Everyone who's visited Nikko in Japan knows that it is a fantastic destination. Of course, the World Heritage Area is one of those places you can't miss, but the fact that most of the travelers do not know about Senjogahara, Hangetsuyama, Suginamiki, Kirifuri, Kinugawa, etc., is fascinating me.
When we decided to move to Japan, I knew from the beginning that I would be offering photo excursion in Nikko. It was clear in my mind that I would have to share my knowledge of the area and help travelers to get the best out of their trip. I needed to show them those other places outside Toshogu!
I've been guiding photography excursion for about a year now, and today I am sharing six things I have learned since it all started.
You can't expect everyone to be at the same level.
So far, most of my clients were either advance photographers who needed someone to take them to specific areas while the other type of people were pure photography amateurs who understood that a photo excursion would make it easier to take better photos during their trip. This reality helped me to become more versatile, and it makes the expedition much more fun for me as a guide.
Physical fitness can be an issue.
Nikko's elevation is quite high compared to Tokyo or any other sea-level city. The best photo spots aren't always the closest ones, and sometimes going for a small hike to reach an excellent point of view isn't as simple it should be.
We do not see the same thing.
I love to share my favorite spots with my customers. We all have a different perception, and I find it quite lovely to see how people work on their picture in places I often go.
Time is important.
Advance photographers tend to take more time on one specific spot than a beginner. Once I figured out what kind of photographer my customers are, I always try to adjust the schedule in a way to accommodate my customers. Time is an important factor!
Leave space in your schedule for unexpected events.
You can't plan for the unplannable! I'll end it up here...
Being a gaikokujin is a tool.
For some people, hiring a guide/fixer who isn't native from an area might seem like a wrong decision; it isn't the case. Someone once told me that the fact that I am a foreigner makes it somehow interesting because they get to know information and stories from someone in a similar situation.