Japan Photo Workshops & Tokyo Photo Tours

PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP LOCATIONS – Tokyo, Nagano, Matsumoto, Tsumago, and Kyoto

International travel photographer and workshop instructor Mark Hemmings is ready for his annual one week Japan photography workshop and tour, scheduled for  February 2 to February 8, 2020. We will also be photographing the world famous Japanese Snow Monkeys in Nagano.

Message from professional photographer Mark Hemmings: “The country of Japan is a really hot destination now. In fact, the World Economic Forum gave Japan the very high ranking of fourth out of thirty countries for travel and tourism competitiveness, trailing only Spain, France, and Germany.

I don’t want you to miss out on Japan. What it offers for food, nature, cities, architecture, wildlife, and especially my favorite . . . photography! That’s why I’m inviting you to the Japan trip of a lifetime.

Since 2005 I’ve been leading photography workshops and tours throughout Japan, and this coming year is no exception. My job is two-fold . . . to teach you photography, AND to introduce you to one of the most intriguing countries and cultures in the world.

What better place to learn street, architecture, and urban photography than Tokyo? It’s hard to beat Nagano for mastering landscape, nature and wildlife photography, and where else in the world can you step back in time and witness the unique natural and cultural gems of Kyoto?

The Japan Photo Tour is meant for photographers of all skill levels and all types of cameras. Whether you’re a beginner or pro, whether you have a ten thousand dollar camera or an iPhone, YOU are well positioned to receive maximum technical and artistic skills by joining the Japan Photo Tour.

But this isn’t just any photo tour that chooses low end hotels and transportation methods . . . The Japan photo Tour is my premium photography workshop that stays in high-end hotels and traditional inns, uses the famously fast Japanese bullet trains to explore the country, and makes full use of Japan’s famous culinary arts.

Japan is a land of mystery and beauty, and I believe it’s now time for you to visit and photograph this magical country. And as I’ve been a photography workshop instructor for so many years now, I am thrilled to pass along my two decades worth of professional photographic knowledge to you during this trip.

Because I like to keep this photography tour small, there are very limited spaces remaining, so contact me right away to get more sign-up information. I am quite certain that you will LOVE Japan, and come back home with a wealth of amazing photographs, a new passion for photography, and a strange fascination for the most chilled out and relaxed animals on earth . . . the world famous Japanese snow monkeys! Living your entire life soaking in natural hot spring water? Nice!!!

My name is Mark Hemmings, an internationally recognized professional photographer, and I cordially welcome you to the Japan Photo Tour. I hope to see you in Tokyo!”

Please view the Japan Photo Tour & Workshop video below to get an idea of what you may encounter on this photography trip. Please keep in mind that this was the 2017 photo workshop promo video, and the 2020 schedule is slightly different. Please scroll down on this page for the accurate 2020 itinerary.


The one week workshop includes all meals, all subways and taxis, all accommodations, all teaching time, and all admission fees. Exceptions are mid-meals snacks/drinks/alcoholic beverages, and return airfare from your home city to Tokyo Narita or Haneda airport. This all-inclusive full package is $4,950 USD for a double occupancy room. For single occupancy, please add $400 USD.

Please contact Mark for further details about this workshop: mark@markhemmings.com (FaceTime enabled). Also, CBS News did a report on the Japan Photo Tours, specifically the visits to the Snow Monkeys. Press play on the video below to watch the episode.

“Snow Monkeys” (CBS Sunday Morning, Feb 2016) from Randy Schmidt on Vimeo.


Since 2005 Mark Hemmings has been leading photography enthusiasts throughout Japan, taking them on an enlightening tour of a visually and aesthetically rich country.

DAY 1 – Most international flights arrive at Narita Airport around 5pm, and similar times at Tokyo Haneda airport. Feel free to choose either Haneda or Narita airport. If you arrive in Japan today, you will be picked up at the airport by Mark or one of his associates and delivered to the workshop hotel. If you arrive in Japan earlier than today you will be asked to purchase your own bus or train ticket to Shinjuku, Tokyo. This transfer into Tokyo is quite easy, and Mark can give you full instructions. When we are gathered as a group at our hotel we will go out for our first dinner, and discuss the exciting week that lies ahead of us! After dinner we will practice night street photography in Shinjuku.

DAY 2 – This morning is our day of exploring the fascinating sub-cities of Tokyo, traveling along the Yamanote train line. We will be learning about architectural photography, urban/street photography, and techniques for great travel photos. The Yamanote line is a huge circle around Tokyo. Some locations that we will visit and photograph are Ueno, Akihabara, Tokyo station area, Yurakucho, Shibuya, Harajuku, and back to our home base of Shinjuku. Our breakfast will be at the hotel, and then our lunch and dinner will be at restaurants along the train line.

DAY 3 – After  breakfast we will get on the famously fast and comfortable Japanese bullet train (Shinkansen) for our journey to Nagano. For those on the February 2nd tour we will break up the trip by stopping at Ueda City to have lunch at a fantastic traditional Japanese restaurant, then re-board the bullet train to arrive in Nagano city mid-afternoon. For those on the January 19th tour we will go directly to Nagano Station. After a coffee break at Nagano Station we will then board a mountain train for our final destination in the mountainous Shiga Kogen region of Nagano. We will be staying in a beautiful and authentic traditional inn called a ryokan. For those who like natural hot springs, there are plenty in this village and in the inn. After our traditional multi-course Japanese dinner we are free to soak in the public hot springs throughout the village, or in the traditional inn’s own natural hotspring baths. There’s nothing quite like soaking in hot water with snow falling on your head!

DAY 4 – After breakfast at our inn we will go for a wonderful hike into the mountains to photograph the world famous Japanese Snow Monkeys. The path that we take into the mountains is all uphill, but at a slight incline so it is not too strenuous. Please pack a pair of water resistant hiking shoes as there will possibly be a lot of snow in the mountains. For those on the January 19th tour, this mountain hike to see the snow monkeys is optional. After our snow monkey photography adventure we will have a late lunch at a local cafe, and then those who are on the February 2nd tour will head back to Nagano Station to get a train to Matsumoto. We will stay overnight in a traditional Japanese inn and photograph the historic Matsumoto Castle. For those on the more relaxed-pace January 19th tour, we will be staying one more night in the traditional inn.

DAY 5 – After breakfast at our traditional inn we will get back on the train and go straight to Kyoto. We will spend our evening in the Gion district, looking to photograph Geisha as they go from tea-house to tea-house.

DAY 6 – Today is our full day in Kyoto, exploring the many photogenic sites that make it a world-class destination. Mark has many great locations to visit and photograph, and the list will be given out to the participants when a long-range weather forecast is available.

DAY 7 – Mark will be taking everyone back to Tokyo today for their flights home. If you are staying in Japan longer, Mark will make sure you get off the bullet train at the appropriate station while the rest of us continue on to either Tokyo Haneda or Narita Airport. Thank you for joining the Japan Photo Tour!


If you would prefer a private photo tour, we have the answer for you!

Tokyo Photography Tours with Jeff Austin