Category Archives: Photography

Stu Gibson Photo Exhibition @ Cafe Foodelica; January 15th – 25th

Our friends at Cafe Foodelica will be hosting an exhibition of Scottish photographer Stu Gibson’s Kyoto images from January 15th to the 25th.


Here’s the schedule of special events:
17th January from 7pm: Stu Gibson Solo Photo Exhibit Opening Party
24th January from 5pm: Stu Gibson Solo Photo Exhibit Meet the Artist event.

Cafe Foodelica is situated near Shugakuin station. Here is a MAP.

For more images of closely observed Kyoto, check out Stu Gibson’s portfolio here: Life Through A Lens.

Whisper of the Land – Visions of Japan: Ed Levinson Talk & Book Signing

Here’s an upcoming event of interest hosted by Cafe Foodelica.


Edward Levinson is an American photographer and writer living in Japan for 35 years. He will be speaking about his approach to photography, writing, and life with visual examples and readings from his new book of essays “Whisper of the Land”. The talk will be mainly in English with a little Japanese as necessary. Signed copies of his books will be available for purchase.

Date & Time: Sunday December 14th 16:00–18:00
Admission: ¥1000, including coffee or tea and snack.
RSVP to 075-703-5203 or foodelica[at] by December 13th, 8pm please.

ed pic

Daijoubu! Photography & Kansai’s International Portrait Project

kansai-int-projectsmallA message from Javier Montaño of Daijoubu! Photography:

Are you a foreigner living in Japan? Would you like to have a professional take your portrait for free? Then this may be your chance. Three people from Kansai will be selected based on an interesting photo idea they submit.

Just imagine a place where you would like your photo taken, decide what kind of clothes you would wear in the atmosphere of your choice. If you are selected we will work it out to make your dream a reality.

All you have to do is send your information and explain your concept in 50 words or less by using the form at the end of this page. The better the idea the greater the chance to win!

Submissions will be accepted until July 31, 2014. The winners will have their portraits taken somewhere between August and October.

For full details and an application form please visit

Honke Owariya with Sean Lotman

2014-06-15 15.25.25 (Medium)
On Sunday Mewby and I had the pleasure of lunch with writer/photographer Sean Lotman. Sean’s wife manages the Honke Owariya soba noodle business, a family company which is pretty famous in Kyoto.  The business actually dates from 1465, though they “only” started making noodles Sean told me about 300 or 400 years ago, as they were originally a confectionary business.  They still make confectionary but it is the noodles that have made it famous. We met up with Sean at the main branch of Honke Owariya, a delightful old traditional Kyoto building for a stimulating lunch of hearty food and good conversation in beautiful surrounds. Continue reading

The 3rd Kyoto Photo Walk – June 1st at Nanzen-ji

Photo Walk

By popular demand the third Kyoto Photo Walk will take place on Sunday June 1st at Nanzen-ji. It’s a good opportunity to socialize and pick-up some tips on how to shoot…

Time: 3-6pm
Meet-up: Keage Station (Tozai Line) entrance at 3pm
Bring: A camera or even just an i-phone.

All welcome!
For more details please check the Daijobu! Photography page on Facebook:

Hibiku: A Photographic Experiment at Cafe Foodelica, Kyoto; April 17th – May 11th 2014

14 artists. 28 images. 8 nationalities. Anonymous ‘seed’ photos are met with visual responses. A strange amalgam ensues.


The Hibiku 響 photo exhibition opened at Cafe Foodelica in Shugakuin, Kyoto on Thursday April 17th and continues until Sunday May 11th inclusive. Admission is free, though guests are requested to sample some of the Cafe’s fantastic food & drinks.
The opening party is on April 19th (Saturday) from 7pm – 10pm (last food order 9pm),  and the Meet the Artists night is on the following Saturday (26th) from 6.30 – 10pm. All welcome.
Location: Cafe Foodelica is easy to find, just a short walk West from the junction of Kitayama and Kitashitakawa streets in Shugakuin. Alternatively, walk East from Shugakuin station on the Eiden line, for just two minutes. Look for the red door. If you are coming by bus (#5, 北8) get off at Shugakuinmichi.
Here is a MAP.

From the Hibiku blog:

‘Seed and Response’
The process of creating the exhibit was integral to the project. We all selected ‘seed’ photographs, taken by ourselves, and placed them in untitled brown envelopes, shuffled them up, and received them at random from the pile. It then became our task to respond to those images photographically. When we come to hang the show in April, the seed and response images will be displayed alongside each other, with some textual comment on how and why we responded as we did. we were inspired to do this, to some degree, by poetry and the ‘call-response’ and ‘renga linked poetry’ genres, and a strong desire to explore new avenues of creativity.


See also:

The Ryōzen Kannon, Kyoto, 1958

…suppose there are immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of living beings who are undergoing various trials and suffering. If they hear of this Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Word’s Sounds and single-mindedly call his name, then at once he will perceive the sound of their voices and they will all gain deliverance from their trials. If someone, holding fast to the name of bodhisattva perceiver of the world’s sounds, should enter a great fire, the fire could not burn him. This would come about because of this bodhisattva’s authority and supernatural power. If one were washed away by a great flood and call upon his name, one would immediately find himself in a shallow place… – from the Lotus Sutra Chapter 25 translated by Burton Watson

Buddhist goddess of Mercy Statue in Kyoto, Japan on May 11, 1958, after the unveiling of a memorial to Allied dead of World War II on June 8.

“Some 50 colorfully-garbed Buddhist monks march from the Buddhist goddess of Mercy Statue in Kyoto, Japan on May 11, 1958, after the unveiling of a memorial to Allied dead of World War II on June 8. A white marble tablet, honoring more than 48,000 soldiers who died fighting against Japan, was uncovered in base of the 80-foot-high statue. The Buddha is dedicated to the more than one million Japanese who perished in the war.” (AP Photo)

I found the picture above in a collection of fascinating photographs showing life in 1950s Japan at The Atlantic: It seemed like a timely discovery. Continue reading

Kyotographie: International Photography Festival 2014

“The KYOTOGRAPHIE International Photography Festival blossoms in Kyoto for its second year in April 2014…during the height of Kyotoʼs booming tourist season. The festival celebrates art and culture, bringing a distinct dimension to the historic city. KYOTOGRAPHIE creates opportunities and events that bring people together of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds. Situated in Kyotoʼs world-class atmosphere KYOTOGRAPHIE unites ancient history and contemporary art.”

Photo by Tim Flach

Photo by Tim Flach

This year’s Kyotographie photography fesitval runs for four weeks from April 19th to May 18th. Check the website to view the artists involved and the calendar of public programs!

Kyoto: the forest within the gate

Here is a new book project from the team behind Kyoto Journal.


The ancient capital of Japan in images and writings

Resting on the earth
who needs satori or faith?
Embrace what holds you! Continue reading

Exploring Kyoto with the Ricoh Theta

Click on the images displayed below to view them in fully immersive 360 degrees.

Having played with my little Ricoh Theta camera for about a week now, I think it’s time for a wee review with some example shots to give you an idea of it’s potential. First though a few words on how it works. The camera has a double fish-eye lens that takes a simultaneous 360 degree shot of your surroundings, up, down, every which way and fully immersive. A simple set-up and you can connect the camera to your i-phone (or i-pad or i-pod touch) via a wi-fi signal emitted from the camera itself. An app will then let you explore the image from multiple angles and play around with it. There is no way to preview the image before you take it, so you just have to trust your judgement and see what happens. However, if you have a playful temperament and like to experiment then this can be a lot of fun. I’ve found also that some images work better when reduced down to spheres like this:


Kyoto Station + Kyoto Tower – click for the immersive spherical image.

Or stretched out into panoramas like this:

Fushimi Inari

At Fushimi Inari Taisha. Click this image and all further images for the full 360 degree experience!

You’ll also noticed from that first picture that taking pictures manually will necessarily turn your pictures into glorified selfies and give you massive arms. No problem – you can take pictures remotely from your i-phone. Standing the camera up on a flat surface can give good results.

Cafe Kocsi

Cafe Kocsi

But sometimes a tripod is better. I got myself a GorillaPod, a wonderful little creation with legs that can wrap around branches and railings – and that is how I took this image from a balcony railing. I love the fact that I could take a picture that includes both the restaurant and the river that it faces!

Yuka balcony dining at Shiki Yoshina

Yuka balcony dining at Shiki Yoshina

Now though I live in Japan’s most photogenic city, traditional landscape views are not necessarily best suited to this camera. Unless that is you enjoy taking candid shots of other people taking pictures. I confess I do.


At Kinkakuji – The Golden Pavilion

No more how subtle you are though, this little camera does attract a lot of attention.


“What’s that?” – At Kiyomizu Temple

The best pictures tend to be those in which your entire surrounds are of interest and not just that which lies before you. This makes you think about your pictures, and indeed the world about you in a whole new way.


Among the red torii gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha

Another strong point for this camera is group shots. The person who takes the picture can also be included in the shot and need never be left out again!


My students.

I have more pictures to post from Pontocho, Kawaii Kanjiro’s house and other sites around town, but it grows late… For now I shall leave you with my favorite picture so far. I thought this might turn out well, when I took it, but it exceeded my expectations. Further 360 adventures will follow soon!


Fushimi Inari Taisha

See also: Climbing Mount Daimonji with Robert Yellin & the Ricoh Theta