Cherry Blossom Photo Tours take the single most recognizable element of Japanese culture and make every photo op one you’ll always remember. No one thing in Japan is more synonymous with spring than the cherry blossom. A spring cherry blossoms photography tour is the best way to enjoy the season where everything comes alive in Japan, yet many people think that cherry blossoms come in just a few varieties and that from region to region that volume of cherry blossoms will give photographers the best shutter chances during a photo workshop.
Cherry blossoms have very different characteristics depending on where they are in Japan and what part of the season they are blooming. In Tokyo and other areas around Japan, there are kawazu sakura, the early blooming variety. And with the sweet aroma and nectar of the early blossoming sakura bring an entirely different form of enjoyment, the mejiro. Mejiro arrive as the cherry blossoms open to extract the delicious nectar from the cherry blossoms. The mejiro can be, however, a bit elusive, but part of a Japan Dreamscapes (JDS) photography tour is discussing photography conditions and the correct gear so you can capture the mejiro as it flutters from blossom to blossom. The contrast of the pictures with the pink blossoms and the shades of green and the white-eye of the mejiro mean pictures of a lifetime.
Cherry blossoms flourish at different times depending on which region of Japan you are visiting, so photo tours become a bit of a game as you are chasing cherry blossoms. Weather also plays a key role in what type of blossoms you can see. Also, many international photographers who visit Japan think that visiting only one location that is reported to have the best cherry blossoms is all that’s needed to get the quintessential cherry blossom photo.
Having years of experience in Japan, the JDS Photo Tour Leaders know that cherry blossoms present unique photo ops depending on where you are in Japan, and that same experience comes into play when the workshop guide is planning out the perfect tour.
Each prefecture has its own amazing or highly recommended area, and each part of the location plays a key role in appreciating the ephemeral simplicity and beauty of Japan’s national flower. For example, in Aichi Prefecuture, you can photograph the spectacular blossoms along the Gojo River and perhaps you may see some of the blossoms fall ever so artfully into the along the path and into the river itself. In Niigata prefecture, Takada Park is home to the prefecture’s best cherry blossoms, and again, the cherry blossoms come with another photo op, Takada Castle. The cherry blossoms, from the correct area, frame the castle and provide the opportunity to take the picture of a lifetime. The same blossoms may never come again, but you will have photographic evidence of your time spent in Japan, chasing the perfect cherry blossom.
Of course, Tokyo also holds many of what are considered to be the best spots in Japan for enjoying ‘hanami’, or cherry blossoms viewing, as well as taking photographs of the open spaces that the park offers. This is definitely an on the beaten path location, but it has its value for the sheer volume of glorious blossoms and the opportunities to partake in a sampling of Japanese culture while on your Cherry Blossom photo tour. If, however, you would like to see a little less foot traffic on your spring photo tour, your JDS photo tour guide’s years of experience in Japan will benefit you. There are a few lesser known spots that yield beauty of an entirely different variety.