Landscapes of Japan & Zen gardens with Kyoto
October 31 - November 14, 2021
Visit Magical Japan in Autumn
Join photographers David Cobb & Christian Heeb for fall in Japan, where you’ll experience the spectacular autumn light and color in Tokyo, Kyoto, around Mount Fuji, from Kiso to Osaka. Discover everything from geishas, gardens, temples, and landscapes to the towns, people, and culture of Japan on this extraordinary photo journey
15 days / 14 nights
€ 8,490/per person/double room sharing ( ~ US$ 9,512)
€ 1,800/single room surplus ( ~ US$ 2,015)
5 - 9 persons
- Transport from Tokyo to Osaka
- local tour guide
- all rides in public transportation
- Transport by private charter bus on days 7 & 8
- Japan Rail Pass for 14 days
- Boat trip on the Kumano River
- Pasmo Card for transfers in Hiroshima
- Ferry to Miyajima
- Cable car ride on day 9
- 2 luggage transfers: Tokyo - Kiso & Kii Katsuura - Kyoto (one piece of luggage per person)
- 12 nights: Hotel in double room, 1 night: Ryokan in double room
- Meals: 12 × B, 1 × L (LB), 7 × D
- Photography support by David Cobb & Christian Heeb
- flight to Tokyo, Airport Narita (NRT) or Haneda (HND)
- return flight from Osaka Airport Kansai (KIX)
- Not mentioned meals and drinks
- Entrance fees to the sights (altogether approx. 60 € p.P.)
- Entry formalities
- Departure tax (1000 JPY)
- Optional excursions
- Personal expenses
October 31 – November 14, 2021
Individual arrival to Tokyo. After arrival in Tokyo, shuttle to the hotel, where the luggage can be left. The hotel is centrally located. In the evening we enjoy a first Japanese dinner and get to know our tour guide. Overnight at hotel. Journey time from Narita Airport (NRT) approx. 1.5 h / from Haneda Airport (HND) approx. 50 min.
The mega city presents itself with very different faces. Our tour guide will present us the most photographically interesting parts of Tokyo. In the historic district of Asakusa, we mingle with the faithful in the Buddhist Kannon Temple. The path leads through the busy Nakamise-dori shopping street and through the Thunder Gate with its 750 kg lantern. The view from the town hall brings us, as a magnificent 360-degree panorama, the sheer infinity of the sea of houses in front of the lens. The famous food market in Tsukiji and the fish market in Toyosu are unique in order to authentically explore Japanese food culture. From Roppongi Hills Tower we have an impressive view of the city. Harajuku, in particular the Takeshita Street with its shrill boutiques, is the center of Japanese youth culture. Most likely, we also meet small groups of cosplayers here. In the early evening, at Hachiko Square in Shibuya, the young life pulsates in the midst of a fascinatingly glittering world of neon lights. Billboards, neon signs and strolling crowds - are a guarantee for colorful Tokyo motifs. Overnight in Tokyo.
11.02.2021 Tokyo - Mt. Fuji 1×(B/D)
In case we have not visited all program points the previous day, the morning still remains for discoveries in Tokyo. Today we pack our daypack for one night. Our main luggage will be forwarded to Kiso. On our train ride through the Five Lakes area, we have fantastic views of majestic Fuji-san on a clear day. Because of its importance as a sacred place and source of artistic inspiration, the 3,776 meter high volcano was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage. From Tokyo we take the train to Shimo Yoshida Station, where we have a magical view of snow-capped Mt. Fuji from the 5-storey Chureito Pagoda framed by autumn-foliage trees - a classic Japanese motif. In the late afternoon we stop for a sunset mood at Kawaguchiko Lake, from where we have a picturesque view of Fuji-san. Overnight near Mt. Fuji.
11.03.2021 Mt. Fuji - Matsumoto - Kiso 1×(B/D)
Today starts early in the morning to experience Fuji-san at sunrise. Then breakfast and train ride to Matsumoto, where we initially stow our luggage safely in the station. Then in Matsumoto one of the most beautiful preserved castles in Japan is on the program. The weir known as Krähenburg for its black paint was built in the 16th century and is an originally preserved samurai castle. Train ride to Kiso-Fukushima, into the enchanting Kiso Valley on the southern foothills of the Japanese Alps. Once the tranquil village was an important stopover for merchants and samurai on the route between Edo (now Tokyo) and Kyoto. After having a look around the place, the Kozenji Temple with its large rock garden and the old checkpoint, check in at the hotel. Overnight in Kiso.
11.04.2021 Kiso 1×(B/L (LB)/D)
We spend today in the Kiso Valley, where the historical trade route Nakasendo was. Our tour guide will bring us to the best spots depending on current weather conditions and autumn foliage color. Narai, an old post office, preserves the charm of the old Edo period even today, many houses have been lovingly restored. Not far from the second highest volcanic crater after Fuji-san, the Ontake-san with 3067 meters altitude, we experience a particularly beautiful nature, rich in wonderfully colored deciduous trees. In the village of Otaki, at the foot of the Ontake, we see many pilgrims climbing the mountain and see them resting at the shrines. We can ejoy the clears night sky. Overnight in Kiso.
11.05.2021 Kiso – Kii-Halbinisel (Katsuura) (1×B)
A train ride brings us to the southeastern tip of the Kii Peninsula to Katsuura. For our excursions in this region we change to a charter bus, which will be available for the next two days. We climb the 580 beautifully integrated stone steps to the Nachi Taisha Shrine. The sacred Nachi waterfall is the highest waterfall in Japan with a drop of 133 meters - we have the opportunity to photograph this natural spectacle in combination with the pagoda from above and below. Overnight in Katsuura.
11.06.2021 Kii-Halbinsel (Katsuura) - Dorokyo - Totsukawa – Koyasan 1×(B/D)
Our main luggage is sent to Kyoto in the morning, we pack a daypack for an overnight stay. Early in the morning we enjoy the atmosphere at the port of Katsuura before we take the bus to the pier. We continue with a boat trip on the Kumano River, which is surrounded by a beautiful mountain scenery of traditional paddle boats. Afterwards we travel by bus to Kumano Hongu-Taisha - the most important of all Shinto shrines, whose huge torii in front of the rice fields makes a wonderful photo opportunity. Afterwards we experience an exciting walk over Japan's longest suspension bridge and enjoy the breathtaking mountain scenery. In the afternoon we drive to Mount Koyasan, which has more than 100 temples and has been the center of Shingon Buddhism for over 1200 years. We visit the Kongobuji, the main temple of the Shingon, and cross three mystical bridges in Japan's oldest and most prominent cemetery Okunoin. An ancient cedar avenue leads two kilometers through a forest, past 200,000 gravestones and stupas dedicated to feudal lords, prominent monks, samurai and, in modern times, even deceased employees of well-known Japanese companies. Overnight in a temple hostel / Ryokan.
11.07.2021 Koyasan - Nara – Kyoto (1×B)
In order to experience the daily life of the monks and thus the real temple life, it is advisable to attend the morning prayer in the prayer hall, which starts at 06:00. Immerse yourself in the meditative songs and Zen rituals of the monks. After breakfast, travel by cable car and train to Nara, cradle of Japanese culture and one of the great attractions of the country. Nara was the first capital of Japan in the 8th century, from which it was permanently governed. A special highlight of the day with two superlatives is the "Daibutsu", the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world. He is worshiped in the Todaiji Temple, one of the world's largest wooden buildings. Along the way to Kasuga Shrine, we will captivate the unique atmosphere of thousands of stone and bronze lanterns. In the afternoon drive to Kyoto, where in the evening Gion in the evening, most Geishas and Maikos are on the way. Overnight in Kyoto.
Early in the morning we take the train to visit Arashiyama in the western outskirts of Kyoto. Here we enjoy an idyllic walk through the famous bamboo grove followed by a visit to the Tenryuji Temple (UNESCO). He is one of Kyoto's five major Zen temples. In the Kinkauji Temple we marvel at the famous golden pavilion. Around noon we experience in Kyoto's kitchen, on the Nishiki market, the whole variety of Japanese delicacies. In the afternoon, we recommend a trip to Kyoto's northeast. By bus or train we drive to the Nanzenji Temple with its impressive San Mon Gate and visit the barely known Konchi-in Temple - a real insider tip. Following the Philosophers' Path, a meditative walk among maple trees takes us to the Ginkauji Temple, whose beautifully landscaped garden with its ponds and stones radiates unique beauty. Overnight in Kyoto.
Early in the morning short train ride to the edge of Kyoto, where we visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is famous worldwide for its thousands of orange torii. The gates extend over a distance of several kilometers uphill on a hill. Along the way are numerous shrines, some cemeteries and many of the holy Shizo statues. On the top of the hill, the most sacred relic is unusually even publicly visible. Then it goes to the Tofukujo Temple, best autumn leaves coloring in Kyoto! We spend the afternoon with an easy hike (40 min) at the foot of the mountain Kurama in the northeast of Kyoto. Here we visit the Kurama Temple, whose deity is said to give life-force, and the beautifully silent Kifune Shrine in the forest. Overnight in Kyoto.
11.10.2021 Kyoto - Okayama – Onomichi (1×B)
Our journey continues south to Okayama on the coast of the picturesque Seto Inland Sea, where we visit the Korakuen. The garden from the 17th Century is one of the three most beautiful landscaped gardens in Japan. We stow our luggage at the station until it goes on to Onomichi in the early afternoon. Once there, we first bring our luggage to the hotel. Over the Shimanami bridges we drive to Mt. Kiro, from where we have a great view of the Setouchi Islands in the sunset mood. Return to Onomichi and overnight in Onomichi.
11.11.2021 Onomichi - Hiroshima – Miyajima 1×(B/D)
In the morning we go tothe photogenic harbor town of Onomichi on motif search: nostalgic streets, small, enchanted temples and again and again the view of the sea and the harbor are enchanting. By train we continue to Hiroshima. In the Inland Sea lies the sacred island of Miyajima, which we reach from Hiroshima after a short ride on the regional train and ferry. At high tide, the famous gate of Itsukushima Shrine, perhaps Japan's most beautiful shrine of the Shinto, shines red in the water. Also, the visit of the Senjogaku Temple with its five-story pagoda is recommended. At sunset we photograph the Itsukushima gate in the water. Overnight in Miyajima.
11.12.2021 Miyajima - Mt. Misen – Hiroshima 1×(B/D)
Just in time for the sunrise, we have the opportunity to photograph the Itsukushima shrine and the Torii in the water. After breakfast at the hotel, we take the cable car to the top of the highest mountain of Miyajima Island. Once at the top we enjoy a breathtaking view of the island and its surroundings. By ferry and train we go back to Hiroshima - there we visit the Peace Memorial (UNESCO) dedicated to the victims and victims of the atomic bombing. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. In the evening we go on a culinary journey of discovery: In the numerous Okonomiyaki restaurants, the popular "Japanese pizza", a local specialty, is especially tasty. Overnight in Hiroshima.
11.13.2021 Hiroshima - Himeji – Osaka (1×B)
On the way to Osaka we make a stopover in Himeji, which we use to visit the imposing "White Heron's Castle" (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Japan's largest and most beautiful castle was rebuilt into its present form in the 17th century and, after extensive restoration, is restored to its full glory. Continue by train to the colorful world of Osaka, the third largest city in Japan, where the whole afternoon is dedicated to photogenic spots. At sunset it is worthwhile to visit the "Diamond Point" at the harbor. Take advantage of our last evening in Japan for a stroll through the neon-glittering world of Namba and Shinsaibashi. At the end, the country presents itself from a completely different side. Before we drive to our hotel near the airport, we collect our luggage from the storage in the station. Overnight in Osaka.
11.14 .2021 Departure (1×B)
Individual drive from the hotel to Kansai Airport (KIX) for departure.
We reserve the right to adjust the program if necessary.
Please be aware that accommodations in the hotels are very small rooms that can not be compared with American standards even in the 3-star hotels in their size. The room size is sometimes only about 15 square meters in the big cities. Suitcases can be deposited under the bed. All rooms have their own bathroom.
The main luggage to send to the next destination ahead is common in Japan and very convenient. On the trip, there are two luggage transfers from Tokyo (Day 4) to Kiso (Day 5) and Kii Katsuura (Day 8) to Kyoto (Day 9). For the one night without main luggage you pack according to your daypack. On this journey you will often travel by public transport (trains, buses and trains). Since there are usually no luggage trolleys, please be prepared to carry your luggage at the stations, sometimes even over longer distances. In the trains, there is little storage space for luggage. We therefore recommend restricting yourself as much as possible. In most hotels there is the possibility to do laundry. Even fast-drying synthetic fiber clothing is well suited for a short hand wash in the evening and is ready for use again the next day.
We are obliged to point out that this trip is generally not suitable for people with reduced mobility. In individual cases, please contact us.