Magic Mountains

Tweet Explaining the Shugendo religion would be a job for a book, not a blog post. But let’s just say it’s a colourful mix of Buddhism, Japan’s ancient Shinto religion, and even more ancient native animism. Shugendo’s adherents are known as Yamabushi – men (and a few women) who undertake arduous ascetic training in the […]

Brass monkey time

Tweet Probably the coldest shoot I’ve ever done. And that includes going to photograph the Arctic ice-flow in Northern Hokkaido. The story was on wakame seaweed in Shikoku. One February morning I was up before dawn to head out onto the frigid inland sea in tiny flat-bottomed boat. I wore just about every item of […]


Tweet Here’s one way to cool down a little during the Tokyo summer . . . Back in 2008 I took part in a press tour to the Shiretoko peninsula way up on the northeast tip of Hokkaido. It was a fantastic trip, including a visit out to the ice-flows on an ice-breaker. Sadly, global […]

Tsukiji portraits

Tweet Not only is Tsukiji fish market one of best places in Tokyo to visit, its one of the most photogenic too. A few years ago I did a small project photographing people who work in the market. I have around 100 impromptu portraits. Usually, I just approached people explained what I was doing, asked […]

Children’s Day in Ishinomaki

Tweet This is the last of the sets of photos I took up in tsumnami-devastated Ishinomaki over Golden Week. The morning of 5 May I drove from Sendai to Ishinomaki with rakugo artist Dianne Orrett and a couple of her Chindon’ya friends. We spent the day together as they performed at the Ishinomaki Mangattan and […]

Wasabi wonder

Tweet Some photos from a little while ago that I’ve finally got round to posting (that happens a lot!) This is the owner of Marutou wasabi farm. If you are ever near the tip of the Izu peninsula, pay him a visit. He lives in one of the most beautiful Japanese villages I’ve ever seen. […]

Tokyo Sinfonia in Tohoku

Tweet This is another story from Golden week. I travelled up to the disaster zone with the Tokyo Sinfonia who played several concerts in the refugee centers. This was another privileged experience. Two months after the quake, the authorities were reluctant to let anyone into the centers – least of all photographers. But it was […]

Chiba surfing

Tweet Surf’s up. Recently had  chance to visit a surfing “Mecca” in Chiba with my brother-in-law. Beats Sunday morning pushing a trolley around Itoyokado. Time to invest in one of these? (Tokyo Photojournalist on Facebook)    

Sado jizo shrine

Tweet These photos are from a trip to the island of Sado in 2009, when I spent a couple of days driving around looking for places and people to feature in the travel story I was writing. I found this shrine a short drive up into the hills. It is named “Nashinoki Jizo” after the […]

Pied Piper

Tweet Noto town in Kanazawa prefecture has lost two thirds of its residents since the 1970s, its sons and daughters leaving for jobs in the city. Remaining behind are silence, empty streets, pork barrel civic projects, pachinko parlours, the loyal, and the old. This is a story repeated in rural areas all over Japan. And […]


Tweet Toyohashi city is where I landed in Japan and lived for a few years before coming to Tokyo. It’s not far from Nagoya, not far from the mountains, not far from the sea, not doing very well in the recession. It was a great place to live when I was there – probably still […]

Temple of the golden pavilion

Tweet Is this the most photographed temple in Japan? I was down in Kyoto last week meeting a Danish tea master (more on that one day) and staying at a Zen Buddhist temple for a night (no photos!). In between the two I had a morning to spare so what to do? My first thought […]

Nifty-fifty Houston

Tweet Sixteen shots of Houston – 50mm wide-open. (Set myself a challenge of the simplest camera setting I could think of.) Most of these shots were taken downtown near my hotel.

the Houston flower man

Tweet When I was in Houston, my friend Katherine took me to see a very special person. The first photo explains. To say thank you for letting me take these pics, last week I posted a few photos and a couple of Anpanman toys to Houston. There is a little bit of Tokyo in Mr […]

Christmas in Bath

Tweet This was my first Christmas in the UK for eight years. I’d left my wife and children in Tokyo as our youngest was too small to travel. Just me in my old bedroom in my parents house in the city where I grew up, Bath. With me a Nikon New FM2, a Nikkor 50mm […]

135 years of Japanese wine-making

Tweet I writing this from frigid December Bath in the UK. Brrrr. I think these photos are actually making me feel colder. At the end of summer I travelled up to Katsunuma in Yamanashi prefecture. The area is home to Japan’s largest winemaker, Mercian, and 80 odd little wineries open for visiting and tasting. Katsunuma’s […]

Second class food?

Tweet Perhaps only Japan would have an event celebrating “2nd class food”? It’s probably something to do with the fact that even the fast food in Japan tends to be very good. This year the B1 Grand Prix was held in Yokote-city up in Akita prefecture. B1 stands for B-Class Gourmet, foods like yakisoba, okonomiyaki, […]

The oldest city in Japan

Tweet For a notably low-key city, Fukuoka has a fair few superlatives to its name. It is Japan’s closest city to Korea which means it can lay claim to being Japan’s oldest city. In other words, it was the first beachhead of civilization from the Asian mainland. These days Fukuoka has some of the strongest […]

A hot assignment

Tweet Nambu Tekki ironware is a specialty of Iwate Prefecture in Northern Japan. I took these photos for a travel story last summer. This is the oven where they heat the pots and give them a special anti-rust layer of oxidised metal. The technique dates back to the Edo period. Nambu Tekki pots This was […]

Poland photos

Tweet Not Japan and not photojournalism per se, but I’ve been meaning to post these here for a while. The summer before last I visited Poland with my family and trusty GR1. We were visiting my Polish relatives, but it was my first time to Poland since school. I was quite shocked at how little […]

Karl Bengs, German-Japanese Architecture

Tweet This story was on the way back from Niigata early spring this year. Karl Bengs is a German architect who first visited Japan in 1966. He buys old Japanese farmhouses, dismantles them then rebuilds them in his own distinctive style and with all mod cons (like proper insulation and heating). This photo was taken […]

Mr Tanaka’s railway

Tweet My Rough Guide to Japan tells me that the Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo to Niigata was the most expensive train track in the world to build. It cost some 6 billion yen per kilometer and about one third of the journey is through tunnels. Built by LDP pork-barrel legend Tanaka Kakuei, the bullet train […]

Brown’s Field farm – an alternative lifestyle in Chiba

Tweet When home is a fifty-something square meter Tokyo shoe box and the daily commute is shared with thousands in the same predicament, it’s easy to forget there are other ways of living. But photojournalist Everett Brown and macrobiotic cookbook writer Deco Nakajima remembered and did something about it. Brown’s Field is their remarkable and […]

Sado Island

Tweet Sado ferry Sado seems to be one of those places that everyone talks about going to but few actually get to. After 10 years in Japan this was my first trip to the island, on a story for an airline magazine. First photos were on the ferry – a pretty chilly voyage as it […]