Explore deeper into the remote culture and landscapes of Japan
Join Project Basho for a photographic immersion you are sure to never forget. In September 2017, Tsuyoshi Ito will lead Project Basho’s third photography tour through the Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan.
This destination trip is like no other: over the course of the trip, you will travel the expansive countryside with a small, intimate group of photographers and an experienced guide, meet locals through photography, and sample unforgettable regional cuisine.
The traditional customs and traces of the slow ways of life that are long forgotten in modern Japan are here for you to see. It is a total immersion into Japanese culture through a unique and personal introduction.
This 13-day trip will start in Asakusa, in the middle of Tokyo, and will cover three main destinations within Ishikawa Prefecture – the cities of Kanazawa, Wajima and Suzu. We will be exploring the Japanese coastal landscape, a local harvest festival, and small fishing villages along the Sea of Japan. This two-week tour through a modern, yet traditional country will be led by Tsuyoshi Ito, program director of Project Basho and a Japanese native. While on the tour, we will move together as a group from one location to another, while still allotting plenty of time for you to explore each destination on your own.
Deep in the countryside
This trip is particularly special because it is not centered around exploring the major cities, but rather allows you to delve deeper into Japanese culture and experience the scenery and people of the much less accessible countryside. You will have a rare window into daily life in this gorgeous but hard to navigate part of Japan. We can take you where the guidebooks can’t!
While there will be an emphasis on visiting historic and scenic locations as well as exploring local events for shooting, we will also arrange for you to connect with people in the local community, including meeting up with local photographers and photography group in different cities to exchange images. The trip nurtures a wonderful photographic cultural exchange, organized by a Japanese photographer for other photographers who appreciate the sensibilities of the Japanese people and its landscape.
From the bustling Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo to the quiet dining room of a zen temple in Wajima, we will introduce you to the most delicious food that Japan has to offer. Famous for its many regional cuisines, Japan has a reputation of being one of the worlds best destinations for your taste buds.
“This trip transformed my understanding of the role photography plays in my life. The landscapes were stunning and the culture made me push my boundaries and expand into a different understanding of the world around me, even back home. The food was an experience I’ll never forget. I am so glad I participated, it was the perfect thing for my life at the time. Even without all this, it was probably one of the most fun trips I have ever been on. Imagine, a vacation where you get to take pictures as much as you want and not worry about whether you have to be anywhere or do anything.” -Kate Madara, 2015 Participant
As the world becomes more connected, big cities become a lot more homogenized. That’s why in the most remote areas where even other Japanese people tend not to travel, you will find distinct culture that can’t be found anywhere else. From the busting heart of Tokyo to the serene rolling hills of Noto Peninsula, you will get to see the Japan only known to locals.
The 13-day trip will begin in Asakusa, a district in Tokyo. Once the center of popular culture during the 300-year Edo period, Asakusa is now a cultural epicenter. We will tour the Tsukiji fish market, eat at an izakaya, take dinner cruse in Tokyo Bay and exchange images and ideas by inviting local photographers to a lecture. On top of that, you will have time to wander and discover Asakusa on your own. From Asakusa, we will take a 2.5 hour ride to Kanazawa via a brand-new Hokuriku Shinkansen.
In Kanazawa, a relatively small city, you will find exquisite gardens, peaceful surroundings, and excellent vantage points for shooting. Everything there is within walking distance or accessible by public transportation. The group will visit Kenroku-en, one of the most famous gardens in Japan, as well as various temples, museums and busy marketplaces. We will stay in a modern hotel located in the middle of the city that is conveniently located near other major attractions that you will have the opportunity to visit on your own. In Kanazawa you can sample local cuisine from a huge array of local restaurants as well as have the opportunity to meet with local photographers and exchange stories and images.
From Kanazawa, we will travel by bus to Oku-Noto, a remote part of the Noto Peninsula, and visit two smaller fishing towns – Wajima and Suzu.
Wajima is a small port city located at the northern edge of the Noto Peninsula. Wajima is famous for the production of lacquerware, which will be our first stop in this town. We will also visit a morning market, a local sake producer and a quiet fishing port. Afterward, there will be a short trip to the outskirts of Wajima to visit a Zen Temple as well as some small fishing villages along the coast of the Sea of Japan. While in Wajima, we will have the unique opportunity to stay in a Japanese-style room with tatami mats and a pool-sized public hot spring bath that overlooks the picturesque fishing town. We will also eat a vegetarian meal specially prepared for us at a zen temple.
In Suzu, we will explore the end of the Noto Peninsula, where the Takojima Festival guarantees an experience like no other. The two-day festival includes a traditional procession of 16 ornately designed lanterns, accompanied by flutes and drumming, throughout the town. The festival then culminates in a traditional comedy play performed in a local shrine late in the evening. The group will stay in an intimate family-run B&B for three nights in the center of the festival’s location, where we will enjoy authentic home cooked meals and lunch in a traditional restaurant in town.
“The Project Basho trip to Japan was well organized and is a memorable experience that moved my work forward. It allowed us enough time to concentrate on our work, meet with several interesting Japanese photographers, see historic temples, cultural sites, and experience the local festival days in the small villages. And the food and nightlife were great too!” -Rose Marasco, 2015 Participant
Asakusa, Kanazawa, Wajima & Suzu
Ishiwaka Prefecture, Japan
– Lodging and breakfast (12 nights)
– Bullet train fare (between Tokyo and Kanazawa)
– All other local transportation
– Dinner cruise in Tokyo
– Dinners in Wajima & Suzu
– A vegetarian lunch at a zen temple in Wajima
– A lunch at a traditional restaurant in Suzu
* Fee does not include airfare and transportation to and from the destination (Asakusa, Tokyo).
*Lodging fee is based on double occupancy. Single occupancy at each accommodation is available for an additional $1750.
Number of travelers
Limited to 9 (minimum of 5)
Registration Deadline & Deposit
May 1, 2017
$1000 (Deposit is required to secure your seat)
Remaining balance is due June 1st, 2017
Inquire about easy monthly installment for the payment of the balance.
“I feel that this trip to Japan was not your typical “photo tour”. What I loved was staying in local hotels, traveling by train and bus and everyday the great food. It felt like an authentic experience of life in Japan. And to top that off we witnessed a traditional Festival in the various towns along with the friendly people. A truly authentic experience that I would recommend to everybody. ” -Mike Browna, 2015 Participant
Terms & Conditions
Reservations & Payments
A deposit as indicated on the Trip Details page is required in order to confirm your reservation for the trip. Final payment is due in full by June 1st, three months prior to the date of departure. Project Basho reserves the right to cancel a reservation if full payment has not been received by the due date.
All refund requests must be submitted in writing. Postmark or date of email will determine eligibility for a refund. Approved requests will be processed within 30 days.
– Deposit is refundable until March 1st.
– For withdrawals prior to May 1st, 2017, we will refund 100% of the travel fee.
– For withdrawals between June 1st – July 1st, 2017, Project Basho retains 50% of the travel fee.
– No refunds will be granted after July 1st under any circumstances.
It is not required, but strongly advised that you purchase trip insurance, especially when traveling internationally. Camera equipment, computers, and baggage are carried entirely at the owner’s risk. Project Basho shall have no responsibility for any lost, damaged, or delayed property or for any personal medical needs, accidents, injuries or illness. It is highly recommended that you carry on, rather than check, your camera equipment.
The itinerary for your trip is subject to change without prior notification, however all participants will be notified of any changes that do occur.
All participants must be in good health. You must advise Project Basho of any health conditions that could pose a threat, physical conditions, or any other conditions that may require special attention at any point due to unforeseen circumstances. All participants are required to complete a “Waiver of Liability” form and submit it at the time of registration.
Responsibility & Photography
To ensure a safe photographic experience, you are required to obey and observe local customs and to be considerate when photographing people or sensitive locations. We must remember that we are visitors and do not want to impose or make anyone uncomfortable at any time.
- $4950 (USD)
- 2017 Trip
- September 1 – 13, 2017
- Registration Deadline
- May 1, 2017
- Full Payment Due
- June 1, 2017
- September 1
- Arrive Narita Airport
- Meet in Asakusa
- Dinner in Asakusa
- September 2
- Explore Tokyo
- Sightseeing in Tsukiji Fish Market
- September 3
- Train ride to Kanazawa
- September 4 – 5
- Explore & photograph in Kanazawa
- Dinner in Kanazawa
- September 6
- Leave for Wajima by bus
- Explore & photograph in Wajima
- Dinner in Wajima
- September 7 – 8
- Explore & photograph Wajima
- Drive along the coast visiting small fishing towns and a zen temple
- Lunch at a zen temple
- Dinner in Wajima
- September 9
- Leave for Suzu
- Explore & photograph coastal scenes en route to Suzu
- Dinner in Suzu
- September 10 – 11
- Photograph local festival in Takojima neighborhood
- Dinner in Suzu
- September 12
- Return to Kanazawa
- Explore & photograph Kanazawa
- Dinner in Kanazawa
- September 13
- Train ride back to Tokyo
- Tour will end upon the return to Tokyo
- Participants can take the afternoon flight to go back or have the option to stay longer in Tokyo. Please contact us for more details.
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