An excellent way to enjoy Japan in the winter time while enjoying a Gunma Winter Photo Tour is by pairing your photography tour with periodic visits to hot springs, or what the local Japanese call ‘ashi-yu’ or foot spas, essentially an onsen just for your feet and legs. Japan Dreamscapes (JDS) photo tour leaders have spent many hours blending their love of photography and nature with an equally deep appreciation of onsens.
Ikaho is one of Japan’s premiere locations for onsens, Japanese culture, and breathtaking views from the stone path leading you from the mouth of the onsens all the way to the peak where, on a clear day, you can photograph an enormous swath of the prefecture covered in snow, a remarkable winter landscape.
The stone staircase path has exactly 365 steps, and this may sound formidable at first glance, but there are ample locations for you to enjoy a refreshing foot spa experience and sample local delicacies as you walk along the path to the top. Every flight of stairs ends in a landing, and every landing has a different perspective on the winter landscape unfolding behind you. At each pause, you will have a new view and an excellent photo op to enjoy.
Some of the foot spas are dedicated to treating fatigue and building your appetite, and you JDS photo workshop leader will help you pick precisely the right meal to suit your tastes and you gradually stride up the expertly hewn stone steps. Along the way, there are amazing tea shops and cafés that you can snap photos of the exteriors as they reflect an bygone age, then sit and rejuvenate yourself to maximize your shutter chances and your sampling of local delights.