Escape the crowds in this special photography 5-day tour focusing on Kyoto’s remote mountain temples and Lake Biwa. We begin with the mountain trails of Takao for a real off-the-beaten-path treat, a secluded river valley lined with gorgeous maple trees, with a visit to a waterfall. (Bring your tripods!) After our hike, we relax our muscles in an onsen hot spring bath, followed by a sunset-to-blue hour shoot along Arashiyama’s picturesque Togetsukyo Bridge.

On Day 2 we go to Hikone Castle, one of Japan’s last 12 original-structure castles and a National Treasure, and explore its elegant Genkyuen Gardens. Our lunch is Omi Beef, at a restaurant with a view of the castle! We then move on to the Venice of Lake Biwa, an old town full of preserved old merchant’s houses lining the picturesque canals. Bring your long lens if you’re into bird photography, this place is a haven for waterfowl.

On Day 3 we approach Lake Biwa from the other side, taking the cablecar up to Enryakuji, a fortress-temple of Kyoto’s fierce warrior monks and one of the best spots for autumn leaves. It’s also a World Heritage Site. Then we take another cablecar down the opposite side of the mountain, for a spectacular view of Lake Biwa over a mountainside carpeted in maple trees. We end the day at an out-of-the-way temple immortalized as one of the Eight Classic Views of Omi.

On Day 4 we visit Japan’s first capital, Nara. We begin the morning at Saga Pond to capture views of the Ukimido floating pavilion before the tourists arrive, then enter the stone-lantern studded forests of Kasuga Taisha. Then we warm up with lunch at a nice chaya (teahouse; we recommend their Buddha Udon noodles for a cold day!), after which we make our way to the sprawling temple complex of Todaiji. We end the day at an elegant and off the tourist track Japanese garden.

On our last day we visit a secret temple many consider to be the Holy Grail of autumn-color hunting in Kyoto, followed by a photo-walk through the quiet corners of northern Higashiyama with a visit to our personal favorite temple in all Kyoto.

No. Pax USD/pax
Availability November 14-December 9,2018* 1/2 719.00/597.00
Maximum 8 persons 3/4 556.00/536.00
Duration 5 days* 5/6 523.00/515.00
Starts from Kyoto Station 7/8 509.00/505.00
Inclusions 2 World Heritage sites, National Treasure sites, original structure castle, temples, garden, waterfalls, mountain views and trail hike, tea house, all transport, 5 lunches, admission fees, photo guide/ instructor
Accessibility Expect stairs, sloping paths and extensive walking
Temperature Expect 8-17 C

Last booking is for December 5-9, 2018.

*You will have longer breaks for lunch to rest, review your photos, and talk shop. 🙂