Exploring Japan – Photography + Travel Guides
We love exploring and immersing ourselves in different cultures. As travel photographers & addicted travellers, Japan is a fantastic place to visit. This wonderful country has it all – from bustling cities to amazing landscapes and scenery. You can absorb its culture and traditions which spans thousands of years or indulge in the country’s mouthwatering cuisine.
If you are anything like us, we like to hit the ground running, so prior to departure, we spend considerable time planning what we will be doing (a rough guide) each day. This way we spend more time exploring and less time trying to work out what to do once we have arrived.
So to make it a little easier for you we have put together a series of Exploring Japan Photography + Travel Guides. These guides are great for first-time visitors to Japan as well as those who want to discover new or different places. You can click on the banners below to read more or just scroll down.
WHAT IS TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY?
“Travel photography is a genre of photography that may involve the documentation of an area’s landscape, people, cultures, customs and history” – Wikipedia. You can also read this interesting post about Travel Photography titled “Travel Photography – How To Blend Your Passion With Profession“.
PLANNING & GETTING AROUND
Each guide will have specific information about the places we visited and recommend for photography. We also provide valuable information about how to get around these destinations.
For all our trips to Japan, we used the Pasmo IC Card or Pasmo Passport for getting around on local transport within the cities, there are however many different IC transport cards available depending on your starting/end point. Click here to read about the cards available and which is best for you. For longer journeys, we pre-purchased a JR Pass. Check out the Japan Rail Pass Calculator to see if it’s worth buying the JR Pass. We purchased the 14-day pass as we visited several different cities in Japan during the period. If you are basing yourself in one location, it may not be cost-effective to purchase the pass instead better to purchase individual train tickets.
You may want to consider NOT activating your JR Pass at the airport on arrival just to get into Tokyo/Osaka. If you are spending several days in the city, this time will eat into your JR Pass (unless you are just staying in Tokyo, in which case you can activate at the airport and also use it on the JR Lines in Tokyo). We found it easier to catch the bus from Tokyo Airport and use the Pasmo IC card to travel around Tokyo. It wasn’t until we were leaving Tokyo that we activated the JR Pass.
There are so many options when it comes to choosing your accommodation. We generally book hotels and guesthouses, however, if you prefer AirBnB’s then these are available as well. When choosing our accommodation we look at the location first, then the price. We also tend to book accommodation with a private bathroom where possible, this is just a personal preference. Double (bedding) rooms tend to be small (10-14sqm) in the newer hotels, so try to select twin bedding when booking to get a slightly larger room.
We have stayed in the following hotels on our three trips to Japan and can recommend these based on our personal experience. You can read more about the hotels we stayed at in our individual Location Guides, see links further down.
- APA Hotel Kanda Jimbocho Ekihigashi
- Kadoya Hotel – Shinjuku
- HOTEL MYSTAYS Hamamatsucho
- Asakusa Tobu Hotel
Fujikawaguchiko (Fuji Five Lakes)
With each of our guides, we will share information and recommend camera gear, lenses, and filters to assist with your planning along with some tips and techniques to capture great shots along the way.
Camera & Lenses
On our first trip, we shot with the Sony A7Rii and on the subsequent trip, we shot with the Sony A7Riii. These camera bodies together with the Sony 24-105mm f4 were the main combination we used during our time in Japan. Between us, we also carried the Sony 16-35mm f4, Sony 70-200mm f4, Laowa 15mm f2, Samyang 18mm f2.8, Samyang 35mm f2.8 & Samyang 12mm f2.8 Fisheye lenses to cover us for any ultra-wide-angle, low light, or telephoto requirements. We also always carry a spare Sony A7Rii camera and a 24-70 f/4 lens as a backup.
Our everyday bag of choice for this destination is the Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L (we also now use the V2 of this bag). We found this style of bag practical in busy cities like Tokyo, Kyoto & Osaka. When in transit between cities, we used our Vanguard Alta Rise 45 Camera Backpack and Lowepro Transit Backpack 350AW bags and then transferred our gear to Everyday Sling for day-to-day use.
We always carry at least one carbon fibre travel tripod between us. These are invaluable for low light, night, and long exposure shots. The tripod straps easily to the bottom of our Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L bag (read the review). Now that we have two Peak Design Travel Tripods (read the review), we carry one each.
All our lenses (with the exception of the 12mm fisheye) have *URTH UV filters, which remain on our lenses at all times (except for nighttime shots). We also travel with *URTH CPL polarizer filters, *URTH Variable ND filters and a NiSi 100mm square filter system with ND & ND Grads.
Other gear that we carried with us but didn’t always carry with us on a daily basis were as follows. You may want to take some of these into consideration. If you want to see all our gear then click here –
- Lenskirt – we usually carry this with us at all times as it is great for removing reflections when shooting through glass.
- External Hard Drive – we travel with 2 external hard drives for image backups on a daily basis. One will stay in the hotel safe and one will be carried in our day-to-day camera bag.
- All the usual accessories such as a blower brush, 3 camera batteries each, lens cloth, camera straps (both sling and wrist), wireless remote etc
- Tablet/Laptop – these were generally not carried around with us on a daily basis.
- Rain Cover – for both the Camera Bag and yourself
OUR LOCATION GUIDES
Our ‘Location Guides’ will help you to plan your visit to Japan by providing you with valuable advice and essential information for some of the best locations to explore and photograph in Japan. Just click on the locations guides below to read.
Australia Workshops & Photo Walks
These workshops & photo walks are suitable for all levels of photographers, from beginners to keen enthusiasts. Whether you are a visitor to Sydney or a local just wanting some intense guidance in photography, our 1-on-1 workshops, group workshops & photo walks are great way to learn about your camera and photography.
Our travel photography workshops offer real hands-on experience in a creative learning environment while on location. These workshops are designed for photographers of all skill levels and are an ideal introduction to some wonderful locations to help you master your travel photography skills.
Please Note: We may receive commissions when you click links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews or recommendations. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice.
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