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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Urban Life & Travel Talk 
Thread started 13 Oct 2015 (Tuesday) 01:20
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Where/what to shoot in Japan in November

 
Shadowblade
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Oct 13, 2015 01:20 |  #1

I'm travelling to Japan during the second half of November and am trying to work out some sort of itinerary for landscape/cityscape photography, particularly given that it's the prime season for autumn colours.

Has anyone been there? Any ideas on what/where to shoot, and how to get around if you don't speak any Japanese? Obviously you can find autumn leaves anywhere, but you also need some sort of interesting vista to go with it.




  
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rezcar
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Oct 14, 2015 17:23 |  #2

What are you mainly interested in? Cities, temples, nature, etc? Autumn and Kyoto are great but very crowded.
Also, where are you staying? That will have an impact on travel time and money.

Check out my Flickr in my sig for recent pix. I'm also going end of November into December.


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Shadowblade
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Oct 14, 2015 17:41 |  #3

rezcar wrote in post #17745632 (external link)
What are you mainly interested in? Cities, temples, nature, etc? Autumn and Kyoto are great but very crowded.
Also, where are you staying? That will have an impact on travel time and money.

Check out my Flickr in my sig for recent pix. I'm also going end of November into December.

Several different things:

- Cityscape locations around Tokyo (looks like the Fuji TV building's observation deck will give you a fantastic sunset view over Rainbow Bridge and the Tokyo skyline, but I can't find out whether they allow tripods)
- Nocturnal streetscapes and other night photography in Tokyo
- Landscapes (often with a cultural/human component, since this is Japan) outside of Tokyo
- Nature anywhere I can find it (probably a bit early and too far south for monkeys in the snow, but there's always next time)

At the moment, locations I have lined up include:
- Fuji and autumn foliage from the Five Lakes area (how easy is it to hire a car and drive around this area?)
- Miyajima island near Hiroshima (hoping for a great sunset view over the torii gate at high tide on 21/11)
- Arashiyama near Kyoto

I will be there around Nov 18-Nov 28 - looks like I can easily catch the autumn foliage in Tokyo and Kyoto, but will it be too late for autumn leaves in the Five Lakes area?

Haven't worked out where I'm staying and how to get around yet - what's the best way to do it?




  
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rezcar
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Oct 15, 2015 21:18 |  #4

That's a lot to cover in 10 days but doable. You're leaving just as I'm arriving. See below for my thoughts.

Shadowblade wrote in post #17745640 (external link)
Several different things:

- Cityscape locations around Tokyo (looks like the Fuji TV building's observation deck will give you a fantastic sunset view over Rainbow Bridge and the Tokyo skyline, but I can't find out whether they allow tripods)
***Not exactly Fuji TV's observation ball, but right at the same spot is Odaiba where tripods are allowed.
Some shots here. https://www.flickr.com …/albums/7215764​8504074868 (external link)

- Nocturnal streetscapes and other night photography in Tokyo
***I suggest Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Akihabara.
- Landscapes (often with a cultural/human component, since this is Japan) outside of Tokyo
***Close by is Kamakura/Enoshima, Nikko, Hon-Kawagoe, Kurazukuri, Asakusa (Tokyo)
- Nature anywhere I can find it (probably a bit early and too far south for monkeys in the snow, but there's always next time)
***Nikko, Chichibu, Okutama, Hakone
At the moment, locations I have lined up include:
- Fuji and autumn foliage from the Five Lakes area (how easy is it to hire a car and drive around this area?)
***Shouldn't be a problem, take a train to Fuji Highland and rent a car there?
- Miyajima island near Hiroshima (hoping for a great sunset view over the torii gate at high tide on 21/11)
***Sunset was difficult for me, angle of the sun or something....but great spot nonetheless. Hiroshima is close.
- Arashiyama near Kyoto
***And central Kyoto, Gion, Kiyomizu Dera, Nara and Fushimi Inari Taisha. Plan on two full days.
https://www.flickr.com …/albums/7215763​9522410774 (external link)


I will be there around Nov 18-Nov 28 - looks like I can easily catch the autumn foliage in Tokyo and Kyoto, but will it be too late for autumn leaves in the Five Lakes area?
***Should be ok, but major crowds.

Haven't worked out where I'm staying and how to get around yet - what's the best way to do it?
***Get a JR railpass. Trains are your best bet, and buses. For lodging, AirB&B? Youth hostel? Onsen resort? Easiest are internet cafes, some even have showers. Try a capsule hotel too!


If your cityscapes can be cities other than Tokyo, then Osaka and Hiroshima are big cities as well. Close to Kyoto and Miyajima.


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rezcar
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Oct 15, 2015 21:24 |  #5

Also, Matsue, Izumo, Tsuwano, Hagi, and Tokushima are also beautiful but further away.


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Shadowblade
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Oct 16, 2015 01:42 |  #6

rezcar wrote in post #17747216 (external link)
That's a lot to cover in 10 days but doable. You're leaving just as I'm arriving. See below for my thoughts.

If your cityscapes can be cities other than Tokyo, then Osaka and Hiroshima are big cities as well. Close to Kyoto and Miyajima.

Thanks - will have to dedicate a trip to it next time - I'm spending the first half of November shooting mountains in Yunnan, China.

- Cityscape locations around Tokyo (looks like the Fuji TV building's observation deck will give you a fantastic sunset view over Rainbow Bridge and the Tokyo skyline, but I can't find out whether they allow tripods) ***Not exactly Fuji TV's observation ball, but right at the same spot is Odaiba where tripods are allowed. Some shots here. https://www.flickr.com (external link) .../albums/72157648504​074868 (external link)

Can you get around the no-tripod thing by using a beanbag mount or Gorillapod, or simply putting the pan-tilt head directly on the ground? Or will the 'lip' in front of the window get in the way? My C1 Cube is pretty stable even without a tripod... I'm guessing you can kill reflections using a polariser or simply a jacket blocking out the lights.

- Nocturnal streetscapes and other night photography in Tokyo ***I suggest Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Akihabara.

Planning to stay in Shinjuku, since it's right by a few interesting places (Shinjuku Gyoen park, etc.). Hoping for some rain at night for the reflections and umbrellas. How hard is it to get from Shinjuku to the Tokyo Shinkansen station? I'm guessing taxi drivers won't speak English...

- Nature anywhere I can find it (probably a bit early and too far south for monkeys in the snow, but there's always next time) ***Nikko, Chichibu, Okutama, Hakone

I'm planning to go to Hakone, for a sunrise and sunset shot of Fuji over the lake from Daikanzan. What else is there to see/do there? Is one night enough?

- Miyajima island near Hiroshima (hoping for a great sunset view over the torii gate at high tide on 21/11) ***Sunset was difficult for me, angle of the sun or something....but great spot nonetheless. Hiroshima is close.

The sun won't be setting over the gate that day, but I'm just after the brilliant colours in the sky. Hoping for no cloud.

- Arashiyama near Kyoto ***And central Kyoto, Gion, Kiyomizu Dera, Nara and Fushimi Inari Taisha. Plan on two full days.

I was planning on staying 2 nights in Kyoto, on 22/11 and 23/11, but looks like it's all booked out and the cheapest accommodation I can find would buy me a new lens for two night's worth... Any alternatives for accommodation?

Haven't worked out where I'm staying and how to get around yet - what's the best way to do it? ***Get a JR railpass. Trains are your best bet, and buses.

I figured I would be using trains a lot. What's the best way to get from a train station to a hotel or other attraction, while lugging around a 30kg pack and lots of camera gear?

For lodging, AirB&B? Youth hostel? Onsen resort? Easiest are internet cafes, some even have showers. Try a capsule hotel too!

How do you pre-book onsen resorts/ryokans? Not sure where to find them online, especially at a reasonable price - not every room in Japan can cost upwards of $250 a night!

Do you (can you) prebook accommodation at internet cafes or capsule hotels? Is there room to leave heavy equipment while exploring the town? How can you safely stow camera equipment in communal accommodation?




  
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rezcar
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Oct 17, 2015 02:52 |  #7

Shadowblade wrote in post #17747476 (external link)
Thanks - will have to dedicate a trip to it next time - I'm spending the first half of November shooting mountains in Yunnan, China.

Can you get around the no-tripod thing by using a beanbag mount or Gorillapod, or simply putting the pan-tilt head directly on the ground? Or will the 'lip' in front of the window get in the way? My C1 Cube is pretty stable even without a tripod... I'm guessing you can kill reflections using a polariser or simply a jacket blocking out the lights.

I'm not sure of what you want, do you want to shoot from the FujiTV ball no matter what? I think they close pretty early. Or do you just want a good spot to shoot the bridge, etc. from? A bean bag might help inside, but i don't remember how close the tables were to the windows. Outside, there are all kinds of places to shoot from, at the water's edge to the top of the parking structure.

Planning to stay in Shinjuku, since it's right by a few interesting places (Shinjuku Gyoen park, etc.). Hoping for some rain at night for the reflections and umbrellas. How hard is it to get from Shinjuku to the Tokyo Shinkansen station? I'm guessing taxi drivers won't speak English...

Really easy, and faster by train. Traffic is bad in Tokyo and you waste a lot of time and money sitting in it. They should be competent enough to take you to Tokyo station tho.

I'm planning to go to Hakone, for a sunrise and sunset shot of Fuji over the lake from Daikanzan. What else is there to see/do there? Is one night enough?

Been a while, but the surrounding towns are very cultural and photogenic. I think one night is enough.

The sun won't be setting over the gate that day, but I'm just after the brilliant colours in the sky. Hoping for no cloud.

I was planning on staying 2 nights in Kyoto, on 22/11 and 23/11, but looks like it's all booked out and the cheapest accommodation I can find would buy me a new lens for two night's worth... Any alternatives for accommodation?

You tried everywhere in Kyoto? Are you willing to stay in a nearby city/town? Look for a business hotel about 30 min to 1 hour away and it will be real cheap, Osaka is like 30 min away and has better night life.

I figured I would be using trains a lot. What's the best way to get from a train station to a hotel or other attraction, while lugging around a 30kg pack and lots of camera gear?

I have the Think Tank Airport Express "bag", it's a rolling suitcase and turns into a backpack when you need it. Do research on where you're going, most temples don't allow tripods. Stash as much as you can in a coin locker (pay locker) at the train station and take what you need to the attraction. If I'm staying somewhere safe overnight like a hotel, I will transfer stuff to a backpack and roam around. Take care, some lockers have a time period, but most are max 3 days etc.

How do you pre-book onsen resorts/ryokans? Not sure where to find them online, especially at a reasonable price - not every room in Japan can cost upwards of $250 a night!

I know there are deals, try Tokyo Walker magazine, they may have a website. There's also Kyoto Walker, Yokohama Walker, etc. Also look at the city's home page, Miyajima had an English section and was informational. If you know the name of a resort, they may also have a webpage.

Do you (can you) prebook accommodation at internet cafes or capsule hotels? Is there room to leave heavy equipment while exploring the town? How can you safely stow camera equipment in communal accommodation?

The nicer ones you can book ahead of time, and the nicer ones usually have secure lockers. Otherwise, use a coin locker outside or pay more for a hotel. Some capsule hotels let you check in bags at the desk too. I would like to try Air B&B one day, but hotels are usually more convenient in being close to train stations.

You should also rent a smart phone if you can, unless yours works in Japan. It's about $100 for two weeks? Comes in handy for reservations, looking up train schedules, etc.


Fotostream
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/59148177@N06/ (external link)
#re240zcar
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"Image quality is not the product of a machine, but of the person who directs the machine, and there are no limits to imagination and expression." - Ansel Adams

  
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rezcar
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Oct 17, 2015 02:57 |  #8

This was taken from Fuji TV, no ledge on this window and luckily it was day time for a short exposure. Down below are the decks, walkways, etc. that you can use tripods. That horse shoe area lower left is the most popular spot, but you can go down to the beach and walk parallel to the bridge too.

IMAGE: https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5482/11822067903_2bae12679c_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/j1Fb​UX  (external link) IMG_1145_stitch a (external link) by owen yano (external link), on Flickr

Fotostream
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/59148177@N06/ (external link)
#re240zcar
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Shadowblade
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Oct 17, 2015 04:32 |  #9

rezcar wrote in post #17748784 (external link)
I'm not sure of what you want, do you want to shoot from the FujiTV ball no matter what? I think they close pretty early. Or do you just want a good spot to shoot the bridge, etc. from? A bean bag might help inside, but i don't remember how close the tables were to the windows. Outside, there are all kinds of places to shoot from, at the water's edge to the top of the parking structure.

I'll probably end up shooting from both, but really want the elevated view from above the level of the bridge.

Really easy, and faster by train. Traffic is bad in Tokyo and you waste a lot of time and money sitting in it. They should be competent enough to take you to Tokyo station tho.

Sure. Or to Shinjuku station.

Been a while, but the surrounding towns are very cultural and photogenic. I think one night is enough.

What's the weather like in November? As in, what are the odds of having clear skies over both Hakone and Fuji around sunset (and, potentially, sunrise)? Is it easy enough to point out locations on a map and have a taxi driver take me there, since going to a photo location isn't as simple as 'take me to the airport' or 'take me to the Shinkansen station'?

You tried everywhere in Kyoto? Are you willing to stay in a nearby city/town? Look for a business hotel about 30 min to 1 hour away and it will be real cheap, Osaka is like 30 min away and has better night life.

I was thinking of being in Arashiyama around sunset, so staying in Kyoto would be more convenient from that point of view. On the other hand, if Osaka is only 30 mins away...

I have the Think Tank Airport Express "bag", it's a rolling suitcase and turns into a backpack when you need it. Do research on where you're going, most temples don't allow tripods. Stash as much as you can in a coin locker (pay locker) at the train station and take what you need to the attraction. If I'm staying somewhere safe overnight like a hotel, I will transfer stuff to a backpack and roam around. Take care, some lockers have a time period, but most are max 3 days etc.

Do they still allow you to take tripods with you, just not use them? It would be very inconvenient to travel from Osaka to Kyoto, do some tripod shooting, then have to go back to Osaka to drop off the tripod before coming back to shoot a temple!

Does it apply to gorillapods and bean bag pods as well, or just full-size tripods?

I know there are deals, try Tokyo Walker magazine, they may have a website. There's also Kyoto Walker, Yokohama Walker, etc. Also look at the city's home page, Miyajima had an English section and was informational. If you know the name of a resort, they may also have a webpage.

The nicer ones you can book ahead of time, and the nicer ones usually have secure lockers. Otherwise, use a coin locker outside or pay more for a hotel. Some capsule hotels let you check in bags at the desk too. I would like to try Air B&B one day, but hotels are usually more convenient in being close to train stations.

You should also rent a smart phone if you can, unless yours works in Japan. It's about $100 for two weeks? Comes in handy for reservations, looking up train schedules, etc.

Mine should work with international roaming and travel data packs.




  
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Shadowblade
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Oct 17, 2015 04:33 |  #10

rezcar wrote in post #17748787 (external link)
This was taken from Fuji TV, no ledge on this window and luckily it was day time for a short exposure. Down below are the decks, walkways, etc. that you can use tripods. That horse shoe area lower left is the most popular spot, but you can go down to the beach and walk parallel to the bridge too.

QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/j1Fb​UX  (external link) IMG_1145_stitch a (external link) by owen yano (external link), on Flickr

Yep, that's the sort of elevated view I'm after. Although around sunset (closing time of Fuji TV is 6pm, which is well after sunset in November) and more zoomed in on the bridge.




  
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rezcar
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Post edited over 3 years ago by rezcar.
     
Oct 17, 2015 11:30 as a reply to  @ Shadowblade's post |  #11

]
What's the weather like in November? As in, what are the odds of having clear skies over both Hakone and Fuji around sunset (and, potentially, sunrise)?

You'll have to research somewhere but from my memory, odds are good.

]
Is it easy enough to point out locations on a map and have a taxi driver take me there, since going to a photo location isn't as simple as 'take me to the airport' or 'take me to the Shinkansen station'?

If you have a map and the driver isn't a moron, it should be no problem. Cab drivers in Japan are usually experts in their areas.

]
I was thinking of being in Arashiyama around sunset, so staying in Kyoto would be more convenient from that point of view. On the other hand, if Osaka is only 30 mins away...

You'll probably be in the area from early on, so much to shoot in Kyoto!

]
Do they still allow you to take tripods with you, just not use them? It would be very inconvenient to travel from Osaka to Kyoto, do some tripod shooting, then have to go back to Osaka to drop off the tripod before coming back to shoot a temple!

Most places made me check the tripod if they had a desk like that, otherwise I had to find a locker. You won't have to go all the way back to Osaka unless it's super crowded.

]
Does it apply to gorillapods and bean bag pods as well, or just full-size tripods?

Those are fine, I used one at Sky Tree. Finding a spot to use it is always hard, people leaning on and kicking the railing etc. I have seen people who snuck normal tripods in and were fine, must be the time and place I guess. My Benro Travel Flat tripod is slightly tall when collapsed, so might get a MeFoto that fits in my backpack. I hate having duplicate equipment like that tho.

Looking forward to seeing the shots from FujiTV!


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Shadowblade
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Oct 17, 2015 19:20 |  #12

rezcar wrote in post #17749187 (external link)
You'll have to research somewhere but from my memory, odds are good.

If you have a map and the driver isn't a moron, it should be no problem. Cab drivers in Japan are usually experts in their areas.

You'll probably be in the area from early on, so much to shoot in Kyoto!

Yep, expecting that to be the case. The good thing about forests is that 'ideal lighting' can happen at any time of the day, not just around sunrise and sunset.

Most places made me check the tripod if they had a desk like that, otherwise I had to find a locker. You won't have to go all the way back to Osaka unless it's super crowded.

What about large camera bags/backpacks? Can you take those up, or do you also have to check in your bag full of lenses?

Those are fine, I used one at Sky Tree. Finding a spot to use it is always hard, people leaning on and kicking the railing etc. I have seen people who snuck normal tripods in and were fine, must be the time and place I guess. My Benro Travel Flat tripod is slightly tall when collapsed, so might get a MeFoto that fits in my backpack. I hate having duplicate equipment like that tho.

Looking forward to seeing the shots from FujiTV!

That's why I was asking about ledges in front of the windows - if there are none and the windows are right at the outer edge of the wall, you can put a Gorillapod or beanbag at floor level and still shoot over the edge.

Otherwise, use a coin locker outside or pay more for a hotel. Some capsule hotels let you check in bags at the desk too. I would like to try Air B&B one day, but hotels are usually more convenient in being close to train stations.

How big are the coin lockers? Can they handle a large suitcase or hiking pack (since I'll need that while travelling in China, and also to get my tripod home in on the flight home)?




  
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rezcar
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Oct 18, 2015 13:19 |  #13

Shadowblade wrote in post #17749625 (external link)
What about large camera bags/backpacks? Can you take those up, or do you also have to check in your bag full of lenses?

Should not be a problem, I have a Flipside AW400 which is pretty bulky but it was fine.

]
How big are the coin lockers? Can they handle a large suitcase or hiking pack (since I'll need that while travelling in China, and also to get my tripod home in on the flight home)?

If you are lucky, you can find one big enough to fit the roller case I was talking about. Each location usually has one or two, but they might be being used.


This is one random search I did. Check out #11. You can tell it's outside from the map.
http://coinlockersearc​h.com/kyoto.html (external link)
I hope this copy and paste of the Japanese text works
キャリーバッグ可 -carrier bag/med backpack
スーツケース可-suitcase
ゴルフバッグ可-golf bag
現金 のみ-cash only (coins)
24 時間-24 hour use

Others say,
始発から終電まで-from first train to last

Occasionally, you will come across people who stow their stuff and leave without paying/locking. Either they're too cheap or just stupid, but if I need that locker, I take their stuff out, put mine in, and lock it. It's like people taking metered parking spots and not paying, when I really need that spot!


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http://www.flickr.com/​photos/59148177@N06/ (external link)
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rezcar
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Oct 18, 2015 13:22 |  #14

Check out the link within this page
http://www.japan-guide.com …ereadisplay.htm​l?0+101412 (external link)


Fotostream
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/59148177@N06/ (external link)
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rezcar
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Oct 18, 2015 13:36 |  #15

Also, try to research the status of places you're going. I went to a temple in Kyoto and it was partially under construction. Had to do a lot of photoshopping to remove the crane.
Something like this page, I was planning to go here in November.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3100.html (external link)


Fotostream
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/59148177@N06/ (external link)
#re240zcar
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Where/what to shoot in Japan in November
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Photography-on-the.net Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.