Are you familiar with Hirano Shrine in northwest Kyoto? I've been going there for years since we use Hirano Shrine's parking lot whenever we go to the monthly temple sale at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, right next door. I've always enjoyed Hirano Shrine because of its early blooming plum trees and the lovely park connected to it full of irises, or spider lilies, depending on the time of year. What I did not know until today is that it's one of the top spots for cherry blossom viewing in Kyoto! The season isn't far away! I recommend a visit!
These photos were taken on January 25th at Hirano Shrine. Ah, such a beautiful day! And the temple sale next door did not disappoint!
For more information about the Cherry Blossom Festival at Hirano Shrine: https://en.japantravel.com/kyoto/cherry-blossom-festival-at-hirano-shrine/66567
More images of the projection mapping event at Heian Jingu in Kyoto that we visited last week. If you'd like to know more, please see the previous post.
By the way, the official name of the event is "Naked Yorumoude Heian Jingu". "Naked" is the name of the production company, and "yorumode" is a combination of the words "yoru (evening)" and "moude (pilgrimage)".
Since mid-December, Heian Jingu in Kyoto has been opening its temple grounds in the evenings for an immersive experience of light and sound and, wow, it was magical! Throughout the grounds were various projection mapping displays and illuminated art installations and we slowly made our way through them, marvelling at the beauty and creativity. This event has almost come to an end but if Heian Jingu repeats this next year, I highly recommend a visit.
English information and some lovely photos: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/528132
1 minute promotion video: www.adfwebmagazine.jp/en/art/naked-yormoude-heian-jingu-2022-by-naked-at-heian-jingu-kyoto/
(Taking photos was a challenge with the continually changing light and the bitter cold. I'm still not confident taking photos in situations such as these but thankfully I did get a few good photos.)
For many years, some of the more famous temples and shrines in Japan have been organizing light-up events to encourage people to visit during the off-season. These events have been especially popular in Kyoto, and before the pandemic, they brought in hordes of tourists. Well, times have changed, and there are few tourists to be seen these days. However, light-up events have continued to be popular, and many smaller temples and shrines have also started to offer light-up events. These events offer encouragement to local communities and draw in visitors from nearby. And, since it's all outdoors, people feel relatively safe even during these uncertain times.
One such light-up event was held this fall at Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine, on the edge of Kyoto Prefecture. We arrived just as the blue hour was fading, and I was surprised at how few people there were. (Of course, I shouldn't have been surprised since we were there on a weeknight, and it was to be held over several weeks.) We enjoyed the growing darkness and the magic of lighting. Ah, so lovely!
For more about Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine: https://osaka-info.jp/en/discover-kansai/iwashimizu-hachimangu-yawata/
For more about light-up events in Kyoto, 2021: https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/news/temples-and-shrines-in-kyoto-are-holding-evening-illuminations-this-autumn-101321 (There's a beautiful photo of the shrine during this light-up event.)
Interesting fact: Thomas Edison used bamboo from this shrine in the course of making the first light bulb! For more about that, scroll to the bottom of this website: https://travel.gaijinpot.com/iwashimizu-hachimangu-shrine/
I was fascinated by this handle which was on a small standing structure on the grounds of Matsunoo Taisha Shrine in Arashiyama, Kyoto. It was surprisingly small and I loved the care given to the design - those two symmetrical dragon heads and the lovely scales on the main section. I wonder about who designed it and who made it (the same person?), and what considerations where made during the process. Ah, so beautiful... Thank you, whoever you were! (I image it is quite old but, to be honest, I don't really know.)
I'm a photographer based in Osaka, Japan. I love to take photographs. I like to share.