Migratory Cranes of Izumi
Feast your eyes on more than 10,000 cranes of four species gather on the coastal paddy field of the Izumi plain. This area has more species and 10 times more cranes than the popular (but tourist-filled) Hokkaido region. We will bring you to the best spots to capture eye-level shots of the cranes on the ground and in the air. Hooded Cranes, White-naped Cranes and Common Cranes made up the majority of the population here. If we are lucky, we may spot the Sandhill cranes, Siberian cranes and Demoiselle cranes too. And the best part? You will be the only few enjoying the 360° panoramic view of the cranes, with no other photographers jostling shoulder-to-shoulder for space.
Kirishima Shrine is arguably the most well-known spot for autumn leaves in Kagoshima. Capture splendid views of the symbolic flaming red Torii gate against a backdrop of Japanese maple leaves, the peaceful and serene gravel courtyard of the main temple, and 800-year-old ancient protected trees within the shrine grounds.
Nicknamed “Niagara of the East”, this is a majestic waterfall that spans 210 metres with large volumes of water gushing down the cliff sides into the plunge pool below. We arise early for this location for the beautiful side lighting from the morning sun. We will discuss and explore the use of filters to capture the motion effects of water in daylight.
JR Kareigawa Station
One of the oldest, unmanned wooden train stations in Kyushu, the JR Kareigawa Station was built in 1903 and is still in operation today. Nostalgic scenes include the jet-black express train, affectionately named “Hayato-no-Kaze”, entering and leaving the rustic station, reminiscent of scenes dating back to the mid-Meiji period (early 20th century).
Yakushima Island – UNESCO World Heritage Site
Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine – This mythical moss forest, which inspired the animated film “Princess Mononoke”, is filled with ancient Yakusugi cedar trees of more than a thousand years old. In a leisurely hike along the trail, you can find wildlife such as the Yakushika deer and Yakuzaru macaque, both which are endemic to this island. The estimated deer population on Yakushima in year 2014 was 19,000. To put this figure into perspective, the human population on the island is around 13,500!
We will also visit the Ohko-no-Taki waterfall, said to be the highest waterfall in Southern Kyushu at 88m. You can get as close as you feel comfortable to experience its grandeur.
Tarumizu Gingko Garden
Owned by a couple, who took great efforts to plant numerous Gingko trees in their garden, this place turns into a world of glittering gold during autumn.
Senganen was built in 1658 as a villa to Shimadzu Mitsuhisa, the 19th Lord of the Shimadzu clan, which ruled over Kagoshima for more than 700 years. This beautifully-landscaped Japanese garden is set within the grandeur of Mt. Sakurajima and Kinko Bay as its backdrop, offering many picturesque spots for landscape photography.
With more than 200 years of history, the Kurozu vinegar is still produced today using traditional methods. The craft of brewing Kurozu is perfected by highly skilled specialists, who tend to the Kurozu vinegar ceramic brewing jars, laid out on a field in neat rows like a plot of farmland, hence its name Kurozu Farm. After our photo shoot here, we will enjoy a hearty lunch and dessert prepared using the healthy Kurozu vinegar.
Chiran Samurai Residence
A preserved, authentic samurai district, with houses and gardens that date back to about 250 years ago, sits within the town of Chiran. This place is also free of telephone poles and structures that would detract from the unique historic atmosphere.
We will head out before sunrise on this day to capture the most iconic landmark of Kagoshima, the active volcano Mount Sakurajima, with the downtown city lights during the blue hour at dawn. Witness the entire city scene before it comes to life as the sun ascends from behind Mount Sakurajima.
Built along the ocean, Ibusuki Hakusuikan is a top class accommodation located within an expansive garden with 1,000 pines. It has a unique volcanic sand hot spring and combines a traditional Japanese ambiance with strong resort hotel elements. The main focus for the evening and morning is the Satsuma Denshokan Museum located within the resort grounds and its intricately designed oriental style architectural views.
Head back to Kagoshima city, as we prepare for our evening shoot at Tenmonkan, the bustling downtown. The blue hour is considered one of the most magical moments that takes place in a day. The magical blue hour of the main city area, coupled with car light trails using long exposure techniques makes for a more dramatic effect.
AFTER THE TRIP
We will organize a final session at C.S.Ling’s photography studio with your final set of edited photos for another round of critic and improvement session. : )