Anyone in Japan?

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by gbenaim, Jul 2, 2006.

  1. gbenaim

    gbenaim Member

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    Hello,

    My wife and I are thinking of spending a couple of months living, traveling and photographing in Japan, probably this Fall. I shoot MF and LF, and we were thinking of renting a place in Kyoto and traveling around while based there. So, I was wondering if there are any APUG folk who are currently living in Japan, or have done something similar, and who can reccomend a good way of finding a place in advance and dealing with photo-related travel. Are there any rentable darkrooms in Kyoto, for example (B&W), and are there any restrictions on, or permits required to shoot within temple grounds, etc. What kinds of problems is a first time visitor to Japan not likely to think of ahead of time, especially as related to photography? I'm thinking of bringing along quite a bit of film and gear, hoping there aren't any restrictions. Anyway, thanks in advance for any help,

    GB
     
  2. meltronic

    meltronic Member

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    GB, I'm living in Osaka (45 minutes from Kyoto). I agree that Kyoto is the place to be if you're just visiting. But I only know of one rental darkroom, and that's in Osaka. It can accomodate up to 4x5. The owner speaks enough English to get you set up, and he's a really nice guy. Let me know if you're interested. I'm happy to help you find the place, as it's not that easy.

    I've never come across any prohibitions for photographing in temple or shrine grounds. You should be fine.

    As far as I can tell, there are just four of us Japan APUG folks. We're getting together next week.

    By the way, Autumn is the best time to visit, in my opinion. October and November are just beautiful in Kyoto. November is when the maples start to turn.

    Sorry I don't have any special tips for photographers, except that LF film seems to be more expensive here and in limited selection, so if you're going to shoot a lot and you don't want to risk the security inspection at the airport, you might consider shipping some over to your hotel.

    Let me know if I can be of any assistance.

    Yours,
    Matt
     
  3. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I live about 2 hours away from Kyoto (by a local train) and frequently go there with/without my camera. If you have 2 months, you have plenty of time to visit other historical places in the region, Nara and Mt. Koya, where those who don't have that much time don't even consider.

    Your tourist guildbook probably tells you about these place as well.

    In Kyoto, the only thing you need to watch out is the cash operation. Most ATMs don't have an English language option (but in Spanish, yes) in the menu. Also, many local banks don't seem to deal with any foreign banks. Using credit card is another matter, but in most cases there's no problem.

    It's very odd to find this tourist mecca (and actually a mid-size city) is like this.

    However, I find Kyoto is the only Japanese city where I feel comfortable taking pictures of people in the street. That's well understood.
     
  4. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Bring enough film (of your favorite kind) with you. I don't know if there's any big camera store in Kyoto. The only photo store I know carries only a small portion of film and not particularly cheap.
     
  5. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Why not South Korea? It is cheaper.
     
  6. meltronic

    meltronic Member

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    Perhaps, but it's not a cheap version of Japan. They want to come to Japan.
     
  7. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I've been to both, I'd go back to South Korea tomorrow, I'll never go back to Japan.
     
  8. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    There are a lot of attractions in Japan, some of which are the miniture replicas of foreign objects such as the statute of liberty, Italian villege, Spanish-theme park, etc. But none of them are cheap to enter, and they are pretty crappy. But they are not in Kyoto. Thank god!

    I've googled for the darkroom(s) in Kyoto in Japanese but never caught anything except for one old news article about a guy who was running an eco-friendly rental darkroom back in 2000. But the name doesn't get picked up, so I'm assuming it's gone.

    Meanwhile I've found a NPO place that runs a photo workshop etc, and I belive it has a darkroom in its facilty according to the flyer. So, I've sent an email to see if the darkroom there is available for visitors or not. I'm still waiting on the reply, which may take days for someone to get back to me, though.

    One thing I know is that there are many universites and colleges in Kyoto that have photo major and/or photo-related programs. I've seen some photos of their darkrooms before and spoken to a few students who were going to those schools. But again I don't know if they are open for the general public, which I doubt they are.

    I'll do some more research on my coffee break.
     
  9. gbenaim

    gbenaim Member

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    Thanks for all your help, everyone. The only major element I'm still working on is getting a place in advance, so if anyone can help out with that I'd really appreciate it.
     
  10. gbenaim

    gbenaim Member

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    Those of you living there now, how did you manage to rent a place? I've heard foreigners have to go through agencies for Gaijjin housing. Is there anyone you'd reccomend in particular? Which parts of Kyoto would you reccomend especially, or are there any areas I should definitely avoid?
     
  11. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I'm no gaijin here, and I don't know what the situation is for the foreign tourists. But what's common for a temporary stay is perhaps to rent one of the monthly or weekly/bi-weekly "mansions" apartments. The world "mansion" doesn't mean anything other than a rabit hole. Business people (mostly Japanese, though) love these apartments because they are usually furnished and internet-ready. I think all you need is a credit card and a copy of your passport. It's like renting a car, I think. I could be wrong.

    The city of Kyoto is small enough (reminds me of Philadelphia) so that you can pretty much stay anywhere and walk around.