Simply speaking, Japan is a beautiful country to behold. There is a very real reason why the Japanese as tourists themselves are famed for always carrying a camera around and taking photos of anything and everything. It’s my opinion that they are this way because they are so used to doing it back home.
I spent a good two and a half years living in Japan from 2006, with a further 6 months or so since; visiting due to scholarships and volunteering for disaster relief, and let me tell you, the country has been a huge driving force behind my photography. I am now an multiple award winning photographer, published on the National Geographic website and acclaimed through the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) and other international institutions.
I knew Mike from while I was living in Japan, while he was still a lowly ALT in a school north of Tokyo, and he kindly agreed to let me share some of my experiences with you through my photography on this blog of his. I was also an ALT at the time, albeit through a different company and at different schools, but I had the opportunity to travel all around the main island Honshu as a substitute ALT. As a result I got to see more of the countryside of Japan not many have the privilege of visiting as a foreigner.
I could take you on a tour all around Japan with my photos, but I very much doubt you’d be willing to scroll through several hundred photos, so I’ll just share some of the favourites with you here, and if you’re willing come take a peek at my Japan gallery on my website.
No matter what time of year you visit Japan, you will have little trouble finding incredible scenes to shoot. During winter there’s the snow in the north, or magnificent deciduous trees if you’re down south framed by magnificent architecture. The fog and atmosphere during this time is just magnificent.
Spring/fall time is of course cherry blossom (sakura) season where, if you know where to go you can capture some astonishing scenes coupled with natural wildlife that is just there ready to be photographed. Japanese buildings such as shrines and castles also lend themselves terrifically to this vibe.
Summer is the time for festivals where you can capture the natives doing what they do best, carrying mikoshii (portable shrines) about on half-naked backs while heavily intoxicated, or splashing water about in a display of strength and amazing coordination. Summer is also a time for BBQs and dancing.
Finally Autumn is the season where all the stunning Japanese maple trees change colour to vivid red and orange hues. The best spots to view this phenomenon are among the temples and shrines hidden away in the country side, or shrouding natural waterfalls.
Miyajima, Hiroshima is really a must visit, and if you can afford it, definitely stay overnight so as to make the most of the tides. Hopefully you’re there during the summer when the famous Itsukushima Shrine torii gate (pictured here) looks to be floating on the bay.
The Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto is probably my most favourite place in Japan. Walking about the many thousands of torii gates takes out a good chunk of your day, but it’s well worth it for the amazing sense of serenity and peace. Seriously I could spend days at this place and always see something new.
Again, please come visit the Japan gallery on my website for more. I head back to Japan on an almost annual basis, so perhaps if you’re over there we can catch up Always keen for a nomihoudai!
Steven Duncan is an award winning travel photographer based in Adelaide, South Australia. Specialising in Japan and the Pacific, Steven has won acclaim from both domestic and international photography organisations.
All photographs in this story are copyright to Steven Duncan. Steven is available for Adelaide wedding photography, portraiture and commercial/landscape photography through his website at http://www.SvenStudios.com