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by Akiko

Kanagawa, Japan – Scenic Beauty of Hakone at Lake Ashi

January 17, 2015 in landscape photography, resort, scenic landscape, travel, travel photography by Akiko

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A torii floating on Lake Ashi beautifully in Hakone

Hakone is one of the most celebrated scenic places in Japan. It is a town locating at Ashigarashimo District and belongs to the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park in Kanagawa Prefecture. Visitors can expect to be thoroughly nourished by this magical place, where an uncontaminated air and rich light colours of nature beautifully harmonies due to surrounding deep mountain and a scenic lake, Ashi. Since it can access from the central Tokyo, Hakone has been developed as a renowned resort in eastern Japan.

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Proudly standing Hotel de Yama on the shores of Lake Ashi.

The day before I arrived at Hakone, I had a photography assignment in Chiba Prefecture. Thanks for my beloved cousin, I stayed nearby Shinjyuku and enjoyed some night life of Tokyo with him and his friends, dentiologists and hepatologists.

My assignment still continued in Hakone next day. Moving from an over populated mega city, Tokyo, to a beautiful countryside, the images of landscapes completely changed and so my feelings. It took about two hours to arrive at Lake Ashi from central Tokyo. I enjoyed landscape photography during my cruise to Motohakone over a pirate ship, along with a scene of breathtaking beauty, Lake Ashi.

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Floating red boats watching the passing pirate ships at Lake Ashi.

Hakone is certainly one of my favourite towns anyone I would love to recommend during a trip in Japan. If you are a keen landscape photographer, staying in the area for few days would be considerable. Hakone is a famous place for hot spring, onsen. After walking long for photography and a sight seeing, onsen will gently makes a mind and a body fully relaxing.

A story about Hakone will be continued in my another post!

by Akiko

Hiroshima, Japan – Beauty of Reflections at Hiroshima Castle

January 10, 2015 in Architecture, castle, Hiroshima, Japan, travel photography, Visiting Information by Akiko

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Hiroshima Castle main tower, tenshukaku, surrounded by water

Hiroshima Castle is one of the finest 16th century architecture in Japan. Anyone can easily access more than I expected due to its location at the delta of Otogawa river in the central city of Hiroshima. Visitors of Hiroshima are strongly recommended to explore the estate and enjoy a walk around the water area!

The castle was founded by Mori Terumoto, a samurai and rule of the Hiroshima region, in 1589. Kuroda Yoshitaka, a political strategist and adviser of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, played a role as a chief supervisor of the castle building. Since Kuroda worked on other major castles, he can be a key person in understanding the style of castle-building in the late 16th century Azuchi Momoyama period. During the period, the style was dramatically changed.

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Hiroshima Castle keeps a perfect symmetry and balance in design.

As it is also seen in Osaka, Nagoya and Okayama, the scale of Hiroshima Castle was planed to be more grandeur. The central tower, tenshukaku, was built taller as ever before. The architecture also accommodates more complex structure and design in appearance. While political relationships had more stabilised among regional neighbors, the castles were built on a plane land instead of densely forested top of mountain for protection, from external armed forces.

The significance of the change was that the the castle’s function was not merely for defense purposes but rather for the enhancement of architectural beauty!

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A water area creating a perfect mirroring effect, reflecting trees and surrounding architecture.

Beauty of the architecture is expressed by its perfect symmetry. The design and decoration are much complicated and which are arranged by a mixture of wooden materials, crafts and white walls. The tenshukaku is situated at the edge of a moat and so that visitors can enjoy the reflections of the architecture and surrounded mature trees at the water area by walk.

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Heading to the main building of Hiroshima Castle by rowing a boat.

In the Hiroshima Castle estate, locals enjoy running, walking and gathering with family members and friends. Being surrounded by a plenty of greens and a flesh air, walking around the castle calms down our thinking. We become more aware of surroundings. Birds sing a song and scroll water. Couples walk together by holding hands quietly. By the time I completed my photo/video assignment at the castle, I felt fully relaxed as if all tension disappeared out of my mind and body. I kept releasing a shutter and captured the images of architecture with reflections at sunset. It was the most delightful moment I ever had in Hiroshima!

by Akiko

Brisbane, Australia – A Beginning of Adventure as a Travel Photographer

January 7, 2015 in Brisbane, travel photographer by Akiko

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Brisbane’s Story Bridge perfectly balancing a cityscape in the image!

Brisbane is one of the most populous cities of Australia, where more than 2.24 million city dwellers mingle together. It belongs to the state of Queensland and locates in the south east coast. The city offers any visitors a sense of fullness, expansiveness and a dynamic energy, created by a mixture of a beautiful cityscape and prolific nature.

The real richness of the city, however, is not merely concerned with a physical realm but also emotional and psychological wealth. My first impression of the city was that people looked healthy physically and mentally. I am certain this is because a moderate climate, a crystal clear blue sky and beautiful nature balance human psyche and emotional health.

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Waiting for a sunset at Story Bridge.

This is my first visit in Australia! I captured the images of cityscapes but where is koala, kangaroo and beaches. Why is there no such image at Australia…?

This is because I am visiting Brisbane to receive a professional photo/video training. While my assignment, I provide travel images of Japan and work with visual/textual professionals and a sound creator. I have been working with a leading Australian media company for more than one and half year.

My schedule was fully arranged. I only had time for less than an hour to explore the city. I hired a taxi and asked to show me the most beautiful part of the city. The driver was happened to be from Australia’s richest part of nature, Darwin. Thank you, Nathan!!

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A spectacular view of Brisbane cityscape before a sunset.

This time my client invited me to their head office where a bunch of talented creative individuals work together in Brisbane. When a media production manager of the company, who I have been working with, sent me an invitation letter, I totally could not believe this happened to me. Can you imagine how much I could be so excited about it!? It happened to me and why not to you? Anything, anything and anything is possible. Life offers you anything if you truly desire from your heart!

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Brisbane City Hall Clock Tower from a window.

While I stayed Brisbane, professional photo/videographers gave me a solid instruction at meetings and in the field, at beaches, an aquarium and restaurants, as to how to shoot more effectively, with minimum effort and time, in a relaxed manner. This is a secret of professional photographers!

After my photo/video training, a meeting was arranged where the stills and video editors showed me their works, how they edit and what they are really looking for in travel photography. A music composer showed her talent of how to create variety of sounds while she looks after her children at home. A writer told me how much research he has conducted for his creative writing about tourist destinations. This is what I dreamed of when I started photography: to work with talented creative people around the world, to bring something meaningful and inspirational into the world!

Thank you, thank you and than you! I am so glad that I am still alive!

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City Tabernacle Baptist Church located in Brisbane.

I did not know that barbeque is a part of cultural thing in Australia. As soon as I arrived at Brisbane, the director of the company invited me for attending a business meeting at his family home, where all the staffs and his friends got together with for a barbecue party. What impressed me was that barbecue is effectively integrated into a business scene, where people introduce themselves freely and speak of what they do and can do in an open air. I do not remember how many times we did barbeque!?

Is this common to have a barbeque cooker at every company in Australia? Even barbecue penetrates into the company’s lunch time. In the working hours, they enjoy lunch together in a fresh air and at a luxury residential area, being surrounded by rich greens and mature trees.

What a richness and luxury the company can offer to employees in a working environment. That was certainly I never ever seen in both the UK and Japan! We tend to confine ourselves into a tiny box of a city, attending work at gloomy offices. We need to get out of there!!!

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A busiest central Brisbane on my way to Story Bridge.

The director of the company certainly has created his own dream company, providing his vision to his professional staffs, motivating and expanding their awareness. That must be so uplifting at work! In turn, their creative works offer the international audiences to see the world beyond our imagination. I am so proud to join his team!

Visiting Brisbane was just a beginning of my adventure as a travel photographer. I am visiting 14 cities and covering more than 130 travel destinations around Japan. As a professional travel photographer, it is profoundly honorable and meaningful to show all the wonder and beauty Japan can offer to the world!