Kyoto, Japan – Celebrating Cherry-Blossoms at Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho)

April 23, 2014 in Cherry Blossoms, garden and architecture, Japan, JP Imperial Palace/Villa, Uncategorized

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Kyoto Imperial Palace is a real oasis of the city. Locals and visitors from abroad get together for celebrating beauty and elegance of flowering cherry in Spring. More than 910 km square estate contains 1,100 cherry trees and proudly wait for garden visitors during a season. White and pink light colours melt on eyes. The visitors literary can feel being surrounded by Spring lights.

You will see every single visitor holds a camera. Blooming cherry flowers get them fanatical of taking photographs!

The first place I visited for a cherry shooting was Kyoto Imperial Palace, and where I met a highly experienced professional commercial photographer, Naoyuki Fukamachi, from Tokyo. It seems to be a good omen at the beginning of a Spring shooting!

Naoyuki is a more than 30 years experienced photographer and has his own photography studio in the central Tokyo. His studio covers industrial and portrait photography work. Every year for this season, he visits Kyoto for a cherry shooting.

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In Kyoto Imperial Palace, the quality and intensity of flowering cherry are outstanding, probably more than any other places in Kyoto. A majority of cherry trees is mature and has existed more than few hundred years in a deep care of cherry and garden specialists.

The diversity of cherry trees is enormous, including famous somei yoshino, toranoo, ukon, yae zakura, shidare zakura and so many more! Due to the diversity of different cherry trees, the garden attracts visitors for a long time whereas the peak of the flowers ends within a week. It is a real luxury for commuters to pass through the garden by walk and bike, before heading to an office early morning.

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Kyoto Imperial Palace is situated in Kyoto Gyoen. The palace officially has existed since 12th century and functioned both for a ritual ceremony and as a residence of the Imperial family more than 500 years.

The place and the garden experienced a time of decay after Meiji emperor and the imperial family moved from Kyoto to Tokyo at the time of Meiji Restoration in the mid 19th century. Since then, the garden has been opened publicly. The Imperial Household Agency hosts public tours of the buildings and so that please make a booking in advance!

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Kyoto Imperial Palace is one of my best favourite places for garden photography. It takes less than ten minutes by bike from my place. Any Kyoto visitors are strongly suggested to visit the garden in Spring! Let me know if you have any questions!!

 

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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