Last winter was my first in the northern island of Hokkaido, and amongst enjoying the deepest powder turns of my life, I enjoyed the challenges and opportunities to photograph this beautiful land in the deep winter season.
Volcanos, hot springs, crater lakes and the rugged coast are just some of the things to explore, but there is so much more and I am excited to return this winter.
In the meantime, from my experience here are my top 5 places to shoot:
The Pow all around
Okay, okay… I know this is not a place (great start), but it is hard to ignore the sheer amount of the white fluffy stuff everywhere. Whether it is piling up on rooves, being carved by the wind or being blasted into a powder cloud by some skis, snow itself is a captivating subject
This huge volcanic crater lake is a treat everytime I go. Apparently awash with Japanese holiday makers in the summer, in the winter it is a scene of serentiy. Quietly waves lap against the stoney shores and a traditional Japanese shrine on a rocky outcrop makes for a fantastic vista.
Jigokudani ‘Hell Valley’, Noboribetsu
Jigokudani is a steaming, boiling crater of geothermal activity, you can smell it way before you see it. Created after a volcanic eruption 20’000 years ago, there is 24 acres of geysers, vents and boiling sulphuric lakes. Surrounded by rusty looking cliffs it is easy to see why this place was thought of as the gateway to the underworld. If you can handle the strong pong of rotting eggs this is a great place to capture the dramatic landscape of Japan.
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The Japan Sea
I love going to the sea. Especially during a winter season where you spend most of your time in the moutains. Snow on the beach has always filled me with joy, I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s the meeting of two great water forms, the beggining and the end of a cycle. Throw in some cool looking mountains in the background and you have a raw show of nature.
Mount Yotei-san. The iconic stratovolcano that dominates the skyline and is in the background of almost every photo taken in Niseko. This conical earthly protusion is often reffered to as Ezo-Fuji: Ezo is another name for Hokkaido, and Fuji is in refference to the famous volcano outside Tokyo. This is our version of Mt Fuji, and seeing it occasionally when the clouds clear always fills me with awe. Every time it looked different and it was always too easy to turn my lens towards its mighty and numerous forms. I think my favourite time was hiking to the top of Mount Annupuri, climbing through and out of the clouds to join Mt. Yotei opposite in heaven.
– Words and Photos by Charlotte Workman / Niseko Photography
Charlotte Workman is a Scottish Photographer and Filmmaker. With a journalism eduction Charlotte has an appetite to see and document the world. Charlotte has been living in Japan for the past winter shooting for Niseko Photography and Guiding. She will be heading back to the land of sushi and 19m of snowfall again this winter so give her a shout if you are in Hokaido.
Follow her work and adventures on Instagram: @_charlotteworkman_
Visit her portfolio: charlotteworkman.com
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