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With staggering landscapes and ancient cultural practices alongside polished metropolitan centres, photography enthusiasts certainly aren’t short of inspiration in Japan.
Photography tour in Japan: Hiroshima Prefecture
As the home of well-preserved Edo towns; traditional industries; a picture-perfect island; and important, although tragic, history; Hiroshima Prefecture draws together many of Japan’s most fascinating dichotomies.
In October we arranged a tour for a group of photographers from the Melbourne Camera Club to bring the prefecture to life from behind the lens, setting up photo shoots at the fishing port of Tomonoura, little-visited Joge, sacred Miyajima Island and Hiroshima City.
Uninhabited islets, a pier that stretches into the sea, and quaint Edo period streets make the atmospheric port town of Tomonoura the thing of postcards. It’s also a filmic muse having featured as a backdrop of blockbuster film The Wolverine and inspiration for Ghibli classic Ponyo.
After spending the day shooting the harbour and the town beyond (with cameras rather than international film crews and Hollywood stars) the club spent the night on the picturesque tiny island of Sensuijima, a short ferry ride away.
While online searches don’t shed much light on the small town of Joge these days, during the Edo period (1603-1868) it was an important financial centre. This unassuming corner of Hiroshima Prefecture still has some very interesting residents. We arranged photo shoots with various locals to understand the culture and practices here today, finding that some may be unchanged from Joge’s Edo period heyday.
“Joge is a fascinating village northeast of Hiroshima, dating back to the Edo period. The faces of this delightful, and very welcoming old couple were filled with character and I knew they had been through a lot together over the years. When he slipped his weathered hand in hers and she gave it a comforting little squeeze I knew that was the photo I really wanted. I quickly reframed and pressed the button.”
To most international visitors, Hiroshima Prefecture is best known for the tragic aftermath of an atomic bomb which devastated the city during WWII. No visit would be complete without spending time at the Peace Memorial Park and the accompanying museum. The group had a guided tour of both arranged by a non-profit organisation that supports the hibakusha – literally “explosion-affected people” – and their families.
Last but certainly not least, the group took a boat to the island of Miyajima – the jewel in Hiroshima Prefecture’s crown – where the Itsukushima shrine’s huge vermilion torii gate appears to float atop the waters of the Seto Inland Sea. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site deemed one of the ‘Three Views of Japan’ this impressive island is just waiting for a team of keen photographers.
Our tour was led by Everett Kennedy Brown. A photographer working in Japan for the past 25 years, Everett’s work has appeared in most global media including National Geography, Geo, Time, Newsweek, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, The Times and the New York Times.
Until late 2012 Everett was the Regional Chief Photographer for the European Press Agency (EPA) in Tokyo, a position which he had held for 10 years. Now as a tour leader Everett hopes to share his vision of the deep currents of Japanese culture that he encounters on his travels across the archipelago.
The group was also accompanied by Junko Okimoto, a tea ceremony instructor and master of ikebana and French style flower arrangement. Junko is also an expert on kimono culture and was available as a model during the trip.
For more details about a photography tour in Japan, please get in touch with our team.