Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社), located in the southern part of Kyoto city, is famous for its thousands of red Torii gates donated by companies around the country. For its photographic scenery, it had been one of my must-visit sites in Japan. We decided to take a day off from school work and visited the shrine with my brother who came here from Cambodia on his holiday. Surprisingly the entrance fee is free.

Fujimi Inari, Kyoto

Fujimi Inari, Kyoto
It requires some patience to exclude visitors from your frame.

Posted in Japan, Landmark

Kobe Stroll

Ikita Shrine's Main Building

It is not often that I go out for photowalk in Japan. In a Friday afternoon, after a brief meeting and lunch with some professors talking about a cross-countries report we are working on since last year, I decided to walk around before heading back home. At about 14:00, starting from Sannomiya where we splitted our ways , I passed Ikita shrine, Chinatown in Momotomachi, Kitano area and lastly Venus Bridge, the place I had longed to visit years ago.

Sannomiya's Shopping Street
Sannomiya Shopping Street, surely one of the places I frequent the most in Kobe.

Food Stand in Chinatown
Most of the food stands in Chinatown disappointedly offer some sort of similar menu

Kitano's うろこの家
Uroko no ie, a European house in Kitano, was once a residence of a Germain family. I might had been inside that house back in 2000 once, but can’t quite recall it.

DSC_0123 The night view from this spot must be nice, but I decided to return home before the sun fall down, as it was a bit cold and I did not bring my tripod along.

Posted in Life in Japan

On the way to Rokkomichi Station

Rokko Yayata Shrine

These are some snapshots I took in between Hankyu Rokko Station and JR Rokko Michi station, while I walked down from school. This time I happened to bring my camera along and the ambient light before the sky turning dark was just nice.

Ramen Shop in Rokko Area
A Ramen shop I passed countless of time. Have never tried it yet, though.

Red Lantern Restaurant, Rokko Area ちょうちん
Red Lantern Restaurant, Chouchin.

Posted in Life in Japan

Sakura around Shukugawa

Sakura Tree along Shukugawa River

It was my first time to visit Shukugawa Park located not very far away from the place I am now living. With 1,000 Sakura trees planted along both sides of the river in 1949, the park is considered as one of the best 100 places in Japan for Hanami, viewing cherry blossom. At first we planned for a picnic there, but the rain forced us to cancel it.

Falling Sakura at Shukugawa

Sakura along Shukugawa at night

Posted in Japan, Nature

Himeji Castle Re-opened

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Finally, Himeji Castle was re-opened yesterday for pubic after more than five year renovation. Built in 14th century, Himeji caster was the first site in Japan to be registered as UNESCO World Heritage in 1993. It is also the only world heritage in Hyogo Prefecture.

I have been there twice last year. On my second visit in November 2014, the blue sheets were removed revealing the whole structure of the caster, although I could not get inside the castle. The cherry blossom view from the castle must be very beautiful especially during the light-up night. Hopefully I can go there again during the cherry blossom season. It must be very crowded during the season.

Posted in Japan, Landmark

Awaji Island Akashi Kaikyo National Park

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Spring is best season to visit the park, especially around early April when the part filled with tulips of various colors. It takes about 20 minute from JR Maiko Station on the express bus. Near the part is Awaji Yumebutai, designed by the renown Tadao Ando and built after the 1995 Great Hanshi Awaji Earthquake.

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Posted in Japan, Nature

Hirosihama, Here I Am

Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima

Last week at last I was able to make my first visit with other students in Kobe University to Hiroshima, the city known for the drop of the first atomic bomb at the end of World War II. To save the travelling cost we decided to travel by train using JRs’ 18 Seishun Kippu, but it took us more time that we expected.

Worse still, it was drizzling when we arrived at Hiroshima station after about seven hours of travelling. After checking in Lappy Guest House, we took the city tram from Hiroshima station to see the Genbaku (Atomic Bomb) Dome, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Sadly I not see it at my favorite blur hour as planned not to mention the undesired drizzling.

The following day we continue our trip to Miyajima, home to another World Heritage Site of Itsukushima Shrine. The shrine was built on the water’s edge mountains in the background. The red Otorii (large shrine gate) standing offshore is probably the most photographed and seen from the shrine. To be honest, I failed to make any shot I am happy with from the trip. This can be my own excuse for the second some day.

View from Miyajima Ferry, Hiroshima

Miyajima, Hiroshima

Posted in Japan, Landmark

O-Mato Taikai in Kyoto

Archery Exhibition Contest at Sanjusangen-do Temple

Originated from Tōshiya, O-mato Taikai, or Festival of the Great Target began in 1861. This annual event is held at on the veranda of Sanjusangen-do temple in Kyoto, drawing roughly 2,000 participants from throughout Japan. Archers shoot arrows into targets approximately 50 – 100 centimeters in diameter and 60 meters away at the opposite end of the veranda. It is held on the second Sunday of January in conjunction with the temple’s most important mass, the Yanagi-no-Okaji, or Rite of the Willow ritual and Japan’s Senjin no Hi, or Coming of Age Day to congratulate all those who reach 20 years old.

On 13 January the dorm I am living in organized a tour to Kyoto and visiting the Sanjusangen-do temple to see the archery exhibition contest was a part of the program. It was far more crowded than I anticipated and I gave up the idea of looking for a good place to take photos of contestants. What worse, we were lost from other members and missed the Thousand Armed Kannon Statues inside the temple’s main hall.

Archery Exhibition Contest at Sanjusangen-do Temple

Archery Exhibition Contest at Sanjusangen-do Temple

Posted in Japan, Life in Japan

FRANGIPANI VILLA HOTEL

Taking photos for Frangipani Villa Hotels was a main reason of my home returning last month. There are six hotels in Phnom Penh run by Frangipani Villa, but I need to work with the newly opened 2 hotels, the Royal Palace and Living Art located near Royal Palace and Tuol Tompoung Respectively.

The location of the Royal Palace facing the King Cremation site is both good and bad. It is good as you can have a commanding view of the cremation site where Cambodian historical event took place from its rooftop (sadly photo was not allowed from the rooftop during the ceremony, except by some privileged photographers). It is bad because the yellowish light from the building was too strong dominating the nearby National Museum and Royal Palace and the site blocks the exterior view of the hotel.

I had a few days for each hotel shooting, but frankly I could not get the photos that satisfy me. Even though the weather could be a reason, I feel I could have done better. I will surely have another try when I have chance to go back home again next time. Below are some shots from Frangipani Villa Hotel Royal Palace. I might upload some from the Living Art later

Posted in Architecture, Cambodia

18 Years After the Earthquake

Gathering to commemorate the Hanshi-Awaji Earthquake on 17 Jan.

Yesterday, 17 January, Kobe City Hall organized an event to commemorate the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake that 18 years ago claimed more than 6,000 lives, most of whom resided in Kobe. The event started from as early as 5 AM at the park located right in front of the City Hall. I could not see the event in the early morning, but I was managed to be there around 5 PM and went up to the City Hall’s observation floor for the bird-eyed view from the top. Light from candles placed in bamboos created the shape of big 1.17.

After 18 years, families of the victims still could not hold their tears, recalling their great losses of families members. May they rest in peace.

Gathering to commemorate the Hanshi-Awaji Earthquake on 17 Jan.

Gathering to commemorate the Hanshi-Awaji Earthquake on 17 Jan.

View from Kobe City Hall

Posted in Japan, Life in Japan