Kyoto, Japan – Plum and Architecture at Kitano tenman-gu Shrine

March 30, 2014 in garden and architecture, Japan, Kyoto, Plums, Shrine


Kitano tenman-gu was founded in 947.  It is the largest shrine to appease Sugawara no Michizane, an aristocrat, poet and politician of the Heian period (794-1185). More than ten thousands existing shrines belong to Kitano  tenman-gu, and Michizane is considered as a deity of knowledge.


Fujiwara clan, a dominant clan in politics during the Heian period, later renovated the shrine. In 987, the shrine received Imperial patronage, and Ichijo emperor played its central role. From 1871 to 1946, Kitano tenman-gu stood as the second rank government supported shrines.


Spring has just arrived in Kyoto! One of the best known places for plum viewing in Kyoto is certainly Kitano tenman-gu. More than 3,000 plum trees overwhelm visitors.


Kitano tenman-gu is certainly the place for the first flower shooting of the year! The architecture of the shrine is gracefully decorated by colours of the flowers and that changes the entire appearance of the shrine. No wonder the shrine attract a large numbers of photographers.


Kyoto, Japan – Viewing Splendid Colour Leaves at Daigo-ji Temple

March 19, 2014 in garden and architecture, Japan, Kyoto, stroll garden, UNESCO World Heritage, water garden, Zen garden


Daigo-ji Temple reveals itself as one of the most visited places for viewing colour leaves in Kyoto. Daigo-ji is a Shingon sect Buddhist temple and is located in Fushimi District, the south part of Kyoto, in Japan. The temple has been registered as UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its architecture is a National Treasure of Japan. The temple is a part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto and is one of the landmarks of the city.


The remarkably serene and elegant atmosphere of the temple cannot be interpreted without considering its history as well as its connection to the imperial family. In 874, Rigen-daishi, a pupil of the leading monk of Heian period, Kukai, founded the temple. It received profound financial support due to the earnest protection of the imperial family, including Daigo, Suzaku and Murakami emperors. It extended its land on Mount Daigo in the 10th century. It then developed as one of the central spiritual places among Buddhist believers.


The five-storey pagoda is one of the places Kyoto visitors must to tale a look! It was built in 951. After the 15th century Onin War, many parts of architecture of the temple received major damage but the pagoda fortunately survived. Notably, it is the oldest existing architecture in Kyoto.

In 1598, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a general of the Sengoku period, held a famous cherry-bloom viewing festival. Daigo-ji regained its religious power and flourished its beauty once again. The architecture of temples was transformed into Daigo-ji. Sampo-in was built.


Hideyoshi is called Taiko-san for endearment among locals and his legacy of viewing cherry-blossoms, Sakura matsuri, is still held annually. Its where I met my photography mentor, Alain Davreux, a Kyoto based photographer from France and who currently lives in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. Certainly I will visit Daigo-ji Temple for cherry-blossoms again and will upload the photographs for my readers!!

Osaka, Japan – Preserved Beauty Keitakuen Garden

October 29, 2013 in garden and architecture, Japan, Osaka, water garden


Keitakuen Garden is one of the most precious gardens in Osaka. Osaka is the second largest city in Japan. As the city is fully industrialised, there is literary no green space except for Osaka Castle and Shitenno-ji Temple areas. The garden is a little oasis for city dwellers. It functions to sooth and anchor their psyche. It is the place to celebrate nature’s creative power and its beauty in the central city.


Being surrounded by Tennoji Station, Tennoji Park and Zoo, the area is one of the busiest places of Osaka. The blue building behind the garden is called Harukasu, the highest building of Japan. Nevertheless, the garden is filled with a sense of tranquility and stillness, especially the water garden areas. The view from the wooden architecture is mesmerising. Visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of a water garden over the window by sitting.


When I arrived at the garden, I felt something I am familiar with in its landscape design. Water space occupies a larger part of the garden and which creates a sense of spaciousness. Green pine trees and flowering azaleas decorate little islands here and there. No wonder the garden was designed by Ogawa Jihei, a renowned garden designer of Meiji period (1968-1912), and who worked on Shinen Garden at Heian Jingu Shrine.


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