12 photos from offbeat locations in Japan

I recently spent 9 days exploring some of the lesser known locations of Japan. Most of our time was spent in Hokkaido, Kyoto and Kansai. I was quite thrilled to come away with some really nice images, actually more than I expected. I'm definitely more of a "quality over quantity" kind of guy, but I think I found a nice mid ground on this particular trip to Japan.

Hokkaido

As we flew into Hokkaido from Kansai Airport we were greeted with a beautiful dusting of snow. Little did we know this was actually the first snow fall of the season in Hokkaido. What are the odds we'd land the day of their first snow? And we weren't even expecting to see snow at all!

For those unaware, Hokkaido is the northernmost main island of Japan and is also the second largest. This island is home to some amazing national parks filled with mountainous and volcanic landscapes, not to mention some of the most beautiful lakes I've laid eyes on.

Pictured to the right is the unmistakable, irresistible Mashu Lake with it's beautiful deep blue hue. Pictured below was a random roadside river we stopped at on our way to Mashu Lake, looked pretty amazing from the sky! And pictured below that? Well, that's just two adorable deer wondering what on Earth I'm up to!

Ine Bay

Ine Bay is located in northern Kyoto, about 15km North of the closest small town, Amanohashidate (still can't pronounce that name correctly). This little town on the water is actually a fishing village as is apparently one of the most picturesque villages in all of Japan! I like to think of it as the Venice of Japan.

Bamboo Forests

There's certainly no shortage when it comes to bamboo in Japan, that's for sure! One of the more popular gatherings of bamboo is at the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, in Kyoto. No doubt you've seen photos from there before? Well, we got there at sunrise, and let me tell you, that still wasn't early enough! Whilst it was next to impossible to get a clean shot without any tourists obscuring the frame, I opted for a classic 'lookup' shot - I think it turned out ok? However, we were lucky enough to explore one more bamboo forest in the outskirts of Kyoto, where I was able to capture another bamboo shot, this time featuring Jewels Lynch.

Hidden Gems

Whilst there were several places we visited during our time in Japan that were obviously incredibly beautiful and worthy of a photo (did someone say Hokkaido?), sometimes it's the simple, non-touristy scenes that require the most attention, photographically speaking. There were several of these scenes I captured on our trip, scenes that you can't find from a lookout or observation platform.

Okay, so that last image isn't a exactly a hidden gem, but I had to throw it in there! I actually had a view of this castle (Osaka Castle) from my hotel room in, you guessed it - Osaka! Certainly didn't get sick of waking up to that view.

And there you have it, guys - my trip to Japan! 9 days, 12 photographs and a lifetime of memories. This was my second time visiting Japan and I'm CERTAIN it won't be my last. These trips are often difficult to photograph as the itineraries aren't necessarily catered towards photographers (or at least nature based photographers), so I think a solo trip is in order to truly do this amazing country justice.

If you have any questions about Japan, or my images, please leave them in the comments below :) Thanks for reading, guys!