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.























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.


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


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.


Interior of Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple



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 ] – 


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.


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”.


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.


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.


Minato Mirai, Yokohama

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


Minato Mirai Skyline, Yokohama


Rainbow Bridge


Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo


Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo

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


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.



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


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



Nihonbashi 2015



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.



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



Lion at Nihonbashi Bridge



Kirin ( a mythical creature) at the Nihonbashi Bridge


The engraving “Nihonbashi” in Hiragana and Kanji



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



Zero Milestone of Tokyo City



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.

IMG_0573 copy

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:


Nihonbashi 1911




Nihonbashi 1933




Nihonbashi after 1945 bombing



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


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 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.


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.

Dawn of 2012 & A trip to Kyoto – II

After visiting Kin-Kaku-ji, we took a bus to Ryoan-ji temple. The Kyoyochi Pond is another admirable pond in Kyoto. It is lined with Persimmon trees. The pond looked great even in the winter. I couldn’t imagine how beautiful it would be in spring.

Kyoyochi Pond

Kyoyochi Pond at Ryoan-ji

There is a small island in the pond which is called the “Benten Island”. The brochure said there are seven deities and one of them is the “Goddess Sarasvati”. I was quite impressed and was very eager to see how the Goddess Sarasvati is depicted in Japan. Goddess Sarasvati is widely worshipped in India. In Hinduism, Sarasvati is the Goddess of Knowledge, Music, Arts and Science.


The six stone carved idols

We were able to see a small temple but couldn’t see any Goddess inside. Near the temple were six stone carved idols. Both of us couldn’t recognize Goddess Sarasvati. We looked up and down in the island searching for Sarasvati and proceeded to the main building.

Temple & The stones on the torii

Temple & stones on the Torii

After returning from Kyoto, I googled to get some information about the Goddess Sarasvati in Ryoan-ji. I found out that “Benten island” is named after her. Benten is the short form of “Benzaiten”. Benzaiten is the Japanese name for the Hindu Goddess Sarasvati. Worship of Sarasvati/Benzaiten arrived in Japan during the 6th-8th century, mainly via the Chinese translations of “Sutra of Golden light”. This sutra was originally written in India in Sanskrit in the name of “Suvarnaprabhasa-sutra”. It was translated to Chinese and later translated to many other languages. Back in India, Sarasvati holds a Veena while in Japan she holds a Biwa, a traditional Japanese lute.

Goddess Sarasvati & Goddess Benzaiten

Goddess Sarasvati & Goddess Benzaiten

 The article specified that our wishes will come true if we place a stone on the torii (gate found at the entrance of the temple). I then zoomed our photos of the torii and found stones placed on it. We dint know about it when we were there 😦

We reached the Rock garden. It was nothing like what I imagined. It consists of white gravel and 15 rocks. It is rectangular, has no trees and surrounded by low earthen walls. The walls were made of clay boiled in oil. The brochure says it’s up to each visitor to find out what this garden signifies. The longer we look at it, the more varied our imagination becomes. This must be interesting to people who meditate.

All I could see/imagine was on the earthen walls. I felt like there was a man walking at sunset. He looked like he wore pants with his hands in the pockets. 😛 I know… I know… It was centuries before and its Japan…

Dawn of 2012 & A trip to Kyoto

Ganesh and I started off to Osaka early in the morning by car with our neighbors. For the first time in 2 months in Japan I saw the sun dawn… With the snow glittering on either side of the road.. and I searching for the kanjis I knew from the name boards… 😛 By then I knew around 25 kanjis.. and bombarding Ganesh with questions.. “What does that kanji mean..?” “Thats Kawa, right..?” , “Hey look.. I can read that sentence.. Its written in Hiragana”.. And Ganesh patiently answering me.. and getting restless when he dint recognize a Kanji 😛

We reached Osaka and took a train to Kyoto while our neighbors headed to the Universal Studios. It took around 30 minutes to reach Kyoto. It was a bright, sunny day. We took bus passes which costed 500yen each. They were valid for the whole day. Ganesh took out the Kyoto map with bus route and decided to head towards Kinkaku-ji. It took around 25 min to reach the place. We got down little early and had to walk a little distance. The streets were serene and the weather was perfect with the sun smiling above us and there was a blimp which seemed to follow us everywhere.

Kinkaku-ji.. I had a difficulty in remembering this name. Kin– Kaku– ji… Kin– kaku–ji.. Kin–kaku–ji.. I kept repeating it. Ganesh explained its meaning Kin– Gold, ji-shrine.. He was pleased (read it felt relived) when I got it right. We got our Kippu’s (Tickets) and also a brochure in Eigo (English). I was busy reading the brochure which gave details about the place and its history. We walked few steps and I lifted my face to see the beautiful Kinkaku-ji.. Wowww… It was awesome..!!..  The Golden pavilion and its reflection in the Kyoko-chi pond… was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.

Beautiful Kinkaku-ji and its reflection in Kyoko-chi Pond

Beautiful Kinkaku-ji and its reflection in Kyoko-chi Pond

We admired it for few minutes and started clicking pics. We wanted a pic of us with the Kinkakuji in the background. We asked for help from our fellow tourists. We were not satisfied with the pics though we asked 2-3 different people to click us. With an unsatisfied feeling, we headed to the next place. We had to climb few steps. We got a glimpse of Kinkaku-ji from the little hillock.. and again requested a tourist to click us. It ended up being Ganesh’s favourite pic. And whats next.. It finally ended up to be his profile pic in Facebook.

The Chinese Phoenix on top of the buildingKinkaku-ji dates to 1390’s and was owned by Saionji Kintsune. It was his villa. Later, Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu bought it fromSaionji and transformed into Kinkaku-ji. It was converted to a Zen Buddhist temple by his son.  The top 2 floors of the building are covered with gold leaf. We are not allowed to go anywhere near it. It is said that this temple houses Buddha’s ashes. We can see the Buddha’s statue in the ground floor. There is also a Chinese Phoenix on top of the building.

Japanese TeaThere were shops selling Japan’s authentic stuff.. Ganesh wanted to try tea…Ocha… There was a tea-house called Sekka-tei built in traditional Japanese style. The tea reminded me of Palak.. Just the looks.. I took a sip. Ganesh loved it. He loves everything that’s natural, healthy,green, raw, 😛 etc etc.. Just the opposite here.. he calls me a Junkie..

There was a temple dedicated to Goddess of Fire. We saw people praying and we prayed too..  We followed our fellow tourists to the next place. My next post is about the other places we visited in Kyoto on the same day..