japan drone

Kuno Pottery for Zeiss

Tokyo based photographer Irwin Wong has spent a lot of time chronicling traditional Japanese artisans. He has produced several videos for German lensmaker Zeiss documenting these subjects.

We got to tag along to one of his shoots recently, and provide some establishing shots in the beautiful old town of Kasama in Ibaraki, where he tells the story of a dynasty of potters.

The skill and dedication of this craftswoman is incredibly apparent in this beautifully shot video, so please check it out below!

Congratulations Lewis and Aika! 

Earlier this summer, I attended an old friend's wedding out in Chiba.

It was held at a lush forest campsite, on a lovely sunny day. Although I was a guest of the wedding and not working, I brought along one of our drones and did a few short flights in the afternoon and at dusk.

You can see all the guests enjoying themselves as the shadows lengthen and the fairy lights come on.

Congratulations Lewis and Aika on a beautiful wedding!

日本語のブログはここです。

Nagahama Castle, Mishimaike, Mukainokura

As I mentioned last week, I recently spent a few days in Shiga Prefecture.

When I first arrived in Japan about 10 years ago, I lived in the beautiful town on Nagahama, so I have very fond, nostalgic memories of this place.

It was an absolute pleasure to fly the drone near Nagahama castle, taking in the cherry blossoms around the Hokoen park, right on the edge of Lake Biwa. I used to live right by this area, so it was wonderful to see such familiar sights from a completely new perspective.

After a beautiful sunrise, I made my way for the nearby Mishimaike, a famous garden and pond with traditional old bridges and stone lanterns, with Mt Ibuki as its backdrop. I had to fly cautiously as a passing school group scared a large group of ducks into flight.

Finally, for something a bit different, I made my way to the abandoned town of Mukainokura, nestled in the hills near the city of Hikone. My friend Florian first told me about this place, and I first visited it years ago for a photoshoot (see images below).

It was nice to return to the village and the adjacent shrine, it’s very peaceful there among the ruins. Not much had changed in the 3 or 4 years since I was last there, as the buildings are slowly swallowed back up into the earth.

Check out the video below to see some of these flights near Nagahama Castle, Mishimaike and Mukainokura.

日本語のブログはここです。

Torahime, Shiga-ken

Following the bloom of the sakura, I stopped by the beautiful small town of Torahime in Shiga, Japan. It's full of rice fields, rivers, sudden hills dotted with shrines, and is bordered by both mountains and Biwako, Japan's largest freshwater lake. 

Torahime

In this part of the country it's not uncommon to see the quaint 2-4 car train carriages, although timing their passing is tough as they only go by every 30 minutes or so, a far cry from the incessant arrivals and departures on Tokyo train tracks.

Torahime2

The weather was unfortunately quite hazy, and the plant life still quite brown, but cherry blossoms tend to lift even the dreariest of surroundings. There's a particularly lovely quiet avenue of sakura along Anegawa, with a view towards Mt Ibuki.