Originally from Sweden, photographer Jens Madsen had always been enamoured with Japanese culture from a young age. After a 2011 trip to Japan took him all over the country, Jens decided to take the plunge and move to Kyoto in 2015.
He now shares his love for the city through Photo Taiken, combining his expertise as a guide with his love of photography, to offer people unique and interesting photo tours.
We asked Jens to share some of his favourite places in the ancient heart of Japan...
FUSHIMI INARI TAISHA SHRINE
Get lost in another world
"With its multitude of gates that covers almost the whole mountain. All the way from the foot to the top surrounded by Tori gates. It has always made me feel like I'm lost in another world. My personal favourite in all of Kyoto. The start of the walk is always the most busy part, get past the crowds and reach further up for less people and to fully enjoy Fushimi-Inari and its view."
GION & HIGASHIYAMA DISTRICTS
The home of maiko + geisha
"These two districts are just located next to each other. Gion is the home for Maiko and Geisha that has been walking these streets for hundreds of years! Still today when I walk here in the evening I never get tired of seeing a local Maiko on her way to work. Nearby the interesting temples and shrines has always been a favourite stop when I'm in this neighbourhood. Further up Higashiyama district is located. Its handmade souvenirs, art, tasty food testers has always made me ending up buying something haha."
Changing with the seasons
"I have always loved Japanese gardens. And walking around Kyoto for years I have found some great gardens. This one tho is bit more special to me. First of all, the garden is huge! Second of all, every season in this garden makes it change all the time. And on top of that, the small little lake with the bridge across it has been a place for me to sit down, relax and enjoy this traditional Japanese garden."
Perfect for a stroll
"This path is so popular and it's easy to understand. But my personal recommendation is to explore it a bit more throughout by entering smaller streets. There are multiple shrines and temples along the way. And walking past these would be a shame!"
Shop like a local
"I love shopping, food, people and this shopping arcade is changing all the time. I come here all the time for different kinds of goods, sometimes also just for some strolling. Many locals usually come here for shopping too.
Conveniently right next to the street you can find Nishiki Market where you can find so much tasty stuff to fill your belly."
Photo Taiken offers a variety of packages, from photo shoot sightseeing tours around Kyoto, to studio shoots where you can transform into an 'oiran'.
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All photos are copyright 51 Squared B.V. except: Jens Madsen profile photo (Courtesy of Jens Madsen); Heian Shrine (Credit: Marco Montero Pisani) This feature was not paid for in any way.