Exploring Japan

August 03, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

We got a chance to experience Japan in July.  Besides trying to beat the heat in middle of summer, we were able to capture these photos while exploring Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Nara, and Kobe.  All photos were taken with a Fujifilm X100T with it's built in lens, TCL-X100, or WCL-X100.  All images are available for print.  Please contact us for more information.


Out the Window

A shot out the window of our Hawaiian Airlines Airbus as we approached the Kansai Airport.

Flying into Kansai AirportA shot out the window of our Hawaiian Airline Airbus as we approached the Kansai Airport.


Kyoto, Japan

Hotel: Ibis Styles Kyoto Station Hotel

Definitely would recommend this hotel, conveniently across the street from Kyoto Station.  Besides the nice room size and cleanliness, the hotel had a very pleasant smell, not sure what it was, but definitely memorable.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forrest

Definitely no wonder why the Arashiyama Bamboo Forrest is such a heavily visited area when visiting Kyoto. Arashiyama Bamboo Forrest


Okochi-Sanso Villa

When you reach the top of the Arashiyama Bamboo Forrest Trail, taking a visit to the Okochi-Sanso Villa is a breath of fresh air and definitely worth the 1,000 yen to get away from the crowd.  Strolling along the visitor path through the garden is definitely an experience. Okochi-Sanso Villa


While walking through the Okochi-Sanso Villa garden, there are some great examples of traditional Japanese style architecture as well as great scenic viewing points.

Okochi-Sanso Villa Daijokaku Okochi-Sanso Vila Jibutsudo Okochi-Sanso Villa Tea Garden Okochi-Sanso Villa Okochi-Sanso Villa Scenic Point


Getting Lost in Kameoka

Travel Tip: If you're trying to visit the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, it might look like there are two train stations in the area if you Google Map it, but don't try to go to the one that appears closer to the Bamboo Grove that's on the Sagano Scenic Route.  If you try to get to it, you'll end up jumping on the Sagano Romantic Train that doesn't actually stop at the station that looks closer.  Instead, it'll pass the bamboo grove and 30 minutes later you'll end up in this rural area called Kameoka with a bunch of these Tanuki staring at you.  Part of me felt like they were saying, "dude, you jumped on the wrong train, what you doing out here?".  We ended up having to walk 15 minutes to the closest JR station and waiting another 45 minutes for the next train to take us back to Arashiyama.  Yes, we got lost, but what that's all part of the adventure right?

Tanuki in Kameoka


Nishiki Market

No trip to Japan is complete without a stop to a street market.  Nishiki Market is said to have opened in the early 14th century which made walking through here a peak into what urban Japan must have been like in the past with shops here that have been run by the same family for generations.

Nishiki Market - Kyoto


Fushimi Inari Shrine

While in Kyoto, another must-visit attraction is the Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for it's thousands of torii gates.

Fushimi Inari Shrine Entrance


Travel-tip:  If you want to get a pic of the torii gates without the crowd, there's an aisle people use to walk in and an aisle people use to walk out.  You'll have much better luck taking a picture in the aisle that people use to walk out! Fushimi Inari Shrine Torii Gates Fushimi Inari Shrine Torii Gates


We stayed until the sun went down, and good thing because there was an Obon Festival going on that night! Fushimi Inari Shrine at Night Fushimi Inari Shrine at Night


Kyoto Station

Another fascinating and well known aspect of Japan is the intricate public transportation system of trains and subways.  Kyoto Station was definitely a sight-to-see in its own right.

Kyoto StationStairs to the 15th floor restaurants and Observation Deck Kyoto StationView from the top of the stairs, 15th floor. Kyoto Station at Night


Nagoya, Japan

Hotel: Royal Park Hotel Nagoya

Very nice hotel only a few blocks away from Nagoya Station.  Nice size rooms, traditional family style bath to relax in after walking all day, and clean.  Family Mart conveniently located on the street level in the same building.

We took some time to venture off in Nagoya where we were lucky enough to be able to snap a few photos of the Nagoya Basho in the Aichi Prefectural Gym.


Kobe, Japan

Shin-Kobe Ropeway & Nunobiki Herb Garden

Looking for more areas to get some landscape photos captured, we ventured off to Kobe.  We heard that the views from the surrounding mountains made for great landscapes, and they did not disappoint!

Shin-Kobe Ropeway


At the top of the Shin-Kobe Ropeway is the Nunobiki Herb Garden.  This was one of the scenic views of Kobe from the garden!

Nunobiki Herb Garden View


Mt. Rokko

After making our way back down the Shin-Kobe Ropeway, we caught a bus over to the Mt. Rokko Cable Car Station to visit the Mt. Rokko Garden Terrace.  We made it here just in time for sunset!

Mt. Rokko Garden Terrace View of Kobe from the Mt. Rokko Garden Terrace Mt. Rokko Garden Terrace View of Kobe from the Mt. Rokko Garden Terrace right after sunset


Osaka, Japan

Hotel: REMM Shin-Osaka

REMM was the perfect hotel for us.  Being located directly on top of Shin-Osaka Station made it the most convenient hotel of all.  Room was a little bit on the smaller side of the hotels we had stayed at during this trip, but you couldn't beat the convenience of being able to take the elevator down from your room, and immediately being in the train station.

Umeda Station

Our fascination with photographing train stations continued on with Umeda Station in Osaka.

Umeda Station Street right outside Umeda Station Outside Umeda Station


Tenjin Matsuri Festival

One of the main reasons for coming to Japan in July was to experience and photograph the Tenjin Matsuri Festival which is one of the largest and longest running festivals in Japan which started in the 10th century during the Nara and Heian periods.

These are some of the 100 boat that are part of the river procession during the night.

Tenjin Matsuri Festival

Watching the sunset as we wait for the nighttime festivities and fireworks to begin.  We spent the entire afternoon scouting and trying to find this viewing area to photograph the fireworks.

Tenjin Matsuri Festival at Sunset

The afternoon scouting the area completely paid off after getting pretty much the best viewing spot for the fireworks with the Sakuranomiya Bridge in the background.  With an estimated 1.3 million people showing up for the festival, and this being the best viewing area for the general public, we had to wiggle our way to the waters edge to capture these photos.

Tenjin Matsuri Festival Fireworks Tenjin Matsuri Festival Fireworks

Umeda Sky Building

The Umeda Sky Building, home of the "Floating Garden Observatory".  Those bridges in the middle of the doughnut are actually escalators to get to the upper level of the observatory!

Umeda Sky Building

View from the top of the Floating Garden Observatory.  Once again, we made it just in time for sunset!

Umeda Sky Building - Floating Garden Observatory Umeda Sky Building - Floating Garden ObservatoryTilt-Shift effect


Kuromon Ichiba was one of the most fascinating street markets we got to visit.  It was a blast getting to try all of the different foods as this market seemed to be mostly about fresh produce.

Kuromon Ichiba Street Market

Tenjinbashi Suji Shopping Street's iconic entrance.  Make sure you get some comfortable walking shoes for this one, this large street market stretches for 2.6km!  However, if you forget, you can probably just find a pair at one of the shops here!

Tenjinbashi Suji Shopping Street

Dontonbori was just an all around must-visit.  Great shopping and restaurants throughout this area with Ebisubashi Suji and Shinsaibashi Suji all pretty much intersecting in this area.

Dontonbori at Night Dontonbori at Night

One of our last stops of our trip was to Osaka Castle.  So much history to see inside the castle, and for us, definitely worth waiting till the sun went down to catch this last shot to wrap up this amazing photo collection trip to Japan.


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