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Japan Winter Photo Tour

Updated April 24th, 2020

Japan 2021-Winter Wonders Photo Tour

Due to COVID19 this tour is temporarily Suspended

Stay Tuned for Updates

15 days in Japan’s snow covered mystery

Join Adam Monk for 14 days of photo tour adventures in the rich diversity of Japan in Winter.    We are spending 7 full days in the winter wonderland of Hokkaido, and we will be exploring much further afield to include the iconic Whooper Swans and Red Crowned Japanese Cranes.  Then onto the famous snow monkeys of Shibu Onsen.  We will contrast the snow-draped landscapes in Hokkaido with the complex beauty of Kyoto temple gardens in Winter. Japan is a marvellous mix of modern and historic places, stunning landscapes, culture and culinary delights.

Japan Winter Photo Tour 2021 – Highlights

  • 15 days in Japan, 14 full days on tour.
  • Maximum group of 5 people.
  • Exclusive cultural shoots.
  • Tour begins Sapporo ends in Kyoto.
  • All your breakfasts and all dinners  on tour.
  • Travel in trains, planes and private coaches.
  • All your transport on tour included.
  • Native Japanese guide with extensive experience and excellent English.
  • Photo Tuition from a full time professional photographer.
  • Itinerary created by photographers, not a travel agent.
  • All locations have been scouted by us.
  • Extensive photography and Lightroom Notes to keep.
  • Dates: TBA
  • Tour Price: TBA* PP Twin Share**
  • Single Supplement: TBA


* Why only in Japanese Yen (JPY)? We offer this tour in JPY only, as we pay our suppliers in JPY. This ensures our price remains stable, with no additional hidden payments due to currency fluctuations. Click
HERE for more information.

** The tour price is per person on a Twin Share (or double) room basis. To book the twin share rate you must specify a room partner, as we cannot pair you with others you don’t yet know.  The potential for snoring induced sleep deprivation discord is just too high!

Japan Winter Photo Tour

Winter in Japan

This Photo Tour is 14 days of surreal winter landscapes, history, culture and food in Japan.  The tour will begin in Sapporo, Hokkaido and will end in Kyoto.  The price is inclusive of all breakfasts and dinners, transport, accommodation, photography tuition and local Japanese guides.

This tour will be a lovely balance of minimalist snow-covered landscapes, wilderness and wildlife, including the Japanese Cranes, Whooper Swans and Snow Monkeys, historical winter urban-scapes; street photography, people, culture, and lots of great Japanese food, music and sake.  It is a fantastic tour seeing the other Japan, the Japan that exists through the winter.  Keep reading below to see the complete itinerary and details. Bookings are now open.

Unique Japan
Japan Winter Photo tour with Adam Monk and Robert van Koesveld

This tour is an opportunity to experience the visual and cultural richness of Japan at a pace tailored to photographers. You will be creating images as diverse as the minimalist landscapes of Hokkaido, nature up-close with the Whooper Swans and Japanese Cranes in the surreal winter environment, and the snow monkeys in central Honshu.  Add in the ancient traditions of the Japanese Tea Ceremony you have the perfect mix!

Japan Winter Photo Tour
Japan, the land of  diversity

Japan is a country of over 400 inhabited islands – four large ones and over 6,000 small uninhabited ones. To the west and north are China, Korea and Russia, yet Japan’s unique culture has evolved over the millennium from prehistoric to feudal to a modern economy.  Fascinating traditional elements live alongside rural and urban community life,  challenging the Japanese and foreigners to interact with the many sub-cultures that exist there.

Japan Winter Photo tour

The Important Details

  • Dates: TBA
  • Total Tour Price: TBA* PP Twin Share**
  • Single Supplement: TBA
  • 15 days in Japan.
  • Just 8 places available

* Why only in Japanese Yen (JPY)? We offer this tour in JPY only, as we pay our suppliers in JPY. This ensures our price remains stable, with no additional hidden payments due to currency fluctuations. Click HERE for more information.

** The tour price is per person on a Twin Share (or double) room basis. To book the twin share rate you must specify a room partner, as we cannot pair you with others you don’t yet know.  The potential for snoring induced sleep deprivation discord is just too high!

What’s included.

  • Just 5 Places available.
  • 15 days in Japan, full 14 days on tour.
  • Tour begins in Sapporo and concludes in Kyoto.
  • Comprehensive E-Book of Japan pre trip preparation notes.
  • All transport for the duration of the tour in Japan, including taxis, trains and ferries.
  • Internal flight from Hokkaido to Central Honshu.
  • All entrance fees to Temples, gardens and national parks.
  • All you breakfasts & All your dinners, excellent local Japanese cuisine.
  • All your Hotel accommodation in Japan for the duration of the tour.
  • All photographic tuition and workshops for the duration of the tour.
  • Professional photographer to help you get the best photos.
  • Highly experienced local Japanese specialist photo guide.
  • Extensive 21 page Photography Techniques E-Book, with complete shooting workflow.
  • In depth 36 page Lightroom E-Book, with complete post processing workflow.
  • Custom made Japan Lightroom catalogue with all location Keywords & Smart Collections pre-loaded.

What’s not included

  • Flights to and from Japan.
  • Japan Visa (if you require one, please check with your travel agent).
  • Initial transfer from the airport to the hotel in Sapporo.
  • Transfer to the airport at the conclusion in Kyoto.
  • lunches on tour in Japan.
  • Travel insurance (required as a condition of booking).
  • Camera Insurance.
  • Alcohol and extra beverages.
  • Any extras you may wish to buy along the way.
  • Tips for local guides (optional).
  • Adobe Lightroom software subscription fees.

Small Groups are better

Our group size for this Winter in Japan photo tour is just 5 people, plus Adam as photo guides and our local Japanese guide.  Five is an intimate number for a photo group, so it makes us agile as well as less imposing on the locals.

We can stay in the smaller more boutique Hotels and Ryokans (Japanese traditional Inn), eat in smaller more interesting restaurants and use a small van for our transport, instead of a big bus; in places like Hokkaido having a big bus is a real handicap and you simply can’t get a bus into some of the locations we will visit. This means all the big tourist groups are effectively excluded from most of our locations – great news for us!

The road less travelled –  by trains, planes & automobiles

Our transport for this tour is very diverse.  We have an internal flight to maximise effective time, we try out the astoundingly slick Japanese rail system, we use the metro in Kyoto and we have our own private van in Hokkaido and central Honshu.  Basically we have chosen the most efficient and most comfortable means of getting around in the vastly different regions we will be exploring.  But you don’t have to worry about any of this, it’s all included in the tour and we make all the arrangements so you can make the most of the adventure.

No hidden extras

Japan Winter Photo tour with Adam Monk and Robert van Koesveld

There are no hidden extras on this winter photo tour to Japan.  There are no breakfasts or dinners that are not covered or nights you have to find your own hotel.  All your transport while on the tour, from the internal flight, express train tickets to local taxis and buses are covered as well as all your entrance fees to temples, gardens and National Parks.

The only meals we don’t cover in the tour cost are lunches, and that was a very deliberate decision on our part, allowing you to be flexible around the style of food you eat, including non-Japanese food – because too much of a good thing can get boring.

Having freedom over lunch also means that you can do a little exploring on your own at your own pace.  Of course if you are not comfortable at finding or ordering food on your own at first the guides are always there to help, and we need to eat lunch too, so you can always come and join us.

This tour begins in Sapporo (Hokkaido) and ends in Kyoto, so you just have to make your way to our Sapporo hotel and back home at the end from our Kyoto hotel.  Hotel and Airport transfers are very simple in Japan, and we will ensure you know how to get there by sending you complete written instructions before the tour begins, including Hotel names and addresses in Japanese script that you can show to the bus or taxi driver to remove any doubt.

Multiple nights means less time travelling and packing

Japan Winter Photo tour with Adam Monk and Robert van Koesveld

A common scenario for many tours is to squeeze as much into your time as possible, many destinations with very little time in each, and of course, constantly moving hotels!

We don’t do it that way.

We go to fewer locations, but we give you time to explore them. In most locations we are staying two nights, or even three nights, because getting to know a culture is not just about seeing as many temples as possible, it’s about having time to contemplate the age of the temple and the people who built it, and perhaps to even meet the people who maintain it.

This translates to lots more time actually seeing, experiencing and photographing the unique culture and beauty of Japan, and less time seeing it wiz past the window of the train or car.  When the days are full of new sights and great photo opportunities it’s so nice not to have to pack your suitcase every morning.

Should you go on this photo tour?

This winter photo tour of Japan is for anyone with firstly a love of adventure, and secondly a keen interest in photography.  It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned professional or a complete beginner, all levels of photographer are welcome; in fact the diverse experiences of the group are an integral part of what makes these photography tours so much fun.  Experience as a photographer is by no means essential; we expect some participants will be very committed photographers while others will not. We think it’s more important that participants have in common the desire to experience the richness of a place and it’s people.

Japan Winter Photo Tour

What about non-photographers?

Non-photographers are also very welcome on this tour, whether as a partner to a keen photographer or people who just love the slower pace of travel that this photography tour provides.  Japan is an intensely beautiful place with deep rich culture in architecture, history, dress, language, religion and food, so there is never a shortage of things to do or explore.  And the great thing about photographers is that we aim to be at the beautiful locations at the absolute best times to see them.

We must warn you though, an obsession with photographing people and beautiful places is highly addictive.  You may begin as a non-photographer, thinking it’s not something for you, but by the end this may have changed…  You have been warned.

Japan Winter Photo tour with Adam Monk and Robert van Koesveld

Physical fitness

A basic level of walking fitness is essential, but this is not a hiking or trekking tour, so nothing extreme will be required of you.  We have several scenic walks in nature planned, and we will be visiting many stunning temple gardens, but all have well maintained pathways.  The walk to the snow monkey onsen is about 1km, and some of the hotels do not have lifts, so really the hardest physical test will be to climb some stairs occasionally.

To really experience Japanese culinary culture we will be sitting on the floor at low tables at some restaurants, and some of our hotels are traditional Ryokan style with tatami mat flooring and roll-out futon beds.  Generally if you find the bed a little hard there are plenty of spare futons in the cupboard you can roll out on top to make it softer and many hotels offer a western bed option.  Just let us know if you have any health issues or doubts and we will work around them.

An itinerary created by photographers, not a travel agent

Japan Winter Photo tour with Adam Monk and Robert van Koesveld

This itinerary has been researched on the ground in Japan by Adam, to ensure the best possible photographic opportunities.  As photographers we want the pace of our travel to allow time to find a suitable composition and whenever possible we want to be there when the light is at its best and stay when things are ‘working’.  The tour has also been carefully timed to avoid the busiest tourist periods in key locations.  Adam knows these locations because he has been there and photographed there before. This tour itinerary has been created for photographers, by photographers… not a travel agent.

Photographic Tuition and priorities

Being a part of such a small group you will always be well looked after, with plenty of personal interaction and photography tuition, whatever your needs.

Some people just like to be taken to the great locations at the right time of day and set free to roam.  Others are looking for more guidance with everything from composition or how to approach locals for portraits, to getting the most out of their camera gear.   Adam will be running brief workshops and teaching presentations on a variety of topics, depending on time and demand, and will be shooting alongside you at each location, but your experiences and your images are always the priority.

With just 5 people in the group and the diverse experience of Adam, we will ensure you get exactly what you need.

Your camera gear

There is really no limit to what camera gear you take other than your ability to carry it. Everything from Digital SLRs, professional and consumer, simple point-and-shoot cameras, even medium format digital and film.  Whatever level of camera equipment you have, we will ensure you get the most out of it.  After you sign up for the tour we will send out a detailed recommended gear and packing list, and we are very happy to discuss the camera gear you have and how to best make it work for you.  No specialist photographic gear is required and if you are happy with your camera gear, it will work even if it is an iPhone.  Adam is happy to answer any questions you may have.

Japan Winter Photo tour with Adam Monk and Robert van Koesveld

Like to Book the tour?

  • Dates: TBA
  • Total Tour Price: TBA* PP Twin Share**
  • Single Supplement: TBA
  • 15 days in Japan
  • Just 8 places available


* Why only in Japanese Yen (JPY)? We offer this tour in JPY only, as we pay our suppliers in JPY. This ensures our price remains stable, with no additional hidden payments due to currency fluctuations. Click
HERE for more information.

** The tour price is per person on a Twin Share (or double) room basis. To book the twin share rate you must specify a room partner, as we cannot pair you with others you don’t yet know.  The potential for snoring induced sleep deprivation discord is just too high!

Your Guide – Adam Monk

Photo tour leader Adam Monk Portrait

Adam is an award winning landscape and travel photographer with a longstanding passion for the natural environment.  He has been travelling and photographing the world’s wild places for over 27 years and the enthusiasm just continues to grow. Until recently, Adam was based in his own landscape gallery in the port city of Fremantle in Western Australia for a busy 14 years.  His images can be found in numerous private collections all over the world (as well as on this website).  For the last 14 years Adam has been organising and running photography workshops and photography tours to some of the worlds wild and beautiful places such as The Kimberley, The Pilbara, Tasmania, Bhutan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iceland, Greenland and Japan.

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