Photography in Japan
Whether one has been living in Japan for some time or is just planning on visiting these beautiful islands, it is immediately evident how many photographic opportunities there are. From stunning temples and historic buildings to wonderful landscapes of huge mountain ranges and tropical beaches. Japan offers so much to the avid photographer.
Of course even non photographers know that Japan is the Mecca when it comes to Cameras. Nikon, Canon and most of the other leading brands of Camera hail from this giant of electronic production. Enthusiasts and newbies alike can spend hours scouring the huge electronic stores of Akihabura in search of the very latest model. However for those already in possession of a Camera there are an abundance of interesting and varied subjects to capture so your memories of this amazing country won’t ever fade.
Japan is a fantastically unique culture which can be seen through all aspects of life here. The food, the traditional dress, the written language, the nightlife, all these things and many more are all distinctly Japanese and make for great subjects for photography. One could travel to many different countries while taking photos of all the different types of cuisine they had encountered. It would be fairly difficult though to distinguish which food was from which country due to the way that food was presented. Not in Japan, Japanese food is defined as much for its taste as its presentation. A photo of Japanese food is instantly recognizable. The point being that food here, like so many things is a perfect subject for the keen photographer.
In fact there are so many opportunities to get ones camera out it is best to plan what it is you really want to take pictures of. People are always a popular subject when travelling to a new place. An old lady in a Kimono, a salary man waiting for a train, a Sushi chef, a Sumo wrestler or if you get really lucky a Geisha girl holding an umbrella walking to her next destination. These are all distinctly Japanese and present unlimited “shutter chances” to fill up numerous memory cards.
It is not only people though that can inspire the amateur photographer to grab his camera and start snapping away. Japan has amazing gardens with an abundance of different and wonderfully varied flora. With the changing of each season different flowers bloom and the appearance of trees and shrubs can dramatically change. From the beautiful changing of the leaves in autumn to the world renowned Cherry blossoms heralding the coming of spring. These are images that can be found all over the internet.
If flowers and gardens aren’t your thing then Japan’s diverse wildlife might spark your interest. The Snow Monkeys of Nagano or just Japanese Macaques as they are known elsewhere in Japan make for excellent subjects as do any of the 130 species of land mammal that can be found throughout the islands. Japan’s birdlife is famous throughout the world and many enthusiastic twitchers or Ornithologists will make the long trip to try and capture an image of the majestic Stellar`s Eagle or the endemic Yanbaru Kuina. The skies are not the only place to find wonderfully colourful creatures. The waters that surround these numerous islands are full of Whales, Sea lions, Dolphins and fish of all sorts for those who are happy to explore the Japan that exists under the sea.
With so many potential photographic opportunities available one can explore almost anywhere in Japan and still manage to make some fantastic images. However they are few places more perfect for the photographer than Kyoto. Yes Tokyo offers the wonderfully modern with giant skyscrapers, neon lights and that typical 21st century impression of a bustling and busy metropolis. However it is Kyoto which is quintessentially Japanese. Walking around the shops offers a glimpse into Japanese culture like no where else. Shops selling Japanese fans to Japanese sweet stores all line the streets which makes a lovely change to the bright and brash superstores found elsewhere in Japan. The temples and shrines are full of people wearing traditional attire and one can sense that little has changed in the last hundred years or so. In a country full of beautiful and interesting places that are digitally recorded everyday, Kyoto really does stand out as the Photographer’s utopia.
So if upon arrival at Narita, photography isn’t something other than just grabbing your phone for a quick selfie, be prepared to be dazzled by all that’s around you and don’t be surprised if you too end up at one of the huge electronic shops searching for something a little more substantial than your iphone to help you capture and preserve all those wonderful memories.