Japan Photo Workshop

(22 customer reviews)

¥600,000per person

Have any questions? Contact us!

Adventure Type

10 Day Photography Workshop

Max Size

6 people

Duration

May 6 — 16, 2023

Locations

Kyoto
Osaka
Tokyo

Language

English

Includes

• Accommodation for 10 nights
• Breakfast every day
• Bullet train ticket (Tokyo to Kyoto)
• Entrance to Shibuya Sky observation deck
• Geisha photo session
• Group dinner (x2)
• Train pass (5000 JPY charge)
• Helicopter Flight (20 minutes)
• Professional photo instructor

Excludes

• Airfare
• Camera
• Food

Minimum Required Gear

• A comfy pair of shoes
• DSLR or mirrorless camera capable of manual modes
• 18-55mm zoom lens (on crop sensor) or similar prime lenses
• 24-70mm zoom lens (on full frame) or similar prime lenses
• Tripod (can be provided free of charge)

Photography Workshop

Cityscapes

Street Photography

Jump to…

Having fun doing street photography in the back alleys of Shibuya
Having fun during a street photography workshop in the back alleys of Shibuya

What’s the Story?

Japan is a country with one foot in the future and one in the past. It is a land where tradition and modernity meld into one another without distinction, a place where even the recent history of the last 50 years can be felt on the streets of the modern metropolis of Tokyo. Kyoto, one of the ancient capitals of Japan, now a cultural bastion, is a short ride away on the futuristic bullet train—a stone’s throw from the largest city on earth. These contrasting worlds will be the focus of our photographic journey together.

What We’ll Shoot

From the skies above of Tokyo to the quaint streets of Kyoto, we will use our cameras to explore themes and concepts in both photographic narrative and composition. During this photography workshop through the major cities of Japan you will learn about rules of framing as they apply to street photography, urban landscape photography, architectural photography, and even portraiture when we finally meet and photograph a geisha in Kyoto.

These concepts will all come together to convey a particular story about the places and subjects that we will photograph. We will give you the conceptual tools that enable you to capture your unique perspective of Japan. Of course, we will also support you on all camera settings and technical concepts that go into the process of creating excellent photos! Our goal is for you to finish our Japan photography workshop with newfound skills and approaches to photography.

Charles explaining exposure compensation during a photo workshop at Kanda Shrine in Tokyo
Charles explaining exposure compensation during a photo workshop at Kanda Shrine in Tokyo

Where We’ll Explore

The photography workshop begins in the Tokyo metropolis. We will explore the streets of Ginza, lined by high walls of glass skyscrapers. Our search for photographic enlightenment will also take us into a few famed shrines and temples in the heart of the city. We’ll delve into the neon-lit streets of Shinjuku and Shibuya, and then duck into mysterious back alleys where the light streams in from above in a ghostly glow.

We’ll explore the quarters of old Tokyo, the ‘shitamachi’ or ‘low city,’ where the houses date back to the post-war boom, their facades telling as many stories as the district’s elderly denizens. Before we leave the metropolis we will take to the skies in a helicopter and take it all in from high above the city.

Capturing a candid moment during our geisha photography workshop in Kyoto
Capturing a candid moment during our geisha photography workshop in Kyoto

Our journey continues in Kyoto after a short transit on the bullet train. Here we enter a world of mindfulness and nature. We’ll explore the environs of the Zen temples and Shinto shrines. Their gardens will inspire our mindful eyes to create photos composed with harmony. We will head to moss-covered temples on the mountain-sides that flank the old capital, and find solace in places rarely traveled.

Before our time is up in Kyoto we will make one excursion to Osaka, getting a glimpse into a Japanese city seemingly frozen in the bubble era, its streets harking back to another time. Finally, as a grand finale to our Japan photo workshop, we will spend time with a geisha, photographing her in a private session at a traditional tea house.

See the full itinerary below for details.

Charles teaches composition in the architecture rich district of Shiodome during a photo workshop
Charles teaches composition in the architecture rich district of Shiodome during a photo workshop

How we Operate the Workshop

  • We are passionate about photography and as such have scheduled a lot of shooting each day!
  • We will walk… a lot. Please be ready to cover a few kilometers/miles on foot per day on some days (not every day of course).
  • Each day is generally broken down into two slots of activities (for example, morning, afternoon break, and shooting more in the evening).
  • We will always leave some time each day to simply take it easy. We will be available to lead an impromptu excursion, but you can use this time to break away from the group if you like.
  • Regarding feedback—we provide feedback on your photos on a constant ad-hoc basis during our time photographing together. But no pressure if you don’t want any!
Lukasz teaches long exposure night photography during a photo workshop in Tokyo
Lukasz teaches long exposure night photography during a photo workshop in Tokyo

The Technical Details

What’s included in the Photo Workshop

  • Daily photographic excursions with a local pro photo instructor
  • Hotel stay for 10 nights
  • Helicopter flight in Tokyo
  • Entrance to Shibuya Sky observation deck
  • Bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto
  • Geisha photoshoot in Kyoto
  • Casual dinner with the group on first and final night of the experience
  • Train pass (Suica/Pasmo) charged with 5000 JPY

Photo Workshop

Dates: May 6 — 16, 2023
Max Participants: 6

Pricing

600,000 JPY per person on a single room basis
We can offer a discount if you share a twin room.

Accommodations

TokyoSunroute Plaza Shinjuku (5 nights)
KyotoHotel Prezio Kyoto (5 nights)

  • Breakfast is included daily at the hotel
  • Hotel are subject to change depending on availability

Requirements & Disclaimers

  • You must be at least 18 years of age to participate.
  • You must have the appropriate visa and legal status to enter Japan for the purpose of tourism.
  • You must provide your own airfare to arrive in Japan.
  • We reserve the right to cancel the workshop in the event that we do not reach our minimum number of participants (4 participants).

Payment & Cancellation Policy

Payment must be made in full at the time of booking. However, bookings are fully refundable until 30 days prior to the departure date. All other cancellations will be refunded as follows:

  • Between 60 and 30 days before departure: 80% refund
  • Between 30 and 7 days before departure: 50% refund
  • Less than 7 days before departure and after departure date: no refund

Cancellations should be made via email with a clear subject line stating your intention to cancel. We will use the timestamp of this email to determine the cancellation term.

Please check out our FAQ for more details or contact us with any questions and concerns.

Photo Workshop Itinerary

Part 1: Tokyo

1

The Start of a Photo Adventure

The EYExplore Japan Photography workshop begins in the Tokyo metropolis
The EYExplore Japan Photography workshop begins in the Tokyo metropolis

Evening 7pm to 9pm

Upon arriving in Tokyo, the entire group will go out for dinner to get acquainted with each other and the instructors. We will discuss everyone’s photographic goals and get to know each other’s work as well.

2

From Tradition to Modernity

The serene beauty of Hie Shrine in the heart of Tokyo
The serene beauty of Hie Shrine in the heart of Tokyo

Morning 10am to 1pm

Explore Hie Shrine situated in the Akasaka district for a taste of the more traditional side of Tokyo. Here we will work on capturing details that portray the spirit of a place in an ensemble of photographs. We will apply the same ideas at two other shrines in Ochanomizu, Yushima-seido and Kanda-myojin.

The crowds of Ameyokocho street market in Ueno
The crowds of Ameyokocho street market in Ueno

Afternoon 3pm to 7pm

After a lunch break, we will head to Ueno, an area seemingly bridging various eras of Japanese history. We will explore Ameyoko, a maze of alleys and vendors hawking all sorts of wares. The area has its origins in the post-war period as a black market—or so it is said. The vibes here are distinctly retro and yet the neighborhood has been steadily evolving over recent decades. This hodgepodge of change makes for a rich canvas for street photography.

3

Shibuya Crossing from Above and Neon Streets

Splashes of color in Shibuya crossing as seen from high above
Splashes of color in Shibuya crossing as seen from high above

Afternoon3pm to 6pm

Visit Shibuya Sky for the best view of the iconic Shibuya Crossing, as well as a panoramic view of the city from the rooftops of a 50-story building in the heart of the city. We will begin before sunset and watch the city transform before our eyes—and camera lens. No tripods are allowed on the roof of this building, so we will practice various techniques for shooting in low light conditions without the aid of a tripod.

Retro-futuristic vibes in the rain streets of Shibuya
Retro-futuristic vibes in the rain streets of Shibuya

Evening 6pm to 9pm

Once night sets in we will take to the streets of Shibuya and delve into its vibrant, neon-filled back streets. This area evokes the cyberpunk media that has become synonymous with the Tokyo metropolis. We will search for evocative scenes for our street photographs.

Cinematic street photography in Shibuya
Cinematic street photography in Shibuya

4

Old Tokyo and the Cyberpunk Metropolis

One of Lee Chapman's classic photos of an elderly women in the old districts of Tokyo
One of Lee Chapman’s classic photos of an elderly women in the old districts of Tokyo

Morning 10am to 3pm

Join local photographer Lee Chapman on an excursion away from the neon lights and into the old districts of Tokyo, where time seems to stand still, and the locals’ faces say a thousand words. Here we will practice street photography focusing on narrative, while Lee guides us through parts of Tokyo rarely seen by the eyes of outsiders.

The neon and glitz of Shinjuku and Kakukicho
The neon and glitz of Shinjuku and Kakukicho

Evening 7pm to 10pm

Dive into the red light district in Shinjuku, known as Kabukicho. Here we will capture the gritty underbelly of the city. We’ll explore a world of back streets and alleys straight out of Blade Runner or Ghost in the Shell. The neon lights, window displays, and grime-filled alleyways make for an intense shooting locale that harkens back to a more ‘wild’ time in Tokyo’s past—the bubble era of the 1980s—when the economy boomed on the back of the hastily reconstructed metropolis.

Street photography in the Kabukicho red light district
Street photography in the Kabukicho red light district

5

Skyscrapers and a Helicopter Flight

Rainy street photography in one of Tokyo's largest skyscraper districts.
Rainy street photography in one of Tokyo’s largest skyscraper districts.

Morning 10am to 1pm

Explore Tokyo’s modern architecture in Shiodome, Ginza, and Yurakucho all the while working on composition in the context of street photography. We will use the clean lines and geometries of the urban environment to isolate our subjects and create tension through careful framing. We will also explore the famous Tokyo International Forum—a veritable playground for photographers.

Afternoon 3pm to 6pm

Tokyo's sprawl visible from a helicopter
Tokyo’s sprawl visible from a helicopter

Take to the skies in a helicopter for a cruise around Tokyo and capture the metropolis from the skies above. There are only 3 seats in the helicopter (in addition the pilot), so we will split up the group into multiple flights. Each flight is approximately 20 minutes in length. In the event of a full workshop, the instructors will not accompany the group during the flight. We will provide all tips and camera settings prior to liftoff.
The view from the cockpit of a helicopter over Tokyo
The view from the cockpit of a helicopter over Tokyo

Part 2: Kyoto & Osaka

6

A Trip to the Past

One of the many torii gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine at dusk
One of the many torii gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine at dusk

Afternoon 3pm to 6pm

After a few days in the Tokyo metropolis, we will travel via bullet train to Kyoto, Japan’s ancient imperial capital. The city is in stark contrast from its counterpart in eastern Japan. Gone are the mega-dense urban hubs and glass skyscrapers, only to be replaced by wooden temples, decaying pagodas, and winding streets paved with cobblestones.

The Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto is best visited in the evening when the crowds have gone for the day
The Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto is best visited in the evening when the crowds have gone for the day

Evening 7pm to 10pm

After checking into our Kyoto hotel we will reconvene and grab our tripods for an outing to the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine. This beautiful and mysterious shrine is home to thousands of vermillion gates, called ‘torii’ in Japanese. This attracts thousands of tourists as well, but there is a secret to avoiding the crowd—go at night. Since it is dark, we will employ tripods to get the best shots of the shrine’s many paths and passages lined with the iconic gates.

7

Hidden Temples and Bamboo Groves

The Nanzenji temple complex is a bastion of zen—a place where we can take a mindful approach to photography during the workshop
The Nanzenji temple complex is a bastion of zen—a place where we can take a mindful approach to photography during the workshop

Morning 9am to 12pm

Bright and early, we head to Adashino Nenbutsuji on the edge of the city. Here we’ll explore a small but beautiful bamboo grove, far away from the famous and overcrowded Arashiyama. We will also visit another nearby temple, Otagi Nenbutsuji, famous for its throngs of mossy statues.

Funny statues at Otagi Nenbutsuji in Kyoto
Funny statues at Otagi Nenbutsuji in Kyoto

Afternoon 3pm to 7pm

We head to Gion, the traditional downtown of Kyoto. Here we will explore the backstreets and hidden lanes of the area, focusing on street photography in the failing light of the day. We will also head across the broad Kamo river and explore Pontocho, a quaint but vibrant lane filled with glowing bars and eateries.

Rain-soaked bamboo at a small grove in Kyoto
Rain-soaked bamboo at a small grove in Kyoto

8

A Day with a Geisha

A geisha calmly sits with her eyes closed for a candid shot during the photography workshop in Kyoto
A geisha calmly sits with her eyes closed for a candid shot during the photography workshop in Kyoto

Daytime 10am to 5pm

On this day we will experience the climax of our time in Kyoto—a photoshoot with a pair of geisha in a private, traditional location. We will get to know the two young women and understand their lives, their reasons for becoming a geisha, and the challenges they face by taking on this esteemed line of work and lifestyle. On the photographic front, we will work on the usage of artificial and natural lighting to capture candid and staged portraits of our elusive subjects.

A maiko (young geisha) fixes her hair
A maiko (young geisha) fixes her hair

A pair of young geisha, known as maiko, perform a traditional dance
A pair of young geisha, known as maiko, perform a traditional dance

9

Osaka’s Underground Markets

The underground vibes of Tsuruhashi in Osaka
The underground vibes of Tsuruhashi in Osaka

Morning 10am to 2pm

A short trip from our base in Kyoto, Osaka offers a glimpse into a retro Japanese city. We will first head to Tsuruhashi where we’ll explore a market that is seemingly underground due its streets being entirely enclosed by rooftop canopies. This place is known for the many families of Korean descent who have made their home here. Though they are often 3rd or 4th generation born in Japan, we can still witness an interesting melding of Japanese and Korean culture and cuisine. In this ethnically rich location, we will work on our street photography and capture the bustle and energy of the market.

An old book store in Osaka
An old book store in Osaka

Afternoon 3pm to 7pm

Shinsekai and Dotonbori comprise Osaka’s ‘downtown’, both in the sense of being busy as well as hip and underground. Here we will continue with street photography in the lights and neon glitz of the city, capturing the vivid street life of Osaka’s urban center.

The neon-lit streets of Namba
The neon-lit streets of Namba

10

A Free Day in Kyoto and our Final Dinner

A hidden bamboo groves away from the tourist spots in Kyoto—a prime location for working on composition and creative techniques during the workshop
A hidden bamboo groves away from the tourist spots in Kyoto—a prime location for working on composition and creative techniques during the workshop

Daytime

On this last day, we offer some flexibility. Due to time limitations we cannot hit every famous tourist spot in Kyoto. On this day we encourage you to explore those places that may interest you most, but not necessarily the whole group, such as: Kiyomizu Temple, Nishiki Market, Yasaka Shrine, Nanzenji, or the Arashiyama bamboo grove. We will be available to help you find your way, and who knows, the group may opt to stick together and we will go as one!

A hidden temple at Tanukidani, sitting atop a hill overlooking Kyoto
A hidden temple at Tanukidani, sitting atop a hill overlooking Kyoto

Evening 7pm to 9pm

As a group, we will share one final dinner in Kyoto. This will be a time to reflect on our journey as well as show off the incredible photos we have collected over the preceding days of photographing together.

11

The End of Our Journey

The sun sets on our adventure in Japan
The sun sets on our adventure in Japan

Departure

On the final morning the instructors will be at the hotel to see everyone off and make sure they can move safely on to their next destination. We will also be available to review images on a 1-on-1 basis to give overall feedback from the workshop experience as a whole.

FAQ

Is this workshop for me / Do I have the right photographic level to join?

This photography workshop is open to photographers of all levels, from beginner to advanced. We are adept at customizing our workshops to accommodate all kinds of people regardless of skill or interest. We are confident everyone can grow as a result of this photo adventure.

What kind of camera / lenses do I need?

A camera capable of manual settings is the only required piece of equipment. However, more specifically, full-frame, APSC, and micro 4/3 cameras are all perfectly fine, including mirrorless and SLR cameras, such as but not exclusive to Nikon and Canon DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, Sony A6000 series, Sony A7 series, Fuji X series, Olympus and Panasonic mirrorless cameras, and Leica rangefinder and mirrorless cameras. In terms of lenses, a variety of focal lengths will be useful ranging from 28mm to 85mm (full frame equivalent focal lengths). In general, zoom lenses and primes can both be used on this workshop without issue. Finally, in some instances lenses with a max aperture of f/2.8 or more will also be useful but not required.

Will I need a tripod?

Yes, in a few cases, but if you don’t have your own, we can provide one free of charge when necessary. The times we’ll use tripods are few, so you don’t need to bring one if you prefer not to. However, you are of course welcome to have your own if you prefer.

Will I need a flash?

No, we will not be doing flash photography during this workshop.

Do I have to book my own airfare?

Airfare is not included in the workshop price and you must arrange your own flights.

Do I have to book my own accommodations?

No, we will arrange the hotel and accommodations for you.

Can I choose my own accommodation?

No, we would like everyone to stay at the same place to ensure a consistent and fun experience for all.

What kind of accommodation do you provide?

We will book western style hotels with beds and all of the conveniences that you would expect from an international hotel, although keep in mind that rooms in Japanese hotels tend to be on the small side compared to other countries. In particular, we choose hotels that are conveniently located in order to facilitate the photographic experience above all.

How much walking will there be?

For the purpose of urban and street photography, we have to walk all over the place (in addition to using public transport). So, please bring a good pair of shoes and be prepared to walk a lot of everyday.

Do you provide meals every day / How much will I spend on meals?

We provide breakfast everyday (at the hotel). And on the first night and final night we will provide a casual dinner at a restaurant. All other meals are not included. Meal prices range from 800 JPY to 1500 JPY for lunch and 1500 JPY to 2500 JPY for dinner. This does not include drinks, however water and tea are always free in Japanese restaurants. Also, tipping is not expected in Japan.

Do you provide transportation?

We will provide a ticket for the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto as well as a train pass charged with 5000 yen. This pass should more or less cover all of your transportation needs during the duration of the tour.

What is your cancellation policy?

Payment must be made in full at the time of booking. However, bookings are fully refundable until 30 days prior to the departure date. All other cancellations will be refunded as follows:

  • Between 30 and 22 days before departure: 85% refund
  • Between 21 and 8 days before departure: 50% refund
  • Between 7 and 3 days before departure: 25% refund
  • Less than 3 days before departure and after departure date: 0% refund

All cancellations should be made via email with a clear subject line stating your intention to cancel. We will use the timestamp of this email to determine the cancellation timing.

If you have any other questions of concerns that were not covered here, please contact us.

Instructors for this Photo Adventure

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