KISO - Ontake | Undiscovered Japan - 4K

Sometimes the stars align and projects come your way that combine an amazing location – somewhere you’ve wanted to visit for ages with a client that shares your vision and then when you get there the local people and culture lift the whole experience up to another level. Japan has been a long time dream destination for everyone on the LWimages film team, so when we got the chance to visit, following a film commission from the Kiso Tourism Office, we jumped at the chance.

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Compared with many areas of Japan, Kiso is still relatively unknown. Hidden between Mount Kisokama, the main peak of Japan’s central Alps and Mount Ontake, the second highest free-standing peak in Japan after Mount Fuji, this beautiful area of Japan consists of many small heritage ‘postal towns’ dotted along the 400 year old, Nakasendo, ‘path through the mountains’, trade route. Some of the postal towns remain preserved almost as they were in the Edo period 400 years ago, with their stone paths and buildings constructed from local cypresses clinging to high valley slopes carved by the Kisogawa river.

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Those visitors who do discover this hidden gem of an area are often drawn by the spectacular autumn colours of the regions forests. Our film aimed to showcase what a vibrant place Kiso is in the summer months. As well as trying the many outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking and cycling on offer we also immersed ourselves in the local traditions of Kiso ‘slow cook’ cuisine, the Onsen tradition (hot natural springs) and experienced the deep, and very authentic, respect the Japanese people show each other.

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There is an ambience of untouched and undiscovered mystery around Kiso that makes the area really distinctive and this was something we tried to reflect in the film. Trying to capture that feeling and do 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 it's traditions in the most delicate way as possible.

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Kiso was one of the most creative and inspiring environments we’ve been to and hopefully the film will inspire people to go there and visit it on their own.

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