Hello and welcome, or welcome back, to my blog site. For those of you that have been playing along at home, you may recall a couple of recent articles where I hinted at the possibility of organising a photography tour in Japan. An idea that was presented to me by a couple of my close friends over dinner a couple of weeks back. I was surprised by their encouragement and assurances that there were people in our photography community that would be keen to have me lead a Japan tour. By community, I am referring to the Fuji X Aus photography group that I am a part of. I don’t think that the FXA group would actually endorse the tour for liability reasons. But it is something I would be more than happy to organise.
Regardless, the idea is something that I have toyed with in the past but I guess I was not in the right headspace to take it seriously. Now, however, I am doing great and am much more enthusiastic about life in general. Since my friends brought up the topic of me leading a Japan photography tour, the idea is growing on me. And the more I contemplate it the more I see just how possible and exciting it would be. Keep in mind that I have absolutely no idea about organising a group trip. Let’s just get that out there. But, people don’t know about anything until they take the time to learn and research and put it to practice. See that is my new mindset talking – in the past I would have shut down this idea at the onset!
There are a lot of questions floating around in my head and this new blog series allows me to address many of those questions. Here is a little snippet of my thought process:
“Do I book the flights for everyone or do they book them? Who is the everyone anyway and how do I get them interested? Once interested, do they get a say in where we go or do I map out the itinerary? Speaking of the itinerary, where should we go and what should we see? While there, where will we stay and do I book everyone’s accommodation? Do we make our own way around or do I book shuttle bus tours? How do I book busses in Japan? Do I get a travel agent involved or can I do this all on my own? Speaking of me, do I need to take out insurance to ensure I am not personally held liable for issues? Where do I even start? ”
As you can see, there is a lot going on in my big old head. Of course, there are a lot of issues that can be quickly addressed. The first is the destination. For the first tour, I am going to make the destination Tokyo – hence the title of this blog post. Tokyo is my favourite city in Japan and is probably the most accessible in terms of flights in and out. The public transport options are also ample and very easy to access. Plus, Tokyo is the biggest city in the world so there is a lot to see and experience. As I have discovered and shared here with you all, the photographic opportunities are endless. And that is what is at the heart of this tour – a group of photographers getting some amazing opportunities to capture great images. I will cover transport and locations within Tokyo in more detail. I will also cover accommodation options and lots more – so stay tuned for that update.
Over the coming weeks and months, I will be researching and writing about a number of important Tokyo Tour topics. Here is a little brainstormed list I created just before I sat down to write this blog:
- First thoughts for Tokyo Tour – this blog here
- Booking flights for a group versus individual responsibilities
- Public versus private transport options
- Destinations, locations and attractions that are best suited to photographers
- Best time of year to travel considering the weather and local events
- Accommodation and booking for a group
- Japan’s expectations on the group tours
- Creating an itinerary to suit all – one that keeps us on the move but also has flexibility for the unexpected.
- Where to eat as a group and ensure that eating in Japan is a highlight
- Security, insurance and emergency response considerations
- Creating tour merchandise so people have a unique experience
- Who goes and who stays – what if I have a big response?
- Pulling it all together without the cost commitment
- Making it happen – once COVID is done with the world
I am super excited to begin this journey with you here and also with potential participants. There is a lot to learn and a lot to contend with but I don’t see why I cannot make this happen. Of course, the elephant in the room that needs to be discussed is Covid-19 and the impact it has had on travel. So far, in a word, devastating! There are so many unknowns about the future of travel that it could make your head spin. How will international flights look in the future and will they be affordable? Will quarantine periods at each end of travel be mandatory? How will the size of a tour group be impacted by any of these issues? As you can see, there is a lot that is outside of my control right now. Regardless, I intend to chip away at what IS in my control.
For now, I am going to use the time available to do a lot of research and prepare a strategy to make my first Tokyo Tour a success. For now, it costs me nothing but time and let’s be honest, I love researching Japan travel. I will be exploring many of the questions above and presenting here various stages in the process. If you have any ideas about group travel and especially in Japan then please leave a comment. I look forward to exploring this idea a lot further and will do what I can to share that process with you here. Happy shooting. Happy travels. G