After a quick look and brief discussion about yesterday’s imagery, we will head out to the Gion area where we have the opportunity to photograph a Geisha.  We can photograph the complete transformation of the Geisha from applying the make-up to wearing the traditional dress.  The Geisha model will be available for three hours for photographic direction.  Later we will head out for a night shoot of the old town with its gas-lit streets and traditional buildings that create beautiful ambience allowing the picture to tell a story.

Day 4  Hiroshima

Composition and differing light conditions

Morning: Bullet train to Hiroshima/ Peace Museum
Afternoon: Shukkeien Garden
Evening:  Return to Osaka/Imagery processing 

Starting at the Peace Memorial Park Museum, we will take a leisurely stroll through the Peace Park to the UNESCO world heritage listed Atomic Bomb Dome building all of which present many and varied photo opportunities. Once we leave the Dome area, we will take a short bus ride to one of the most photogenic Japanese gardens (Shukkeien Garden, first built in 1620) where you will be able to create some of the most beautiful garden landscape series of photographs. Then it’s back to Osaka by bullet train and an opportunity for you to process your imagery.

Later that evening we will meet up for Photo Forum 2 and a Q&A session.

Day 5 –  Osaka

Architecture, putting buildings in their place

Morning: Bullet train to Himeji/Himeji Castle
Afternoon: Bullet train to Kyoto/Fushimi Inari Shrine
Evening: Photo Q&A/Imagery processing 

This morning we head to the UNESCO world heritage site of Himeji Castle – the largest, and an original, castle in Japan. First built in 1333, the castle has remained intact in its current state for over 400 years and is surrounded by hundreds of Cherry Blossom trees, a moat and ancient walls.

After lunch, we head back to Kyoto to photograph the colourful grandeur of the Fushimi Inari Shrine.  This temple in the hills has over 1000 orange coloured Tori Gates lining the pathways to the entrance at the top of the hill. After a full day of shooting, we head back to the hotel for some free time and an opportunity for you to process your imagery.

Day 6 –  Nara

Architecture & nature with natural lighting

Morning: Train to Nara/ Todai-ji Temple
Afternoon: (Late) Bullet train to Tokyo
Evening: Imagery processing

Today we travel to the first permanent capital of Japan – Nara. Here we visit the Todai-ji Temple (established in the year 710) which is the largest wooden structure in the world and houses a 5-storey high bronze Buddha inside. The temple presents magnificent opportunities for some great architectural photos while the surrounding area provides landscape, flora & fauna opportunities with the deer roaming free through the park. Later this afternoon/early evening, we take the bullet train and head to Tokyo and check in to our hotel for the evening.

Day 7 –  Mount Fuji

Creativity with a long lens

Morning: Travel to Mount Fuji (via Gotemba)
Afternoon: Fujiheiwa Park
Evening: Photo Q&A/Imagery processing

This morning we travel, by road, to Mount Fuji, in our own personal minibus, giving great scenic views of the Japanese countryside. We will stop at the beautiful Fujiheiwa Park, in Gotemba, where Cherry Blossom will be in full bloom framing a backdrop of Mount Fuji through the trees.

Then we head over the mountains to Lake Yamanakako and check in to our hotel for an early night ready for tomorrows early start.

Day 8 – Mount Fuji

Landscape, nature and low light shooting

Morning: Lake Yamanakako
Afternoon: Mount Fuji area
Evening: Photo Q&A/Imagery processing 

Today is an extra-early start (sunrise) to capture the splendour, complete with lake reflections, of Mt Fuji in all of its dawning glory. Once we have completed the morning shoot, we head back to the hotel for breakfast.  Next, we visit the surrounding countryside before heading back to Mount Fuji for the photo opportunities at the ice cave, lava cave, and then on to Saiko Iyashi no Satoneba historic village. A Japanese village with traditional thatched-roof buildings and the perfect afternoon back-drop of Mount Fuji.  If time, and daylight permits, we will then take a drive up to Mount Fuji 5th station for some more photographs of the surrounding landscapes and lakes. Then it’s back to the hotel for imagery processing and some rest and relaxation.

Day 9 – Tokyo

Composition / night synchro-lighting

Morning: Lake Yamanakako / travel back to Tokyo
Afternoon: Tokyo city
Evening: Asakusa

This morning gives you a final opportunity to shoot Mount Fuji at sunrise before heading back to Tokyo after breakfast.  Here, we will leave our bags at the hotel and then head into the centre of Tokyo for some architectural photos around the magnificent Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace (outer grounds) all of which will incite creativity with walls, moats, castles and foliage.

After returning to the hotel, we will head to Asakusa and the Sensoji Temple for a night shoot. Sensoji Temple is Tokyo’s oldest temple right in the heart of the city and has a gorgeous mix of old and new buildings and a well-lit trading street.  

Day 10 –  Tokyo

Shooting in low light

Morning: Bullet train to Utsunomiya
Afternoon: Oya Stone Museum/bullet train to Tokyo
Evening: Shibuya

We start the day with a bullet train ride to Utsunomiya, 1 hour north of Tokyo. Here we will take a local bus to the remarkable Oya Stone Museum, first built in 1603.  The museum is all underground and made up of huge cathedral like spaces of more than 20,000 sqm. This area will challenge your skills in showing depth and size with the available lighting.  We will then head back to Tokyo, to the famous Shibuya Crossing – the world’s busiest multi-directional street crossing. You’ll be surrounded by bright neon lights and giant illuminated screens so you can let your imagination run wild and capture some amazing night shots.

Day 11 – Australia

Morning: Shinagawa

Afternoon: Free time
Evening: Fly directly back to Australia 

This morning we will take a visit to the Nikon Museum at Shinagawa. In this small but fascinating museum, you can see every camera and lens that Nikon have ever made.  After some last-minute shopping, we will head to Narita airport for our overnight flight direct to Australia, arriving around 07:00 the following morning.

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Included in the Photographic Challange Tour to Japan


All Flights & Taxes


All Accommodation


10 Light Lunches


10 Breakfasts


All transportation within Japan


All Tour Guides & Entrance Fees


24/7 Help and support whilst in Japan