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Why Japan Is A Photographer's Paradise

Japanese landscape

Japan. The home of sushi, cherry blossoms, pokemon and kabuki baths. Often recognised as one of the most innovative places in the world, it’s home to a fascinating culture and history that is palpable no matter where in the country you go. There’s so much to talk about and so little time to talk about it. 

So we’re not going to. 

Yep, that’s right. Instead of going into everything that makes Japan great, we’re going to be focusing on something very simple: the scenery. That may sound like a bit of a cop out; looking entirely at the aesthetics of this country, rather than the more substantial attributes it has to offer. But actually, we don’t believe it is. 

So much of what makes Japan great exists in its natural landscapes, ancient locations and buzzing metropolitan streets. For any photographer that is worth their salt, photography is all about capturing stories; scenes that are so much more than something “pretty” to look at. 

You won’t find anywhere better to do that than Japan. In this country, an entire page of history can be found in a single cherry blossom, or a farm on the outskirts of Sapporo. These are not just illustrations to Japan’s story, they are the stories themselves. 

A photography trip, encapsulated beautifully in a Facebook and Instagram photo book at the end of it, can be an education in itself. A picture speaks a thousand words, after all, and with Japan, it can speak about a million. 

A Blend Of Modernism And Traditionalism

One of the reasons Japan is such a paradise for photographers is the blend of modernism and traditionalism. This can be seen outside of cities like Tokyo and Kyoto. One moment, you’re in a suburban maze, complete with bright lights, bustling streets and loud markets. The next, you’re in nature’s silence. 

The scenery stretches out in front of you, untouched and untarnished. A mountain looms in the background, just beside a long, open field with a handful of farmers at work. This is the kind of variety that photographers dream of, and it says so much about the attitudes in Japan.

Innovation is at the heart of things, of course, but there is a respect for nature and traditionalism. Japan – perhaps better than any other country – has found a way to allow traditionalism and modernism to coincide, to the point where they are literally side by side, and yet untouched by each other. 

For a photographer, it’s hard to capture two completely different scenes in the same day, yet alone in the same hour. With Japan, however, it is entirely doable. And both scenes say exactly the same thing about the country’s heart and values. If that’s not enough to go there and immortalise your work with our photo book maker, we don’t know what is.

A Timeless Culture

Speaking of modernism and traditionalism, in the same vein, it’s important to point out how the culture of Japan has never withdrawn into the background. Indeed, this culture can be snapped almost anywhere in the country. 

As mentioned before, Japan is known as a technological marvel in 2023, with innovation at its heart and the desire to develop stronger than anywhere else. But it is also one of the most peaceful countries in the world, historically known as a place for tranquillity, peace, and calmness. 

How could the two possibly coexist? Surely one has died and the other has taken its place? 

Well, both survive and both coexist. There are a number of beautiful, culturally significant spots throughout Japan. The shrines of Nikko, the monuments of Ancient Nara, the fields of Yakushima. All of these exist alongside metropolitan havens. Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka. 

Some of them even exist inside the cities themselves. Japan has managed to entwine these personality traits into one, distinguished culture. 

Everything, Everywhere, All At Once

The paradise for a photographer, then, comes not only in getting a mesh of modernism and traditionalism, but being able to capture an intense, vivid look at the real Japan. 

To give an example of why this is special, let’s look at London. There are many reasons why London is such a photogenic city to visit, but so often, other people who have been there will say: “don’t go if you want a real indication of England. London is just a big, touristy city, it won’t give you an idea of what the country is all about”. 

Well, with Japan, that would never be said. Whether you’re in the big city or out in the middle of nowhere, you are always getting a true indication of its society and lifestyle. The culture is – to put it in simple terms – everything, everywhere, all at once. 

This also makes photographing that culture so much easier than anywhere else in the world. It is all interlinked, all culturally relevant, and all beautiful. That’s what makes Japan a true photographer's paradise.


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