We sit down with Joseph Mak to learn more about the upcoming trip to Kyoto and Osaka.
What can guests expect to see in this trip to Osaka and Kyoto?
We will visit some of the prominent places like Osaka Castle, Dotonbori, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Kiyomizudera Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine Torii Gates and etc.
From previous trips, which are some of the most popular shooting sites?
I would say Dotonbori and Arashiyama are well received by the guests. They love the nightlife and lighting in Dotonbori and the lush greenery of the Bamboo forest. Some guests like the Gion District where we will wait for hours for a Geisha to appear. Well, it all depends on your luck if you are able to bump into a geisha heading to work in the nearby Teahouse.
What should guests be prepared for?
This time of the year, you will expect less crowd as the cherry blossom have faded and the weather is soaring to 30 degrees.
Would you recommend they bring additional gear apart from their camera and lens?
I will recommend a lightweight tripod and ND filters. Sometimes, we need to make some pictures with long exposure to eliminate all the people from the background. There will be a lot of walking in this trip, and lightweight gear is recommended.
Personally, which is your favourite site to shoot in this trip?
The Gion District in Kyoto is a fantastic location for me. I will love to capture the geishas in action. Waiting for them, and if possible with the help of my limited Japanese language, I try to capture them in up close.
What kind of differences (in terms of shooting sites) can guests expect between Osaka and Kyoto?
Osaka is a busier city and it is more cosmopolitan than Kyoto. Kyoto offers more historical sites and is more touristy.
Why did Unusual Expedition decide on these parts of Japan as opposed to places like Okinawa or Hokkaido?
We crafted all itineraries ourselves. The photography aspect for this trip is street photography. Osaka and Kyoto will be a suitable place for street as they have the elements like geisha and busy morning traffic for street photos. Hokkaido will be more on landscape and wildlife, whereas Okinawa will be more touristy and on waterscape.
What are some photography challenges guests can look forward to?
They will need to prepare to walk long distances. Going close to the subject and shooting at arm’s length. The changing light will require them to constantly change their camera setting as well, from indoor to outdoor, from a well-lit subject to a subject in the shadows.
What is the one Japanese meal/restaurant you’re most looking forward to bringing the guests to?
I do not have any particular restaurants in mind, but we definitely have to try Matsusaka A5 Beef. This highly prized marbled beef has great texture and it is rated the best in Japan.
Finally, the most memorable experience you had in Japan on these trips.
Having a sweet confectionery, and seeing a master wearing the traditional costume performing the tea ceremony. This learned tea culture comes a long way from the past and it slows down the fast pace from the city.