Japan’s adventure travel gem
Japan’s Kiso Ontake Tourism Office have teamed up with Anglo-Swedish media-production company LWimages (both ATTA members) to create a new film exploring adventure tourism and the cultural highlights in the Kiso region of Japan.
This beautiful area consists of many small heritage towns dotted along the 400 year old, Nakasendo, ‘path through the mountains,’ trade route. Many of the towns remain preserved almost as they were in the Edo period 300 years ago, with their stone paths and buildings constructed from local cypresses clinging to the high valley slopes of the Kisogawa river. The Kiso region offers the visitor a unique mix of traditional culture and adventure travel opportunities.
Capturing the excitement of these tourism opportunities whilst showing respect to Kiso’s cultural traditions was one the main challenges for LWimages director of photography Lukasz Warzecha and producer Ulrika Larsson. “Visiting shrines and temples that are very much present where ever you go was a special feeling,” explains Ulrika. “Trying to capture that and give it justice on the screen wasn’t always easy. It’s extremely important in situations like these to show respect and to do everything in our power to portray the area, people and its traditions in the most delicate way possible.”
It’s an approach that paid off as Takashi Yamada, Director of Sales & Marketing at Kiso Ontake Tourism Office, explains. “One of the key aspects of selecting the filmmaker for this project was that the person needed to understand the real nature of tourism. There are so many professionals out there who can make an outstanding video, but we were looking for someone who understood the real nature of our local culture. In this regard, the background and past experiences that Lukasz and Ulrika possess were an excellent fit for this project.”
Compared with many regions of Japan, Kiso is still relatively unknown. Those visitors who discover this hidden gem of an area are often drawn by the spectacular autumn colours of the region’s forests. LWimages film aims to show what Kiso has to offer in other seasons and what a vibrant place it is throughout the year.
“Since the focus of the film was to capture the true essence of Kiso in summer time,” says Ulrika, “we had the chance to immerse ourselves not only in various outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking and cycling but were also given an in depth experience of Japanese cuisine, the Onsen tradition (hot natural springs) and experienced the deep, and very authentic, respect the Japanese people show each other. Add to that, being surrounded by impressive mountains and cozy small villages from the Edo time, we found our selves in an extremely creative and inspiring environment. Japan has been a long time dream destination for everyone on the film team. Being given the opportunity to go there and work on this project with Takashi and the Kiso Tourism Board was a pure pleasure from day one.”
”The team of LWimages delivered more than what we expected,” says Takashi. “From their creativity to their hard work, LWimages team-work made a huge difference in terms of the quality of the final film. We will look for more opportunities to work together and we are sure that LWimages will surprise us again!”
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