Kyoto ranks with Paris, London and Rome as one of those cities that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. Kyoto is the Japan of our dreams, of our imagination: raked pebble gardens, bamboo groves, torii gates that go on for miles, romance trains, geisha disappearing into the doorways, the floating world. It is simply one of our most favorites places. In. The. World. And so it was Kyoto that provided a spectacularly perfect backdrop for this special anniversary session – our beautiful couple flying in from Singapore for this once in a lifetime shoot. It truly was divine.
With the team of stellar Japanese hairdressers, makeup artists and kimono dressers all buzzing around, it was a ritual in getting ready, all in a tiny tatami-matted room in a little downtown backstreet. Such an experience. And Ann was transformed into a vision of delicate beauty. There was a collective gasp as the stunning obi was revealed.
We started our Kyoto experience in one of our favorite places – Gion Shirakawa. The canal is lined by willow trees, high class restaurants and ochaya, many of which have rooms overlooking the canal. And then right on cue we catch a glimpse of a geiko or maiko on their way to or from an engagement followed by a lone monk. All to start off the day. Hello floating world.
Ann & Chris, lost in themselves, the glow of 10 years and morning sunbeams. With a hint of Autumn still in the air as we headed into winter, the streets here and there still had the last of the famous Kyoto maples on show.
Many of the temples and shrines in Kyoto won’t allow this kind of photography, but this UNESCO listed site was more than accommodating and welcoming and served as simply a magnificent stage.
Ann’s memory of the kimono was that it was incredibly heavy. We were all just enamored with her stunning beauty and gorgeous smile. She lit up Kyoto and Chris was right by her side. Always. A couple of hours later it was time to return the kimono and head off to our favorite of bamboo groves. Another perfect accompaniment to any Kyoto experience…
A dash through the Forrest, which was actually teaming with people, and we made it to The Romance Train. Another chapter in this celebration. A special memory for this amazing couple, more than a trip down memory lane as we recorded moments of their 10 year love affair.
Off the Romance Train and back to the city we then get ready to take on the night. One of our all-time favorite shrines at twilight, we headed up to the torii lined gates with a spectacularly iconic shot to start. With no-one around we would light up the endless torii for a bit…
And to finish the long day of shooting and documenting a 10-year love story, it was back to Kyoto station as we said goodbye. A sparkly, dazzling goodbye amid thousands of twinkling lights and the magic of the holidays.
Ann & Chris – happy, happy, happy anniversary x 10. And for all those to come. What a simply beautiful day we shared, so special, intimate, real and full of joy and plenty of only-in-japan-moments. Your fine-art book looks stunning and so filled with love and happiness that it’s overwhelming. We have so loved the whole process with you, from the very first email. We cannot wait until our paths cross again! So happy that we connected and were able to be a part of your journey and ongoing love story. Thank you, thank you for this once-in-a-lifetime day.
With love, Dee + Trace x
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