Chasing Full-bloom Sakura - Cherry Blossom Photo Tours
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Friday, April 26, 2019
By Japan Dreamscapes
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Cherry Blossom Photo Tours are some of the most challenging Japan Photo Tours to conduct.  Many uninitiated photographers fail to understand why the iconic Japanese cherry blossom is such a fickle subject.  Most photographers and social media followers see the beautiful amazing photos taken from locations all over Japan, and it seems as if the entire country simply bursts into shades of pink and white all at once.


At first blush, we at Japan Dreamscapes (JDS) understand the confusion.  When you think about Mt. Fuji Photo Tours, the peak synonymous with Japanese culture is always in the same location for every season.  The frame for the Mt. Fuji photo op changes.  During Autumn Leaves Photo Tours, Mt. Fuji is enriched by the gold, red, and oranges of the Japanese Maple trees which surround Fujisan and the Fuji Five Lakes.  During the winter, Mount Fuji seems to stand just a little bit taller, capped with a layer of snow adding to its craggy nobility.


However, cherry blossoms are the epitome of ephemeral.  On the latest Cherry Blossom Photo Tour, the itinerary called for an extended stay in the Matsumoto Area, and the ‘Sakura Forecast’ perfectly coincided with the tour date, so our most veteran photo tour leader guided the client to the most densely packed area for cherry blossoms with camera in hand, ready for the once in a lifetime photo op.  Unfortunately, the challenge that faced our Japan Photo Tour Workshop guide was sakura that were only 30% bloomed, still beautiful but not quite the magnificence that is a fully blossomed sakura.  Moreover, the hotels in the area were fully booked due the erroneous forecast as well as the general swell of photographers hoping to capture memorable photos of sakura.


It is moments such as there where the 20 plus years of experience leading Photo Tours in Japan becomes becomes vitally important.  Our tour leader cross-referenced the updated ‘Sakura Forecast’ with colleagues in locations near enough that it would not disrupt the flow of the Cherry Blossom Photo Tour as well, and, more importantly, get spectacular photos for the clients.  Accommodations were also made possible by the connections created by the photo tour leader’s repeated adventures in the area and the shared history of years of experience.  The respect shown by the JDS Photo Workshop Leaders to the hotel staff and owners pays dividends.  Those dividends are the breathtaking photos for clients and a refreshing rest after a day of photography.


The updated itinerary took the group to Takada Park in the Joetsu Region of Niigata.  It is a location famous for its cherry blossoms as well as the historical signficance of the castle that graces the park grounds.  The clients and the JDS Photo Tour leader were greeted by 「満開」’mankai’ or 100% fully bloomed sakura on the park grounds.  The entire day was spent sampling the majestic yet delicate cherry blossoms, a day truly dedicated to appreciation of beauty.  The day was only made possible by the ingenuity and dedication of the JDS Photography Workshop Guide.

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