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Feature Articles

Catching cherry blossoms in Japan: A techie's guide

By Kenny Yeo - 25 Feb 2020

Camera recommendations and tips from the HWZ community

4. Take a camera along

Tokyo is a sprawling metropolis with skyscrapers and buildings that stretch out as far as the eye can see.

Japan is an immensely varied country with lots of beautiful sights and scenery. In Tokyo, you have a super modern metropolis with skyscrapers and buildings that stretch out to the horizon; while in Kyoto, you can find countless temples, shrines and gardens. It is truly remarkable and the sights in Japan will make you want to take lots of photos even if you aren’t big on photography.

The Tempozan Ferris Wheel in Osaka is 112 meters tall and was once the tallest ferris wheel in the world.

If you are into Japanese history, Kyoto is the place to visit. This is the Golden Pavilion.

My camera of choice for my trip was the Fujifilm XT-10, which also happens to be the winner of our Tech Award 2016 Best Mid-range Interchangeable Lens Camera category. It’s not the most compact or lightest camera to bring along, but it’s loads of fun to shoot with and it gives really nice photos right out of the box. The photos above were shot with a Fujifilm XT-10.

For camera shooting techniques and important lessons in framing the right shot, you'll also find our award winning article on Travel Photography: In search of old Japan an invaluable source of inspiration.

Himeji Castle is one of the finest castles to visit in Japan.

You don't have to head out to parks to see cherry blossom trees. Many streets within Tokyo are lined with them. This was shot in Shibuya.

Of course, that’s not to say that you cannot take photos with your smartphone. Smartphones today are very capable shooters and I also managed to grab a couple of nice shots with my iPhone 6s (the phone I had when I first wrote this feature). Thinking of upgrading your old phone? We've excellent recommendations for you.

You've far less variables to dabble with when shooting with just your smartphone, but even then, there are techniques and framing considerations to get a great shot and my colleague has great advice in his Travel Photography: Craftsmanship in South Korea article that was pieced together with only a smartphone.

And if you are set on traveling with nothing but your smartphone, here's what you should pack to get the most out of it.


5. Check out our forums!

Need help or detailed information? Head to our Japan sub-forum and ask our members!

Japan is easily one of Singaporean’s most favorite holiday destinations. It’s just seven hours away, which isn’t short, but certainly not as long as a flight to the United States or Europe. Plus, it’s safe and the food is great. As a result, is it any wonder that the Japan sub-forum is one of the most active forums in our community?

If you are going on your own, a great place to start is the “Japan Sample Itinerary thread” where members have shared itineraries for their own trips. And if you want to get the best deal on exchanging Japanese yen, be sure to follow the “Yen Exchange Rate Watch” thread. Want to find out how you can get great views of Japan's iconic Mount Fuji, be sure to hit up the "Mount Fuji" thread where there are tantalizing photos from our members too. But if you have more specific questions or discussions, you can always just start a new thread and ask away. Not a member yet? Registration is free and you get a wealth of knowledge from Singapore's most active community.

Here are some other great threads that I would recommend anyone heading to Japan to have a look.

Check out our entire Japan sub-forum here.


Final Words

Catching a glimpse of Mount Fuji depends very much on the weather and your luck. Here we can see the peak of Mount Fuji peeking out of the clouds.

I hope these tips that I've shared will help you get the most out of your trip to Japan. But above all, remember that you are on holiday and that even the finest plans can sometimes go awry due to unforeseen circumstances. So my final and bonus tip is to just go with the flow and enjoy the cherry blossoms and your time in Japan.

P.S. If you have any comments or questions about visiting Japan, drop me a note at kennyyeo@sph.com.sg.

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