Spectacular Morning View at Maruyama Terraced Rice Fields – Mie, Japan

EW-logoPage Tuesday, 19 May, 2015

Maruyama Terraced Rice Fields

As I have already mentioned in my previous post, the elders and the youths of the village worked together for rebuilding the landscape of Maruyama Terraced Rice Fields. I was touched by the story and visited the area to see how they recurred beauty of the landscape.

My story…

I woke up at 4 am and grabbed my camera gear with a tripod, holding a flashlight at hand. I stood up at an entrance of the mountain. It was still dark and chilly. I was certainly terrified to climb the mountain as it was my first time, in dark and alone. And yet, my feeling to capture the image of the landscape was much much stronger than that! I am hoping that many people rediscover their real treasures and rebuild beauty of landscapes in country side again.

I lost my way in dark but fortunately found the way to the top of the mountain in the end. The road of the mountain was well organised with the stone and wooden stairs. I felt that I was welcomed and carried on climbing step by step. I am now little more confident to see how long to take climbing mountain for photography, timing and weather. Certainly it is necessary to bring a flashlight in dark! :D I did not bring it with myself and so that my hotel allowed me to use it. Thank you!

The residents and the council of the village worked for visitors by making stairs in the mountain and arranging some resting places and bathrooms in the terraced rice fields.

I conversed with some residents from the village and enjoyed photography together. Some of them drove a car for us and so that we could make a light line on the image in dark. I was very thankful to their kindness.

I certainly recommend anyone to visit Maruyama Terraced Rice Field for photography!

Archived in Mie Japan, Maruyama Terraced Rice Fields:

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Blooming Azaleas at Yoshimine-dera Temple – Kyoto, Japan

EW-logoPage Monday, 18 May, 2015

Yoshimine-dera Temple

Yoshimine-dera Temple resides in the western part of Kyoto, Nishikyo Ward, and belongs to Tendai School Zen Buddhism. The temple was initially founded by Gesan, a monk from Enryakuji, in 1029. It received its formal name by Goichijo emperor as Yoshimine-dera in 1034.

Yoshimine-dera had a strong connection with an imperial family and received a patronage  from a range of emperors including Gotoba, Shirakawa, Gohanazono, Gosaga and Gofukakusa.

In the 15th century Onin War, a majority of the temple’s buildings were destroyed. In the 17th century, the temple received much attention from Keishoin, a mother of the fifth Tokugawa Shogunate, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi. The reconstruction of the buildings was made in 1962

Daily Photograph – Blooming Azaleas at Yoshimine-dera Temple

A friend of mine, a writer, called me early morning. I grabbed my camera and a tripod and jumped into his car to head to Yoshimine-dera Temple for azaleas! Since it is not easy to access to the temple as it is far away from JR Mukomachi station and locates along with the mountain, Nishiyama, I was so thankful that he took me to the temple with his car!

Archived in Kyoto Japan, Yoshimine-dera Temple:

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The image above is inspired by a good friend of mine and photographer, Onishi san. He made the similar one when we visited for cherry last time. This time, I captured the red gates, torii, with azaleas.

A majority of temples of Kyoto does not allow the use of a tripod. Yoshimine-dera is one of rare temples where we can freely use it. Please make sure which temples you can use it in Kyoto.

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We found blooming azaleas at the top of Yoshimine-dera Temple. Since the temple locates on top of the surrounding mountain, it takes time and an effort to fully explore the place. However, its extensive scale of the estate, landscapes and a diversity of flowers cannot be seen anywhere at temples and shrines of the central city.

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Shirabyoshi no mai Presented at Mifune Matsuri Festival – Kyoto, Japan

EW-logoPage Sunday, 17 May, 2015

Mifune matsuri Festival

More than 1,000 years ago Heian period boat festival is reproduced at Mifune matsuri Festival this afternoon. The festival is held by floating boats on Oigawa river nearby Togetsukyo bridge at Arashiyama District in Kyoto, Japan. More than 100,000 visitors enjoyed the spectacular view of Mifune matsuri festival. The performers wear Heian period aristocrat costumes and present performing arts including dancing, poetry reading and playing musical materials.

Daily Photograph – Shirabyoshi no mai at Mifune matsuri Festival

Shirabyoshi no mai is a buyo and performing art. It is originated from the 12th century Heian period court culture. It is performed predominantly in Shinto tradition.

Since I enjoyed shirabyoshi no mai at Kyokusui no utage festival at Jonan-gu Shrine, I did some research where to see it and have found it is held at Mifuna matsuri Festival. While shirabyoshi no mai is presented at a garden of Jonan-gu Shrine, it is performed on a boat with a court music at Mifune matsuri.

Archived in Kyoto Japan, Festival:

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Azaleas at Nagaoka tenman-gu Shrine – Kyoto, Japan

EW-logoPage Saturday, 16 May, 2015

Nagaoka Tenman-gu Shrine

Nagaoka tenman-gu Shrine locates in the western part of Kyoto. Nagaoka tenman-gu holds probably one of the most extensive Kirishima azaleas in Kyoto.

As a former resident, Sugawara no Michizane, a 9th century aristocrat and politician, settled in the current place of Nagaoka tenman-gu Shrine, where he enjoyed waka, poetry, and gagaku, a court music, with Ariwara no Narihira, a 9th century aristocrat and poet. The pond and gardens were later extensively developed by Hachijo no miya Toshihito Shinno, an aristocrat and poet, in the mid 17th century.

Daily Photograph – Floating Architecture on a Red Sea

Kirishima azaleas were fully blooming when I arrived. It was at peak!

Since the height of kirishima azaleas is taller than mine, I held my camera and stretched my arm up as much as I could, trying to capture the architecture as if it is floating over a red sea. I tried this several times but it was not successful.

All of sudden, a visitor and photographer came to me and offered me his radder. How lucky I was! I never met him and talked before but his kindness made me smile.

It was early morning. I could tell that he was visiting Nagaoka tenman-gu Shrine before heading to his office because he was wearing a business suit. He passed his radder on me in such a limited time. I deeply thanked for his kindness, climbed his ladder and captured the image after enjoyed the scenery for a while!

Archived in Kyoto Japan, Nagaoka tenman-gu Shrine:

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Azuma asobi Performed at Aoi Matsuri Festival – Kyoto, Japan

EW-logoPage Friday, 15 May, 2015

Azuma asobi

Azusa asobi is one of the most well known ritual performances in Shinto tradition. As an annual Spring performance, Azuma asobi was presented at Aoi matsuri Festival this afternoon. The performers wear a formal costume of konoe bukan, which is an entitled status as a security force in an imperial court before Japan’s modernity. The photograph was taken just before the performance began.

Daily Photograph – Beauty and Courtly Elegance performed at Azuma asobi

Archived in Kyoto Japan, Azuma asobi at Aoi Matsuri Festival:

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Maruyama Terraced Rice Fields – Mie, Japan

EW-logoPage Thursday, 14 May, 2015

Rice Fields

Rice Field is one of the central landscape photography themes in Japan. Maruyama Terraced Rice Field numbered more than 2,000 before but decreased less than 300 due to the decline of youth population. Both youth and elder residents of the village worked together to regenerate their terraced rice fields. The number has increased into 1,340. I was touched by the story and visited the area to see how beauty of the landscape has recurred now.

Daily Photograph – More than 1,000 Terraced Rice Fields

Archived in Mie Japan, Rice Terrace Fields:

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A Spectacular View for Azaleas at Shinsen-en Garden – Kyoto, Japan

EW-logoPage Wednesday, 13 May, 2015

Shinsen-en Garden

Shinsen-en Garden locates in the central Kyoto and resides at the south corner of Nijo Castle. The garden was initially founded as a forbidden garden for the emperors in the early 9th century. It holds a spectacular water landscape garden with a bridge, a torii and surrounded architecture. The garden especially illuminates its beauty during an azalea season.

Daily Photograph – Captured the Reflections of Flowering Azaleas at a Water Surface

Shinsen-en Garden is certainly one of the gardens I would love to recommend anyone to visit during an azalea season. Although a peak of azalea flowers is limited less than a week, if you find any flowering azaleas in the central city, it is time to visit the garden! You will find an extensive Spring colour arrangement of azaleas and enjoy the reflections around a water area.

Archived Kyoto Japan, Shin-en Garden:

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After visiting three gardens and temples from early morning, I felt asleep at home. I visited Yamashina District and Sakyo Ward, from the eastern to western pert of Kyoto, with my friends , a writer and a photographer.

A good friend of mine, a Kyoto based photographer, phoned me and asked me where to visit for flowers in the late afternoon. I had a thought of Shinsen-en Garden for azaleas but was not ready to leave home again. I pushed myself and suggested him to pick me up with his car and visit the garden together.

When we arrived at Shinsen-en Garden, azalea flowers were at peak! We enjoyed photography uttermost till the garden closed. Thank you for your call. I did not regret visiting four gardens in one day. :D

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Shobo-ji Temple with Spring Flowers – Kyoto, Japan

EW-logoPage Tuesday, 12 May, 2015

Shobo-ji Temple

Shobo-ji Temple resides in the western part of Kyoto, Nishikyo Ward. In 754, the temple was originally founded as a secluded place of Chii, a pupil of the 8th century high ranked Chinese monk, Ganjin, who helped to propagate Buddhism in Japan. It was later built as a temple called Ohara-dera Temple by Saicho, a founder of Tendai School Zen Buddhism.

In the 15th century Onin War, the building was destroyed by fire. In the 17th century, the temple received much attention from Keishoin, a mother of the third Tokugawa shogunate Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, and was renovated as Shobo-ji in the current place.

Daily Photograph – Celebrating Beauty of a Pagoda with Spring Flowers

What a joy to see a pagoda which is beautifully coloured by Spring flowers! I was initially visiting Ohanrano-jinja Temple with a friend of mine, a Kyoto based writer, but found an astounding  scenery on my way to Shobo-ji. The pinkish colour of azalea flowers beautifully harmonises its colour with the pagoda.

Archived in Kyoto Japan, Shobo-ji Temple:

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Finding a Gem at Heianjingu Shrine – Kyoto, Japan

EW-logoPage Monday, 11 May, 2015

Mother’s Day

I visited my parents home and celebrated a mother’s day. We have a large garden but unfortunately no one cares about it. I got rid of all weed, put some compost and planted summer vegetable plants and flowers for my mum. I hope she will enjoy them all this summer. :D

Daily Photograph – Blooming Cherry

After two weeks of rainy and cloudy days, Kyoto finally got a blue sky on April. I run to Heianjingu Shrine’s garden, Shinen, and found a beautiful cherry flowers. There was a music rehearsal of Wei Wei Wuu, a talented erhu player from China, for an evening music concert at the garden. It was wonderful. I was moved!

Archived in Kyoto Japan, Cherry:

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Celebrating Beauty of Iris – Kyoto, Japan

EW-logoPage Sunday, 10 May, 2015

Kakitsubata

It is a season to celebrate beauty of iris now! Bluish violet colour iris, rabbitear iris in English and kakitsubata in Japanese, is common to find at Otajinja Shrine, Umenomiya taisha Shrine and many other gardens, temples and shrines in Kyoto.

Kakitsubata has been celebrated its beauty and refinement in its colours and shapes since an ancient period. It is written, especially about its colour, in the 7th century waka poetry collection “Manyoshu“.

Daily Photograph – A Growing Yellow Iris Colony at a Water Area

I have been traveling around the city with a friend of mine, a travel writer, to capture beauty of rabbitear iris, kakitsubata. Unfortunately, the number of kakitsubata seems to be drastically decreasing year by year due to wild deer and alien iris. While kakitsubata was flowering very little, we discovered the gathering of yellow iris around a water area.

Archived in Kyoto Japan, Iris:

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