The Japan Photography Tour

During the usual Peak of the Cherry Blossom Bloom in Kyoto,

The Cultural Heart of Japan

a premier photographic essay and cultural experience

Registration is not open yet

Dates:  April 2-7, 2018, 6 days and 5 nights in Japan 

Accommodations:  Comfortable hotel accommodations with breakfast buffet.  this helps us to get out the door without wasting time each day.

Tour Leaders:  Brian and Kazue Merry

This intimate Tour is limited to only 6 guests maximum

How To Book:

          Step 1: $1000+gst (5% CDN tax) non-refundable retainer is due at the time of booking to guarantee your spot on the tour and to remove it from inventory.  This retainer is not refundable.  Contact me using the Contact form or call me toll free to arrange payment with Visa/MC or bank transfer.  You can call toll free in Canada at 1-855-763-1114, or from outside of Canada at 403-763-1114.

         Step 2:  Purchase the balance of the tour on or before January 1, 2018.  You can purchase the entire tour in one transaction at the time of booking you’ll receive a $100.00 refund on the total tour price.  ILPA members will also receive an additional $500 refund on your final payment at total tour cost.  If the total payment for the tour is not received before March 2, 2017 you’ll forfeit the retainer and your spot will be placed back into the tour inventory and will become available for someone else to purchase.  

** Special note to members of the International Landscape Photographers Association – ILPA members will receive a $500 discount on this tour as a benefit to your ILPA membership. **

Contact me with questions and to Register!

or call me toll free in Canada at 1-855-763-1114, or 403-763-1114 international,

to pay with Visa or M/C


Our Intimate Japan photography tour is limited to 6 guests with Brian and Kazue Merry co-leading the tour = Quality!

All dates and times in Japanese time unless otherwise stated.  

A Giesha on the streets of Kyoto, Japan

A Geisha on the streets of Kyoto, Japan.  Photographed during one of our many trips to Japan ©


Getting from the Airport in Kyoto to the Westin Miyako Hotel:  

     Please click here to follow these detailed directions to get from the Osaka-Itami airport (airport code ITM) to the hotel on the Westin Miyako’s website.  You can also fly to the Kansai airport and transfer to the Westin Miyako.  This transfer is a little more involved, by still easy with just a couple of transfers involved.  The Westin Miyako is used to helping 1000s of English only speaking tourists each year to get to their Hotel.  They are the experts with this specific logistic and I encourage you to call them to help you to get to their hotel.  After you click through the link above and read the webpage the Westin Miyako has created to help people to travel to their Hotel, you will agree too that they really know how to help English speaking people to find their way to their Hotel.

How to contact Kazue and I in Japan after we arrive there about a week before you do?:

      Kazue and I will have a Japanese cell phone that you can call when you arrive in Japan if you need help.  We will provide the Japanese cell number to you after we arrive in Japan and about a week before the tour.  You can also reach via email but we will only be checking email in Japan but calling us on our cell phone is the best option after you arrive in Japan.  We’ll take complete care of you once you arrive at the Hotel until after you leave at the end of the tour.

     Our all inclusive Japan Photography Tour in the cultural heart of Japan, Kyoto, during the peak tourist season of the year might be something you’ll want to attend.  There is no other English speaking and Japanese lead photography tour like this during the peak of the cherry blossom season in Japan in the cultural heart of Japan.

     Join Kazue and I in our small intimate group tour of 6 guests maximum as we show you the cultural heart of Japan and Kazue’s home country for the first 30 years of her life.  This promises to be a culturally rich Japan travel photography tour as we show you her native land from a photographer’s perspective.  We’ll explain Japan’s unique culture through the eyes of a Japanese citizen, Kazue, while we coach you on how to photograph it in the streets, on our cultural walks, in the gardens of blooming cherry trees and during traditional cultural theatre performances.  Be prepared to walk 4-6 km per day during the tour.

We’re strategically hosting our tour during the usual peak of the cherry blossoms in the cultural capital of Japan.  

     This is PEAK tourist season in Japan, not the shoulder season like you’ll often find on other photography tours of Japan being offered at pretty much the same price.  We will see cherry blossoms in bloom.  The only question is if we’ll hit the exact peak of the bloom.  I know the area and have determined that this is the usual peak so we should have a great trip!  I believe we offer the best English speaking, Japanese lead, photography tour of Japan available today.  How can we do this?  The Locals and the Pros know how to do it, and Kazue and I are just that.  Together, we have both the intimate local knowledge and the professional travel photography experience to deliver a top notch tour.

     During the tour we’ll be staying in a centrally located Hotel in Kyoto in one of the most popular tourist districts in the city.  From our base we’ll take you and the rest of the group on a diverse set of day excursions including:

  • a traditional open riverboat tour
  • a trip on one of Japan’s unique narrow gauge railways
  • a photographic tour of the Japanese golden temple, Kinkaku-Ji.  The temple exterior is covered in solid gold.  
  • to see and photograph traditional Geisha and Miko (apprentice Geishas) dances in a historical theatre
  • tour and photograph the famous “Path of Philosophy”, made famous by National Geographic photographer Bob Allard
  • we’ll lead the numerous daily guided walking tours through the ancient narrow streets of town
  • We’ll visit a park where the wild monkeys mingle in amongst the people is a calm and civil manner
  • we’ll photograph Geishas and Mikos performing their traditional dances for us
  • we’ll dine on traditional Japanese food
  • attend a traditional formal Japanese tea ceremony
  • and contrast that with the busy street life in Japan.  
  • Finally, as mentioned previously, we’ll base ourselves at a centrally located Hotel in Kyoto, located two blocks from the cultural tourist hub of Kyoto.  You’ll be able to communicate with hotel staff in the lobby using broken English.  Outside of the Hotel though virtually nobody speaks English, except other foreign tourists.  Stick with us when you’re outside and you’ll have a great time.  If you get lost Kazue has prepared a note for you to give a taxi cab so he’ll understand to return you to the hotel.  


It’s very likely that we’ll have numerous chances to photography Geishas in their traditional kimono dress holding traditional umbrellas on the streets rushing between their social appointments.  Don’t worry if you don’t get a chance you don’t get to capture Geishas and Mikos scurrying around the busy streets in amongst all the locals and tourists as they walk between social appointments.  In the highly unlikely event that happens, you will definitely get a chance to photograph them during our evening session at the Geisha theatre where they’ll be performing for us live. 

     Koyoto is Japanese cultural contrast at it’s best.  I sincerely believe that this will be a tour to remember for the rest of your life! 

     Would you like to be kept up to date on this tour?  Let me know on my contact form that you want me to add you to the information email list for the Japan Photography Tour for 7 days and 6 nights during the peak of the cherry blossom festive season in the cultural capital of Japan, Kyoto.  I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have as well.  Please call me with your questions toll free in Canada at 855-763-1114 or 011-403-763-1114 internationally.  I encourage you to email via my contact form for a complete answer and to file it in your email folder for your records.  Also, I’ll be able to take my time to write a thorough and thoughtful email back to you via the your submitted contact form.  Thank you for your interest and I hope to see you in Japan next Spring!  

Call me at toll free at  1-855-763-1114 or

email me at

with your questions



Golden Temple

Kinkaku Ji, the golden temple in Koyoto, Japan ©

Here is the detailed itinerary (all dates are in Japanese time):

Itinerary:   After multiple trips to Japan to scout the tour with Kazue, a Japanese citizen and resident for the first 30 years of her life, we are certain that we are offering the best English speaking and Japanese lead Japan photography tour available.

Day 1  (April 2):  Travel – Check into the tour hotel on your own travel schedule and contact Meet Brian and Kazue to receive your registration package at 4:30pm before the start of the tour at the group dinner.  You will be provide my Japan cell phone number before you leave North America.  I will be at the hotel or close by in the afternoon of April 2nd.

        –    Check into your room.  Evening Tour meet and greet.  Night time photography of beautifully lit cherry blossoms in Maruyama-Koen Park and cultural walk through the ancient streets of the old traditional Geisha district of Kyoto.

Day 2 (April 3):  Path of Philosophy scenic cultural walk and tea ceremony welcoming you to Japan.  We’ll Photograph along the inspirational Path of Philosophy.  During our photo stoll we’ll attended and participant in a traditional tea ceremony along the way.  The ceremony takes place is a beautiful teahouse located in the forest along our walking path.  The ambient lighting inside of the teahouse is spectacular as it filters through the forest canopy and rice paper walls.  We’ll also photograph the busy narrow streets of the bustling shop district leading up to Ginkaku-Ji, directly translated to “The Silver Temple”.

Day 3 (April 4):  After breakfast we’ll depart to photograph the first rays of sunlight on the path of philosophy and spend the rest of the day exploring photographing the busy streets of Japan and explore the Zen Temple.

Day 4 (April 5):   Today we’ll leave for a trip on a train across the city and transfer onto an original Japanese narrow gauge railway.  We’ll ride the traditional train up into the mountains and transfer to traditional flat bottom boats for a float trip down the river back to Kyoto.  Upon our return we’ll tour the temple, Tenryu Ji and walk the pathways of the beautiful and famous Bamboo Grove.  We’ll also visit an area where the monkeies are approachable and close ups photographs mere meters or less away from the camera will be possible. 

Day 5 (April 6):  Inari Jinja.  We’ll head south to Fushimi-Inari Taisha through the Japanese subway system.  That is an exciting experience in itself for some people.  We’ll spend a pleasant day strolling / easy hiking in the mountains among the thousands of of red Tori gates that line the path.  Along the way we’ll stop at some of the 30,000 shine complexes that line the entire hike for photography.  In the evening we’ll have a tour wrap up dinner and social or last stroll through the .  

Day 6 (April 7):  Check out from Hotel. Optional peaceful morning photo walk on the Path of Philosophy to say goodbye to the cultural heart of Japan.  Fly back to North America on your own schedule.  


Japan Tour cancellation policy:

     We understand that life sometimes gets in the way of some of our guests plans and they have to back out of a tour.  We have to balance that understanding with our business need ss as well.  To that end we have come up with a cancelation policy that brings balance to both sides of the equation.  We want to be understanding, but we also need to meet our commitments to the  tour and the related expenses, and both sides need to honour our commitments to each other.  Below is our tour cancellation policy.  By purchasing your ticket on the tour you agree to the cancellation policy below.  I hope we don’t have to use it, but if we do I think that this compromise is reasonable for both of us.  Kazue and I would like to thank you for your interest in our tours.  However, if for some reason we have to cancel a tour we will guarantee a 100% refund of the entire tour registration fee.  We limit our liability in the unlikely event of a tour cancellation up to and including the tour registration fee paid.  We do not accept cancellation liability, or any other liability, over and above the registration fee of a tour.  Tours will never be canceled due to low registration though.  If one person is registered on a tour, we’re going ahead with the tour, given that all other factors are viable (ie:  no natural natural disasters or unsafe political unrest is present).  You can rest assured that if you purchase a ticket for the tour that the tour will not be cancelled due to low registration.

–   If the customer cancels between 120 days and 60 days before the tour service then 75% of the tour service fee will be refunded ($50 for a half day tour and $150 for a full day tour).  The Retainer is not returned.
–   If the customer cancels between 60 days and 30 days before the tour service then 50% of the tour service fee will be refunded ($50 for a half day tour and $150 for a full day tour).  The Retainer is not returned.
–   If the customer cancels between 30 days and 14 days before the tour service then 25% of the tour registration fee will be refunded.  The Retainer is not returned.
–  If the customer cancels with less than 14 days notice then the entire tour service fee, and the retainer is not returned.
– Tour registration and/or cancelation fees are not transferable to another workshop, tour or conference in the event a participant decides to cancel their spot.