Tomasz Wagner Photographer

Rural Japan on 35mm Film

Our time in Kagoshima was brief, just as it had been the first time we were there. As we had been late to dock, we separated quickly from our ferry friends and sprinted towards the tram that would take us to Kagoshima-Chuo Station. Our packs were thankfully light considering the length of our trip, a fact we relished as we navigated downtown Kagoshima and alighted from tram, bus, and finally train. We arrived to an empty Aso Station and to a city well on its way to bedding down for the night. We felt the same about things by that time.

In the morning, we collected our rental car and took in the countryside as we made our way towards Takachiho Gorge 高千穂峡. A kindly, older attraction employee sold us our tickets and pointed the way to the boat launch area. Although the gorge was less heavily visited than the sites we would come to experience while in Japan, we knew we wanted to continue enjoying the quiet brilliance of the country’s environments, ones that invited us and others to venture a bit further and deeper into the wild and isolated:

The stacked stones of Amano Yasukawara 天安河原, said to be the birthplace of Japanese mythology; the plains of Kusasenri-ga-hama 草千里 in the area of Mount Aso 阿蘇山, wind-swept and worn, and not unlike some of the environments we had seen in our friends’ images of Iceland; the various onsen of Kurokawa 黒川温泉 that had us bathing in caves, by riverside, and under a moon whose light bounced from stone to bamboo culm, refracted through water that returned strength to our legs; the endless fields, caves, and karst topography of Akiyoshidai Quasi-National Park 秋吉台国定公園; the wisteria vine bridges of the Iya Valley 祖谷渓谷 region where I celebrated another year of connectedness to this lifetime, where while passing through the ominous doll village of Nagoro and cedar groves outside restored samurai residences we discovered a peacefulness, even while the fuses in our minds were inexplicably blown by all the intrigue surrounding us.

This was Kyushu, Chugoku, and Shikoku for us, the parts we were able to experience together, the memories that pulse within our hands and behind our eyes.

Written by Amy & Tomasz

All photographs by Tomasz Wagner on a Contax G2 using the 21mm f2.8, 45mm f2, and 90mm f2.8
Developed by ABC Photo and self-scanned with the Pakon F135

Music — Join Me on My Avalanche by Explosions in the Sky

Tomasz Wagner, Takachiho Gorge, Miyazaki Prefecture, Gokase River
Tomasz Wagner, Takachiho Gorge, Miyazaki Prefecture, Gokase River
Tomasz Wagner, Amano Yasukawara, Amano Iwato Shrine, Amaterasu, Takachiho Village, Japanese Myth, Miyazaki Prefecture
Tomasz Wagner, Amano Yasukawara, Amano Iwato Shrine, Amaterasu, Takachiho Village, Miyazaki Prefecture
Tomasz Wagner, Amano Iwato Shrine, Amaterasu, Takachiho Village, Miyazaki Prefecture
Tomasz Wagner, Mount Aso, Mt Aso, Aso Kuju National Park, Kumamoto
Tomasz Wagner, Mt Aso, Mount Aso, Kusasenri, Kumamoto
Tomasz Wagner, Kusasenri, Mt Aso, Mount Aso, Kyushu
Tomasz Wagner, Shinkansen, Herschel Supply Little America Backpack, Well Travelled
Tomasz Wagner, Ryukeien Ryokan, Kurokawa Onsen Town, Onsens in Japan, Kumamoto Prefecture
Tomasz Wagner, Ryukeien Ryokan, Kurokawa Onsen Town, Onsens in Japan, Japanese Getta, Kumamoto Prefecture
Tomasz Wagner, Onsens in Japan, Contax G2, Portra 160 Film, Film Portraiture
Tomasz Wagner, Onsens in Japan, Contax G2, Portra 160 Film, Film Portraiture
Tomasz Wagner, Onsens in Japan, Contax G2, Portra 160 Film, Film Portraiture
Tomasz Wagner, Onsens in Japan, Contax G2, Portra 160 Film, Film Portraiture
Tomasz Wagner, Ryukeien Ryokan, Kurokawa Onsen Town, Onsens in Japan, Japanese Getta, Kumamoto Prefecture
Tomasz Wagner, Train Travel in Japan, Traveling Around Kyushu, Japanese Transportation
Tomasz Wagner, Kyushu Railway Company, Traveling Around Kyushu, Japanese Transportation
Tomasz Wagner, Train Travel in Japan, Traveling Around Kyushu, Japanese Transportation
Tomasz Wagner, Akiyoshidai Plateau, Walks in Japan, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Chugoku Region
Tomasz Wagner, Akiyoshidai Plateau, Karst Landscape, Walking in Japan, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Chugoku Region
Tomasz Wagner, Akiyoshidai Plateau, Walks in Japan, Kyushu Hiking, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Chugoku Region
Tomasz Wagner, Akiyoshidai Plateau, Karst Landscape, Hikes in Japan, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Chugoku Region
Tomasz Wagner, Double Exposure Photography, Contax G2, Portra 160, Film Photographer in Japan, Akiyoshidai
Tomasz Wagner, Herschel Supply, Akiyoshidai Plateau, Hikes in Japan, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Chugoku Region
Tomasz Wagner, Akiyoshidai Plateau, Open Fields in Japan, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Chugoku Region
Tomasz Wagner, Itsukushima, Hiroshima Bay, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japanese Scenic Sites
Tomasz Wagner, Itsukushima, Hiking in Miyajima, Hiroshima Prefecture
Tomasz Wagner, Kurashiki, Street Photography in Japan, Okayama
Tomasz Wagner, Iya Valley, Shikoku, Tokushima Prefecture, Japanese Mountain Valleys
Tomasz Wagner, Iya Valley, Shikoku, Tokushima Prefecture, Japanese Cedar Forests
Tomasz Wagner, Iya Valley, Shikoku, Tokushima Prefecture, Roadtrips in Japan, Oku-Iya Kazurabashi Bridges
Tomasz Wagner, Iya Valley Vine Bridges, Oku-Iya Kazurabashi Bridges, Shikoku, Tokushima Prefecture
Tomasz Wagner, Iya Valley, Shikoku, Tokushima Prefecture, Japanese Cedar Forests
Tomasz Wagner, Iya Valley, Shikoku, Tokushima Prefecture, Japanese Cedar Forests
Tomasz Wagner, Oboke Gorge, Iya Valley, Shikoku, Tokushima Prefecture

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  1. ned: These are some of the most beautiful, sensitive, and spiritual photographs I've seen in a long time. Beautiful photographs, and beautiful writeup. Thank you for sharing. — Sunday, June 22nd, 2014
  2. Taylor: Tomasz, gorgeous as always. You and Amy were were born for adventure. — Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
  3. Tim: I’ve looked at these over and over. There’s a unique stillness in these images. A beautifully dreamlike series Tomasz. — Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
  4. Ryan Tatar: These are wonderful photos. — Friday, March 25th, 2016

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