The Last Post

Well not quite, I’ll still be posting regular blog posts. But this will be the last of my one photograph posts for a while.

I’d like to get your opinion though.

  1. Did you enjoy the posts
  2. Where there too many

Right now I’m sitting in the airport at Hong Kong waiting for my flight to the UK. It’s night, so not a lot to see

I’ll get home tomorrow and then I’ve got to sort through the photographs, grade the keepers, and upload them to Flickr for future blog posts, similar to the series I did from France.

My visit to Japan wouldn’t have happened if my wife Elaine hadn’t encouraged me to go. And I also have to thank Jamie, my eldest son for putting up with me and showing me some of the incredible sights in Japan. My other son Andrew made sure I got to the airport on time and he’s picking me up tomorrow. Finally, thanks Debbie for helping Elaine whilst I was away

Advertisements

Shukkei-en Garden

After the overcrowded gardens of Kyoto it was really nice to visit somewhere peaceful and quiet, yet right in the heart of the city of Hiroshima.

Shukkei-en Garden has a history dating back to 1620 when an expert in the construction of Japanese gardens was brought in from Kyoto by the seventh lord of the Hiroshima Han.

The lake in the garden is full of Carp and you can buy food to feed them for a very modest fee.

So that’s it. My final one photograph post from Japan. Tomorrow I take the Shinkansen to Hakata and the airport before flying to Hong Kong.

It’s been fun writing these posts whilst I’ve been in Japan and I hope you have enjoyed them.

I’ve crammed so much into this trip so look out for more posts about Japan with lots of photographs, once I’ve recovered from the jet lag.

Kyoto, Too Many Tourists

Early start from Hiroshima today to get into Kyoto at 08:30. Straight out to the Bamboo Trail to find thousands of tourists already there so absolutely no chance of the iconic photograph. Didn’t stay long as it was just too crowded.

Next stop the Golden Temple and it was worse there. I was literally marshalled along the path through the gardens but I did manage to break away to get a photograph at one spot were they weren’t trying to move us along.

It’s no fun everyone trying to get a photograph, the Japanese are pretty polite, waiting their turn, but I’m ashamed to say it was the Europeans, Americans, and Australians pushing their way in with no thought to anyone else.

Anyway I decided to move on to the Silver Pavilion and at first it seemed to be quieter there. But then two coach loads turned up and from that point it all went downhill fast. In the end I gave up trying to take photographs and headed away from the main tourist areas to find a beautiful peaceful garden off the beaten path.

Now although I’m getting at tourists I realise that I’m one myself. There were probably other photographers today thinking “I wish he’d get out of the way”

Over this last year I have come to realise that unless you are prepared to be at a location at the crack of dawn you are not going to get a photograph without someone being in the background. Either that or you look for out of the way places that no one visits. It’s just the way it is now.

Nishika Market was the same you couldn’t move there, so I’m the end I crossed the river to Gion District, famous for its geiko or geishas.

Although much quieter, there were still a lot of people about and although I did see two genuine geisha, in a hurry to get somewhere, or maybe avoid the tourists, it would have been impolite to photograph them without asking.

However I did see a lot of tourists wearing Kimonos. Apparently many tourists (that word again) become “studio” geishas for the day. Usually they are from Hong Kong, Tokyo or Taiwan, I even saw two European girls in traditional dress.

So how do you tell the difference? Local knowledge told me that the “studios” tend to pose or agree to you taking their photograph. A real geisha is generally on her way to work or on her way back and has no time for posing.

So there you have it. Did I enjoy Kyoto, yes and no. Depends on which way you look at it the fact that it has been voted the worlds top city for travellers means it’s always going to be busy. Why? Apart from the amazing architecture, Kyoto’s also home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, so plenty to photograph, if you can avoid the tourists.

Big In Japan

Today finds me on the inland sea. I’m on the ferry from Matsuyama back to Hiroshima, a trip of about 2 hours 40 minutes. About is the wrong word to use in Japan when it comes to official times. If they say 2h 40m that’s exactly what they mean.

Anyway it’s big, the Royal Wedding, I thought I’d get away from it by visiting Japan, but no chance.

It’s there, on the telly, in the ships lounge. Oh! Woe is me.

Well I’m nearly at the end of my time in Japan with only a few things left to do on my bucket list. Tomorrow it’s an early start. I’m catching the 7:15 train to Kyoto for a day full of photography. Then one day left to finish anything I’ve missed in Hiroshima, which takes me to Tuesday and my flight to Manchester via Hong Kong, finally getting home on Wednesday.

It’s been fun doing these one photograph posts using my iPhone and the WordPress app. So like out for my final few posts beginning with Kyoto tomorrow.

Fukuya Department Store

The plaque you can see in the photograph shows the store after the A Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

That’s the store today on the opposite side of the road.

The inscription says that the store was approximately 710 metres from the blast centre but it’s construction of steel rods and reinforced concrete meant that it fared better than other buildings in the area.

However it was only the framework that survived. Everything inside the building was destroyed by the shockwave, intense heat and subsequent fires from the Atomic Bomb.

Yakiniku

Literally means grilled meat and I’ve just experienced one of the best, if not pricey, at JoJoEns. I no longer use Trip Advisor but if I did this restaurant would come top.

Thin slices of meat, cooked over a hot grill. If you’ve ever had a Korean Barbecue you’ll get the idea. But this is done Japanese style with prime cuts of meat, accompanied by slow cooked beef soup. I’ve never had beef so tender.

Mitaki Temple

OK! So it’s hot an oppressive in the city. 29 degrees, the humidity is about 75% and rising because we have had a weather warning for severe thunderstorms tonight. This morning I went to Mitaki Temple, but it’s not just a Temple. There are sprawling landscaped gardens and buildings nestled in woodland up the hillside. It’s a bit of a climb to the top but well worth it as it’s a photographers paradise. Little waterfalls, ponds, dappled light through the forest. You get the picture. Well you don’t as I’m going to show you this building instead.

It’s the Tahoto two storey pagoda dating back to the Muromachi period (1392-1573). The pagoda was relocated from Wakayama Prefecture in 1951 to console the souls of the A Bomb victims.