So there was this park that wasn’t in any guidebook online I could find; you really have to be searching for it specificaly. It’s called Koraku park near Korakuen station or Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens. It is actually designated a historical asset and of special historical significance. Each scene in the park is meant to recreate a scene from somewhere in Japan. The red bridge immediately draws your eye. It is a recreation of the Tsutenkyo Bridge from the Kyoto temple Tofukuji. Many of the views of the bridge are partially obscured from other viewpoints and looking up at this bridge didn’t really highlight anything so this is my favourite view that shows the red popping amidst the green, but also gives some movement to the picture as it leads your eye off to the other side.
The full moon bridge is named because when the river below is high, you get a reflection of a full moon from the bridge’s arch. This is actually recreating Seiko Park from China. I tried photographing it from all angles, similar to the red bridge above, but in this case, simple was best. Head on to show the gracefulness of the lines of the bridge.
I love to eat and I’m an engineer. What better way to learn about a culture than to flame broil some tofu? This hands-on cooking course was perfect. Small groups, instruction in perfect English by locals and all about local food. Below we prepare a miso sauce firm tofu skewers. We learned the local uses of white versus red miso (white is for special occasions!)
And we also made Japanese spring chicken stew that is not so common in North America.
And lastly, interesting combinations of local crunchy cucumbers and the ever present dried fish!
Our hosts were lovely – see more at Cooking Sun and/or book at GoVoyagin!
If you’ve followed my blog (please do!) you will know I photograph animals. A lot of animals. So when I got this chance to get close up to a beautiful wild heron (using my standard zoom – not even telephoto!) I took it. This first photo shows the detail of the plumage and subtle shades of colours.
The second shot is the one I’d hang on the wall though. Waiting with just a little patience, the bird moved very, very slowly underneath a tree. Because the crane was hunting, there were no ripples in the water. This was the last in a series of shots where the bird’s shadow was fully immersed in the trees shadow.
My tour guide took me to Otagi Nenbutsu-ji temple in Arashiyama near Kyoto and it really was one of the coolest temples with the added bonus that it is far, FAR from the usual tourist pathways (not a bamboo forest in sight). The temple has hundreds of these statues of rakan (Buddha’s disciples) and each has their own face, clothes and special detail. But I like the photo above for it’s simplicity. The statue’s face is serene and the discolouration gives it an unusual twist. Perhaps he’s sinister, perhaps he’s exotic, maybe he’s just watching YOU! Who knows? He could be whatever you want him to be. The two guys below are a different world away. Sharing a drink (probably sake?) and having a great time.
I luuuuuvvvvv markets. I’ve been to markets on at least 4 continents and when I was in Kyoto and heard they had a FOOD market, it was a must see destination for me. These two photos show two different aspects of markets. The first is the gorgeous eye candy displays. Displays like these are wonderful for photography not to mention the foodie inside me. However, I have come over the years to be brave enough to photograph the scene in the second photograph – the action that brings the market to life. While the barrels form a pleasing composition – slightly at an angle leading your eye towards the bottom left – and add lovely texture with the dark wood and the rope wrap; the interaction of the vendor and buyer capture a moment that encapsulates what markets mean!
My first time in Japan and I hit it smack dab between the Cherry Blossoms and the Iris blooming seasons. I was lucky to find these late blooming cherry trees in the Kyoto Botanical Gardens. I like this photo because you can often get lost trying to photograph a whole grove of cherry trees, but this close up shows the pom-pom like nature of the cherry blossoms – their texture and their rich colour up close. Spring in Japan really did mean celebrating the green of the maple leaves. And when you get the light just right, they have a beauty all their own.