Japanese Emblems on Photo Tours
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Friday, December 21, 2018
By Japan Dreamscapes
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Photographing Japanese Emblems on Photo Tours allow visiting photographers the opportunity to see Japan’s distinctive cultural character.


Many traditional homes in Japan are decorated with a ‘mon’ or emblem that distinguishes a family or individual.  However, in recent years, companies and institutions have also taken on the practice.  There are over 5,000 different emblems being used in Japan today, but one thing they all have in common is their beauty.  While on a photo tour in Japan, your Japan Dreamscapes (JDS) photo tour leader will introduce you to some of the more remarkable and striking representations of emblems.


The western heraldry or blazon in Europe are the closest facsimiles to the Japanese emblem, and in the same way, they were developed in part based on war and conflict.  The mon were not just for homes, warriors on the battlefield also had the emblem sewn into their clothes in some way to denote them as affiliated with a samurai lord.  If you join a festival while on a Tokyo Photo Tour or a Mt. Fuji Photo Tour, you may see a design emblazoned onto a coat or some outer wear.  This mark is both a photo op and a reminder of the rich cultural affiliation that is still a large part of modern Japanese society.


One need go no further that Tokyo and the nearby Emperor’s Grounds to witness and photograph the grandest emblem of them all, the Imperial Chrysanthemum.  The sixteen petal flower is used only by the Imperial Family and certain government offices acting on the country’s behalf.  The emblem is sometimes golden, highlighting the elite nature of the seal.  In some cases, noble families also cast their emblem in gold to draw attention to their high ranking in the social castes. 


Tokyo photography tours also have so many different attractions.  At night, you can see the transformation of the stoic brick Tokyo Station building transform into its iridescent evening incarnation.  And your JDS photo workshop leader can also show you some nearby buildings or homes with the family crests or emblems to help you mix the previous generations of the Tokyo and Japan with the new.


Living and photographing in Japan for more than 20 years, your JDS photography workshop guide will be able to focus your eyes up to the eaves of buildings to see amazing emblems.  There will be no hunting around required.  If your come to Japan in spring, you may have the good fortune during a cherry blossom photo tour to come across a Geisha in full kimono.  Emblems are typically added to kimonos to add an extra level of formality.  A kimono can have one, three, or five emblems, and your JDS photo workshop leader will help you find them all!


It’s always a good time to visit Japan and find breathtaking Japanese emblems.

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