Leica Photo Adventure: Japan | November 4-13, 2022

$11,995 ($2,995 Deposit)

  • Join Leica Store Miami for a photographic and cultural adventure in Japan! We've partnered with luxury travel experts Boutique Japan to offer a unique photography experience in the land of the rising sun.

    Japan is a land of breathtaking contrasts, home to one of the most forward-thinking and simultaneously traditional cultures on Earth. On this once-in-a-lifetime photography adventure, we'll experience a variety of Japan's most unique destinations, with immersive stays in the ultra-modern Tokyo metropolis, legendary Mt. Fuji, the ancient capital Kyoto, and a traditional Japanese ryokan in the lush Japanese countryside.

    We’ll be visiting Japan during its most colorful season, Autumn. At this time of year, the Japanese maple tree, Momiji, is in full bloom making for truly amazing photographs.

    This tour is suitable for all levels of experience and ability. While other cameras are certainly allowed, the focus is on Leica camera systems and learning how to use them to their full potential. Current owners as well as those wanting to try Leica gear out for a week of real shooting are encouraged to attend. We’ll share our favorite tips and tricks so you can get the most out of this exceptional gear.

    This trip will be led by a local guide and translator from Boutique Japan who specializes in the regions that we'll be visiting. They will be on hand every step of the way to ensure that we have an amazing experience. Leica experts David Farkas and Peter Dooling from Leica Store Miami will be on hand to give assistance and advice as you photograph this beautiful country.



    Flying to and from Japan:

    This trip will begin in Tokyo and end in Kyoto. Depending on your travel plans, you may wish to depart out of Kyoto or Osaka or return to Tokyo on the bullet train. Tokyo has two international airports. Haneda Airport is located approximately 10 miles from Tokyo city center whereas Narita International is about 40 miles away. Despite the distance, the Narita Express Train makes it easy to get to central Tokyo from Narita Airport.

     
  • Dates:

    Friday, November 4 - Sunday, November 13, 2022

    Cost: 

    $11,995 - Double occupancy lodging (Single room available for $1000)

    Size:

    Limited to 10 attendees

    Included in the cost of the trip:

    • Double occupancy lodging (Single room available for $1000)
    • All breakfasts and most lunches & dinners
    • All transportation except airport transfers
    • Luggage forwarding service
    • All admissions to museums, parks and tours
    • Private shooting in a craft-person's studio
    • Professional local guide and translator
    • In-the-field photography instruction
    • Post processing instruction and photo critique
    • Use of loaner Leica loaner equipment (*limited availability)

    Not included in the cost of the trip:

    • Airfare
    • Any meals not listed in the itinerary
    • Alcohol and snacks
    • Airport transfers (private transfers can be arranged)
    • Tips for local guide
    • Travel insurance
    • Covid testing (if applicable at time of travel)
    • Visas (if applicable; not necessary for US citizens)


    Signing Up

    To sign up for this photo adventure, checkout here on our website, call 305-921-4433 or email us (peter@leicastoremiami.com). We are happy to answer any questions you may have. A $2,995 deposit, along with the single room supplement should you choose it, is required to hold your spot. The balance will be due on August 4, 2022.

    We look forward to seeing you in Japan!


  • Itinerary

    November 4-7, 2022: Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo
    Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo is an excellent and highly convenient hotel in the heart of the metropolis. We'll be just steps from the Ginza neighborhood’s countless dining establishments and legendary department stores (home to dazzling depachika food halls), and have easy access to all of central Tokyo and beyond.

    For participants staying elsewhere in Tokyo before the start of our tour, you'll be able to leave your luggage with the front desk and it will be placed in your room for when we return after our first day photographing Tokyo together.

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    Friday, November 4th -
    Introductions, Imperial Palace, Ginza, Yanaka

    Ohayou gozaimasu (good morning)! At 10:00 am we'll gather in the lobby of our hotel for a brief meet-and-greet and discuss the adventure ahead. Then we'll set off to begin exploring Tokyo.

    Our time in Japan begins in the endlessly fascinating modern capital. Over the next couple of days, we'll be experiencing a carefully curated selection of important highlights and hidden gems, led by our expert guide. To complement the city's ultramodern elements, we'll also be focusing on quiet, charming districts where we'll encounter fewer tourists and  character to spare.

    While in Tokyo, we'll be navigating the city primarily on foot and via Tokyo's clean and efficient rail network. For convenience, each guest will receive a local transport card (known as an IC card) pre-filled with 5,000 JPY. Along with enabling seamless travels, IC cards can also be used at many of Japan's ubiquitous vending machines and colorful conbini (convenience stores).



    There's no better place to begin your introduction to Tokyo than the picturesque grounds of the Imperial Palace, the symbolic heart of the city. While the Palace itself is hidden away from the public, the exterior grounds and photogenic moat (one of the city's best walking and jogging paths) make for one of Tokyo's most appealing and attractive green spaces, and a wonderful subject for photography. From here we'll walk into the heart of neighboring Ginza to explore one of Tokyo's most splendid depachika food halls. Japan's famed depachika are renowned for their gorgeous culinary offerings, and beloved by food lovers and photographers alike. Next we'll walk past Ginza's iconic Kabuki-za Theater en route to nearby Tsukiji, where we'll have the chance to photograph the gritty and historic Tsukiji Outer Market. While wholesale operations have relocated to out-of-theway Toyosu, Tsukiji's atmospheric lanes and generations-old shops remain an essential stop. After lunch, we'll head by rail to Yanaka, one of Tokyo's best-preserved historical districts. The area was mostly spared during the Second World War, and today boasts old-fashioned charm along with contemporary creativity. As we wander through Yanaka's quiet streets, we'll encounter beautiful old buildings, small neighborhood shrines and temples, quaint mom-and-pop shops, and a smattering of tiny cafes and galleries.

    Throughout the trip, Leica Store Miami hosts and our guide will ensure there is plenty of time for unhurried photography, and to break up our explorations we'll enjoy a variety of excellent, casual lunches, along with optional tea and coffee breaks when appropriate.

    Our tour will conclude at 4:00 pm. For those who would like to keep exploring, Yanaka is a short walk away from the bustling Ueno area, home to Ueno Park and the colorful Ameyoko open-air market. The rest of us will head back to the hotel by rail for downtime before dinner. For free time throughout the trip, our guide will be happy to help point you in the right direction, and you can also take advantage of the pre-departure materials we'll provide.



    This evening we'll gather in the lobby at 6:30 pm and head out to a fantastic restaurant near the hotel for our welcome dinner. Tonight we'll get our first taste of the izakaya experience. An izakaya is a lively Japanese restaurant that offers a variety of Japanese dishes (sometimes referred to as "Japanese tapas") complemented by sake in a spirited environment. Eating and drinking at an izakaya is an unforgettable experience, with the chance to sample various delicious dishes and mingle with locals in a relaxed atmosphere.

    After dinner, head back to the hotel or stay out to experience Friday night in Tokyo. Ginza is one of the city's premier nightlife centers, and our guide can help point you in the right direction whether you're seeking whisky, cocktails, sake, or karaoke.

    Meals Included: Lunch and Dinner (plus one welcome drink)
    Hotel: Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo


    Saturday, November 5 -
    Meiji Jingu Shrine, Harajuku, Shibuya

    Enjoy breakfast at the hotel at leisure. At 9:00 am, we'll gather in the lobby for a second full day in Tokyo.

    Setting off from the hotel, we'll travel by rail to the expansive grounds of Meiji Jingu Shrine, one of the city's most spacious and peaceful green spaces. From the imposing wooden torii gate marking the entrance to Meiji Jingu, it is about a 15-minute walk to the shrine itself. This is one of Tokyo's prettiest spots, and a relaxing way to begin our Saturday in the city. From Meiji Jingu, we'll walk into the neighboring Harajuku  neighborhood, where teens are known for expressing themselves through creative, flamboyant style. Passing through Harajuku we'll arrive in the upscale Omotesando and Aoyama neighborhoods, where we'll find a delightful mix of quiet side streets complemented by the most impressive and eye-catching modern architecture in the city. After lunch, we'll  continue to nearby Shibuya, home to Tokyo's famous "scramble" crossing, where huge numbers of pedestrians cross day and night. You'll have time to capture this iconic scene before we proceed to one of the most laid-back neighborhoods in all of Tokyo, Naka-Meguro. As we take a break from the pace of the city, and stroll along the area's picturesque tree-lined canal, you may forget we're in one of the world's largest metropolises.

    Our tour will conclude here at 3:00 pm. For those who would like to keep exploring, our guide will help point the way depending on where you'd like to go. The rest of us will return to our hotel by rail for some downtime before dinner.



    This evening at 6:00 pm we'll meet in the lobby to head by rail to a small and wonderful sushi-ya. While high-quality sushi can now be found in major cities throughout the world, nothing can match the experience of enjoying the real thing in the birthplace of Edomae sushi: Tokyo. We'll be sitting down for an intimate sushi dinner at a charming neighborhood shop.
    During the experience, we'll have the chance to ask the chef questions via our guide (though quiet observation is also a key aspect of dining at a sushi-ya) and enjoy an impeccably prepared meal featuring seasonal specialties.

    After dinner, some may want to venture out to experience the energy of a Saturday night in Tokyo, but also keep in mind that we have a very early start tomorrow morning!

    Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Hotel: Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo


    Sunday, November 6th - Day Trip: Mount Fuji

    You'll never run out of things to see and do in Tokyo, but the city also serves as an ideal jumping-off point for the one-and-only Mount Fuji.

    Our private transport will pick us up from the hotel at 6:00 am as we leave the city bound for the Mount Fuji area (travel time is approximately 2 hours each way). On arrival at around 8:00 am, we’ll be met by our local Fuji expert. Depending on the day's conditions, our local guide will recommend a selection of vantage points designed to give us the best possible chance of getting great shots of this legendary mountain. Please keep in mind that views of Mount Fuji cannot be guaranteed, and Fujisan photography is truly weather-dependent. It is not uncommon for the mountain to be fully obscured by cloud cover, though conditions in fall are typically good on the whole relative to spring and summer.

    After a full day out we'll return to Tokyo, arriving back at our hotel at around 7:00 pm. Dinner this evening is free at your leisure, and your guide and hotel staff can help point you in the right direction depending on what you are craving. Enjoy your final night in Tokyo!

    Meals Included: Breakfast and bento lunch
    Hotel: Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo

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    November 7-9, 2022: Ryokan Hanafubuki
    Set among the trees of a woodland grove, and a short hike from the stunning coastline, Hanafubuki is renowned for its warm service and variety of delightful onsen (hot spring) baths. In addition to relaxing in your traditional Japanese-style room, Hanafubuki offers guests the unique chance to sample several soothing onsen, some open-air, all on a private basis. In the evening, enjoy kaiseki in a Japanese-style room overlooking the lantern-lit trees and pathways of the ryokan.

    Monday, November 7th -
    Journey to Izu Peninsula
    We'll have the early morning free before making the trip by rail into the picturesque Izu Peninsula. This is the perfect chance for any last-minute photographic exploration.

    At 10:00 am we'll head to the massive Tokyo Station by taxi (taxis in Japan are remarkably clean and reliable). Because getting around Japan is much more pleasant when traveling light, we'll be making use of Japan's  fantastic luggage forwarding service to send our main suitcases from our Tokyo hotel all the way to our Kyoto hotel. One regular-sized suitcase
    per person is included. If you have a very compact and light rolling suitcase or backpack, you're welcome to travel with your luggage. However, please bear in mind that while in the countryside you won't need a lot, as much of our time at the ryokan can be enjoyed in the provided yukata robes.

    At 11:00 am we'll board our scenic train to Izu, but before boarding we'll have a chance to pick up bentos. Eating and drinking on the train is a national tradition, and throughout Tokyo Station we'll find culinary delights including an eclectic variety of beautiful seasonal bento boxes.

    It's a smooth trip by express train from Tokyo into lush Izu. On arrival, it's a pleasant walk from the rural station to our traditional ryokan. We'll arrive in good time to settle into our lovely surroundings, relax in our Japanese-style rooms, soak in the healing onsen (hot springs), and tonight enjoy an incredible kaiseki dinner featuring local and seasonal ingredients.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, bento lunch, and dinner
    Ryokan: Hanafubuki

    Tuesday, November 8th - Izu Peninsula, Jogasaki Coast



    In between our explorations of the modern and ancient capitals, we'll have a full day to enjoy the atmosphere and beauty of rural Japan. A day at a traditional ryokan begins with an early-morning soak in the onsen (optional of course). Then it's time for a splendid and slow-paced Japanese breakfast, an experience in and of itself.

    Following a leisurely morning, we'll gather in the lobby at 11:00 am and embark on a walk to the nearby Jogasaki Coast. One of the most beautiful stretches of the Izu Peninsula's coastline, the rugged Jogasaki Coast is renowned for its picturesque cliffs and sweeping ocean views. After a chance to take photographs together, some can continue along the scenic coastal path, while others may choose to walk back to the ryokan.

    Before dinner this evening we'll have the remainder of the day free. A quintessential part of the ryokan experience is slowing down, and we'll have time today to decompress in our rural, Japanese-style surroundings.

    Lunch today is free and there are plenty of options near the ryokan and around the nearby Izu-Kogen Station. However, you may want to eat light as we'll be enjoying another magnificent multi-course dinner this evening!

    Meals Included: Breakfast and dinner
    Ryokan: Hanafubuki

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    November 9-13, 2022: Ace Hotel Kyoto
    Our base in the ancient capital will be the stylish Ace Hotel Kyoto. Boasting the collaboration of Japanese architecture legend Kengo Kuma, the attractive and well-located Ace Hotel Kyoto features lovely design throughout its accommodations, common areas, and dining spaces.


    Wednesday, November 9th - Journey to Kyoto

    We'll have the early morning to enjoy one last traditional breakfast before beginning our journey to Kyoto. At 10:00 am we'll make our way back to the nearby station on foot to catch our first train of the day, an express bound north for Odawara Station. At Odawara we'll have the chance to pick up bentos before boarding our shinkansen (bullet train) headed west to Kyoto.

    On arrival at the bustling Kyoto Station, we'll hop in taxis to our Kyoto hotel. After some time to settle in, we'll gather at 5:00 pm for a brief introduction to Kyoto en route to dinner.

    Kyoto is one of the most culturally rich cities on Earth, and what many travelers envision when picturing Japan. While present day Kyoto is a large, modern city of over a million people, the ancient capital retains a wealth of beautifully preserved historical districts, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and irresistibly charming backstreets where we will stumble upon stunning
    shrines and temples, impeccable gardens, and generations-old shops and restaurants.

    Our walk from the hotel to dinner will take us through the heart of central Kyoto, giving us our first taste of the charms of the ancient capital. For dinner this evening we'll dine at a casual, sophisticated restaurant specializing in seasonal Kyoto cuisine.

    After dinner, continue exploring Kyoto by night or head back to the hotel to relax. Though the nightlife in Kyoto is noticeably quieter than in Tokyo, the city does have some excellent cocktail and other bars, and our guide can help provide recommendations.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, bento lunch, and dinner
    Hotel: Ace Hotel Kyoto



    Thursday, November 10th - Higashiyama, Craftsperson Visit, Gion

    After an early morning at leisure, we'll meet at 10:00 am to explore Kyoto by day.

    We'll begin in the Higashiyama district, east of the Kamogawa River. The Higashiyama is one of Kyoto's most attractive and well-preserved historical districts, and home to a wealth of major sites (including Ninenzaka, Yasaka Pagoda, and Kennin-ji) along with lesser-known gems. Our immersive walk through the Higashiyama will introduce us to a selection of beautiful spots, all connected by picturesque streets and lanes. After lunch, we'll have the unique opportunity to enjoy a behind-the-scenes visit with a master craftsperson. Kyoto is home to some of the country's most highly skilled traditional shokunin (craftspeople), and during this private studio visit we'll get an intimate look at an authentic local craftsperson's private workshop and their incredible work. Finally, we'll proceed to the historic Gion, Kyoto's best-known hanamachi (geisha district). Every November the local geiko and maiko of Gion hold special performances of Gion Odori, traditional dances to celebrate the autumn season. We'll have tickets to the late afternoon performance, which features geisha in magnificent dress and seasonal decor. After the performance, our guide will teach us about the history and reality of geisha (often highly misunderstood) as we stroll together through Gion's picture-perfect streets.



    Our tour will conclude here at 6:00 pm, and following an active day you'll be free for dinner. For those who would like to keep exploring, our guide will help point the way depending on where you'd like to go (Gion can be quite magical in the evening), and we'll also be happy to provide dinner recommendations.

    Meals Included: Breakfast and lunch
    Hotel: Ace Hotel Kyoto

    Friday, November 11th - Fushimi



    This morning we'll meet at 9:00 am, and today we'll also be joined by a local Kyoto-based photographer, who will provide invaluable insight and share some of his favorite spots in the ancient capital.

    We'll begin the day in Fushimi, just south of Kyoto proper. Fushimi is best known for Fushimi Inari Taisha, perhaps the most photographed site in all of Japan. While the lower sections of the shrine are typically packed with tourists, the further you walk up the mountain the more the crowds thin. Regardless of your willingness or ability to ascend, our guide and photographer will do their best to ensure all guests have a chance to gain a unique perspective on this iconic shrine. From Fushimi Inari, we'll
    continue to the nearby Fushimi sake district. As we explore its historic streets, we'll learn how Fushimi became an important sake-producing area, while stopping to taste local nihonshu (sake) along the way. Following our time here, the plan for the remainder of our afternoon will be left flexible in case we get lucky with early autumn foliage. November is typically a
    wonderful time to experience autumn colors, though naturally it varies each year. Depending on the conditions, our guide and photographer will lead us to one or two beautiful areas (even within Kyoto itself, the foliage can be best at different temples or gardens on any given day).



    Our tour will conclude at 4:00 pm, and we'll have the remainder of the afternoon and evening completely at leisure. This is the perfect chance to see, do, or eat anything remaining on your personal wish list, as tomorrow we'll be leaving Kyoto for a day trip.

    Meals Included: Breakfast and lunch
    Hotel: Ace Hotel Kyoto

    Saturday, November 12th - Day Trip: Lake Biwa & Omihachiman



    We'll never run out of things to do in Kyoto, but on weekends Kyoto can get quite busy with tourists, so we'll take advantage of the opportunity to visit one of the region's most unique and photogenic day-trip destinations, Biwako (Lake Biwa).

    After breakfast at the hotel, we'll be picked up at 9:00 am by our private transport for the drive to the historic town of Hikone, home to one of Japan's few remaining original preserved castles (travel time is  approximately 1 hour 15 minutes). Unlike reconstructed castles, Hikone-jo is fascinating inside and out, and we'll have plenty of time to take in the incredible detail, complemented by the surrounding scenery. From Hikone we'll drive south, enjoying some lovely lakeside views of Biwako. Our
    next destination is the charming town of Omihachiman, which boasts a beautifully preserved old town and canal district, the perfect place to stroll and photograph a splendid example of feudal-era Japan.

    At about 3:00 pm we'll begin the drive back to Kyoto to arrive at our hotel by around 4:00 pm, giving us a chance to freshen up before dinner. After meeting in the lobby at 6:00 pm, we'll head out together to enjoy a celebratory farewell dinner at one of our guide's favorite restaurants in Kyoto. Kanpai!

    Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner (plus one farewell drink)
    Hotel: Ace Hotel Kyoto

    Sunday, November 13th - Departure Day



    Our photographic adventures conclude today. For those whose schedules permit, we'll enjoy a final breakfast together at the hotel and say our farewells.

    If you're not planning to extend your stay in Japan and wish to fly out on the 13th, here are some tips. From Kyoto, the nearest international airports are Osaka Itami (ITM) and Osaka Kansai (KIX), both of which are easily accessible from Kyoto by rail, taxi, or private vehicle.

    If you prefer to book a round-trip flight in and out of Tokyo and plan to depart on the 13th, please make sure your international departure from Tokyo is in the evening (or late afternoon at the earliest). From Kyoto, it's about two hours back to central Tokyo via shinkansen (not including the additional time needed to get to your departure airport).

  • Payment

    A $2,995 deposit, along with the single room supplement if you choose it, is due at the time of registration. The balance will be due on August 4, 2022. 

    Withdrawal and Refund Policy

    Enrollment is limited to 10 participants, and once you sign up, we are counting on your attendance. If you need to withdraw from this workshop, please notify us in writing (email is acceptable) as soon as possible. This is our refund policy:

    If you cancel and we find someone to fill your seat, we will refund you the full amount you have paid towards the tuition, minus a $250 service charge. If you cancel and we cannot find someone to fill your seat, then you will be refunded according to the following schedule:

    At least 90 days before the start of the workshop: Full refund minus $250 service fee.
    Between 89 and 60 days before the start of the workshop: 75% refund
    Between 59 and 45 days before the start of the workshop: 50% refund
    Less than 45 days from the start of the workshop: No refund

    Course Cancellation and Other Terms

    Leica Store Miami reserves the right to cancel a reservation if full payment has not been received by 90 days prior to the start of the workshop.
    In the event that this workshop must be canceled due to inadequate enrollment, all fees and deposits will be refunded in full or may be transferred to another workshop within 24 months.

    In the unlikely event of illness, accident or injury to one of the instructors, Leica Store Miami reserves the right to replace that instructor with a comparable instructor.

    Covid-19 Protocols

    Our main priority during our workshops is customer safety. To that end, we will follow all CDC and NIH guidelines (i.e. mask wearing, social distancing, hand hygiene, etc.), as well as any local ordinances for Covid-19 safety during our trips. We will continue to monitor these guidelines as conditions may change over time. 

    Please be aware that most of our destinations require proof of vaccination and/or negative Covid-19 test in order to board your flight. For this reason, and to avoid any unnecessary delays or quarantine, we will require proof of vaccination for all of our attendees. 

    If a participant exhibits Covid-19 symptoms during the trip, we will isolate them from the group and get them medical attention. In this event, our entire group may have to quarantine and we may have to cancel the remainder of the workshop.

    In the event that the CDC or other government agencies have restricted travel at the time of this workshop, we will allow participants to transfer their workshop fee to another workshop or to store credit, or receive a full refund.

    Travel Insurance

    Leica Store Miami is not responsible for cancellations due to medical  or personal emergencies so we highly recommend purchasing travel Insurance. Companies like Travelex and Allianz Global Assistance are reputable but you can choose any vendor you like. Just make sure that they have an A+ rating from the BBB. Travel insurance generally costs 5-7% of your total trip cost. Leica Store Miami is not responsible for reimbursement of non-refundable airline tickets in the event of a workshop cancellation.

    Transfers

    If for any reason you wish to transfer your deposit or workshop fee, please notify us by email. You must register and complete a new workshop within 24 months of the withdrawal. We reserve the right to accept or deny any transfer.

    There are no exceptions to our Cancellation and Transfer Policy.





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