Autumn Colors – 2011, Nagoya


It was early December of 2011 and I was new to Japan . I took a stroll to the nearby Chikusa park and was awestruck by the clear blue sky and colorful trees.

Today’s clear blue sky reminded me of those days in Nagoya.  I felt an urge to look at those pics and memories came flooding back.  Here are some of my favorite pictures of autumn colors at Chikusa park, Nagoya, clicked with our then new DSLR.

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New Year’s Day 2017


It was New Year’s day 2017. We had planned to meet our friends for lunch at Odaiba. We started early to visit a temple at Tsukiji. I came across this temple on the internet and I’ve wanted to visit it for a long time. New Year’s Day was perfect!

Tsukiji Hongwanji temple is a Buddhist temple very close to the famous Tsukiji market. It’s exterior is made of stone unlike other Buddhist temples in Japan. The stone exterior is based on ancient Indian architecture.

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People lining up in front of Tsukiji Hongwanji temple on New Year’s day

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Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple

The interior is just like any other Buddhist temple in Japan. I’ve seen the crowd in shrines and temples on New Year’s Day. But this temple was not very crowded. We waited for just about 5 minutes to get inside.

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Interior of Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple

 

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諦 (tai) means to see it attentively, or to see it as it is. It is a translation of the Sanskrit word, Satya for truth. How rich we can be at mind and heart by seeing ourselves, others, objects and events: everything as it is! I’d like to take this point of view to my heart at this very beginning of the new year.  – Yugen Yasunaga the Director-general, Tsukiji-hongwanji

Card of January [ Calligraphy for the New Year ] – 

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Finally, my favorite click!

Pink Flowers


March, 2012: That was my first winter in Japan. I was desperately waiting for spring. It was then I saw this plum blossom at a local park. I felt so relived and happy when people told me that spring is just around the corner.

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Plum Blossom -Tsurumai Park, Nagoya

This is Japanese Camellia (Camellia japonica). I instantly fell in love with this amazing flower. The symmetry of petals is just perfect. It slightly resembles a rose and so it’s called the “Rose of winter”.

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Japanese Camellia – Atsuta Jingu, Nagoya

Tokyo Trip, Dec 2011


These are the photos taken during our trip to Tokyo in Dec 2011. It was my first trip to Tokyo but for GK it wasn’t. GK was living in Tokyo for 7 long years before moving to Nagoya.

That was the first time I saw Mt.Fuji and just couldn’t take my eyes off.

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Mt.Fuji, Japan

We went to Minato Mirai in the evening. I loved the full moon that day. This photo is one of my favourite.

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Minato Mirai, Yokohama

I remember GK took these two photos. The Minato Mirai skyline and Rainbow bridge in Odaiba.

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Minato Mirai Skyline, Yokohama

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Rainbow Bridge

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Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo

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Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo

Finally, a picture of Hachiko at the Shibuya station exit.

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Hachiko, Shibuya

 

An afternoon stroll on the Nihonbashi bridge


I took a stroll on the Nihonbashi bridge after watching a TV programme which explained the history behind this bridge.  The centre of the bridge is the Zero milestone/ Kilometre zero for Tokyo i.e the distance to other cities from Tokyo is measured from this point. It was interesting to know that the area around the bridge is named after the bridge.

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Nihonbashi

日本橋(Nihombashi/Nihonbashi)   –>日本 (Nihon)- Japan, 橋 (Hashi)- Bridge.

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The first Nihonbashi Bridge was made of wood and was completed in 1603

 

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Nihonbashi 2015

 

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Zero Milestone in Japan

Nihonbashi Bridge was built in 1603 and designated by the Edo Shogunate government as the starting point of five major roads in Japan. The present Nihonbashi Bridge built in the Renaissance style in 1911, is a double-arched bridge made of stone. The calligraphy engraving “Nihonbashi” on the plaques on each of the four newel posts is based on the work of Yoshinobu Tokugawa, the last Shogun. In 1972, the original “Zero Milestone of Tokyo City”, formerly located in the middle of Nihonbashi Bridge was transferred to this square for preservation and replaced by a memorial plaque. The characters “Zero Milestone of Japan” on the plaque were taken from the writing of the then Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Eisaku Sato.

Both “Zero Milestone of Tokyo City” and Nihonbashi Bridge, which celebrated its eighty-eighth anniversary in 1999, are designated important cultural assets of Japan.

 

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Nihonbashi Bridge built in the Renaissance style in 1911, is a double arched bridge made of stone

 

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Lion at Nihonbashi Bridge

 

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Kirin ( a mythical creature) at the Nihonbashi Bridge

 

The engraving “Nihonbashi” in Hiragana and Kanji

 

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The original “Zero Milestone of Tokyo City”, formerly located in the middle of Nihonbashi Bridge was transferred to this square for preservation

 

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Zero Milestone of Tokyo City

 

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The memorial plaque in the middle of Nihonbashi Bridge

The highway built above definitely spoils the beauty of this stone bridge and also the river below. It’s now dark with no sunlight. This highway was built hastily before the 1964 Summer Olympic games. It is said that, before the construction of the expressway, the Mt.Fuji was clearly visible from the bridge. There is a petition from a number of people  for the removal of the highway.

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The first Mitsukoshi department store

The first Mitsukoshi store was started near Nihonbashi bridge. It was founded by the Mitsui family in 1673 and was formerly known as Echigoya.

Here are some interesting pictures of Nihonbashi:

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Nihonbashi 1911

Source: https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihonbashi

 

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Nihonbashi 1933

Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C5%AB%C5%8D,_Tokyo

 

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Nihonbashi after 1945 bombing

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihonbashi

 

Big time rush..Big time surprise..!!! Part-2


Lulled by the sea waves we had a peaceful sleep at the resort. We woke up to the sound of chirping birds and sunlight streaming through the blinds and wished ourselves a Happy Anniversary. 🙂

We decided to celebrate our anniversary wearing our traditional dress, Saree and Dhoti (In our mother tongue, Telugu, its called Cheera and Pancha) 🙂  Kiyotaka San and Yoriko San joined us in our celebration. Our traditional dress took them by surprise. 🙂

First Wedding Anniversary

Yoriko San suggested us few main tourist spots. We decided to visit Ikema island, Underwater Observatory, Kurima island and Cape Higashi Hennazaki.

The Ikema Bridge connecting Miyakojima with Ikemajima is 1425m in length and was opened in 1992.

Ikema Bridge

Beautiful sea in shades of blue

Ikema beach

Cape Higashi Hennazaki is located on the easternmost tip of Miyako Island. It is approximately 2 km long, flanked by the East China Sea in the North and the Pacific Ocean in the south. There is a light house located at the tip of the cape.

Road leading to the tip of Miyako Island – Cape Higashi Hennazaki

The Light house at Cape Higashi Hennazaki

Cape Higashi Hennazaki

Kurima bridge  is 1,690 meter in length and was completed in 1995. The view of sea from Kurima bridge is spectacular similar to the Ikema bridge.

Kurima Bridge – A view from Kurima island

The Irabu bridge is under construction and is scheduled to be completed in 2014. It will be 3500m long and a major tourist attraction. We didn’t get a chance to go to Irabu Island but we were able to click this pic from Kurima island.

Irabu Bridge

The Emerald Sea at Ingya Marine Garden Park

We drove across the whole island. Agriculture, Fishery and Tourism are the major industries in Miyako. Sugarcane fields were found everywhere. A major portion of Sugarcane products of Okinawa is from Miyako.

Sugarcane field

Dragon Fruit

Farming

After a drive across the island, we planned to spend sometime in the beach near the resort. While Ganesh went snorkeling, I collected few colorful shells and corals. The next day we started back to Nagoya.

It’s a splendid and breathtaking place one has to visit. 🙂 And next to come is my post on Battle of Okinawa.

The photo frame I made using the shells collected at the Miyako beach

Nihon no Ise Jingu – I


After bidding goodbye to winter, excited with the idea of driving a car on a lovely spring day, we planned to take a drive through Mie prefecture.

A two hour drive from Nagoya is the ‘Ise’ city. Ise is well known for the “Ise Grand Shrine” or “Ise Jingu”. It is a Shinto shrine complex. The two main shrines are the Naiku and Geku.

One third of the Ise is forestland owned by Ise Jingu. A happy drive, beautiful landscape, clean river and the astonishing facts of the shrine made Ise one of the unforgettable places we have ever been.

Ujibashi Torii

The Ujibashi Torii leads to the Ujibashi Bridge. It is a huge traditional wooden bridge which spans 101.8 meters over the Isuzugawa River. This bridge is rebuilt every twenty years following the Shikinen Sengu Cycle.

View of Isuzugawa River from Ujibashi Bridge

Naiku Garden

Apart from the Ujibashii Torii at the entrance, there are two other Toriis on the way to the main Shrine. I’ve written about the significance of Torii in my last post.

Temizusha

Temizusha is a place where people purify themselves by rinsing their hands and mouth before going to the shrine.

Isuzugawa River

One of the many old trees

Naiku is dedicated to the worship of Amaterasu-ōmikami. She is the goddess of the sun and a major deity of the Shinto religion. The name Amaterasu is derived from Amateru meaning “shining in heaven.”  “Kami” means God/Natural force/Spirit.

On the way to the main shrine is the Kaguraden. A sacred dance (Kagura) and music are offered to the Kami during ceremonies in this building.

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The Sacred Dance

Shogu is the Main Shrine where the supreme deity Amaterasu-ōmikami is enshrined. It is surrounded by wooden fences. Over 1500 annual rituals are conducted here.

Main Shrine

My next post will be about the Shikinen Sengu ceremony which is held here every 20 years. The next ceremony will be conducted in 2013.