Thursday, November 10, 2005

Four Seasons - A Natural Beauty

The Japanese make a lot of the fact that they have four distinct seasons - as if it was something unique to their country. Cold, dry winters and hot, humid summers can be found all over the world but there are certain seasonal treats that only Japan can offer.

Spring is not really my favorite season. I mean flowers are nice but I am allergic to pollens. This picture was taken at Hikone Castle, Shiga Prefecture. Hikone Castle was built over 400 years ago. An original castle, that survived the post-feudal era without undergoing destruction and reconstruction.

The cherry blossom (sakura) is Japan's unofficial national flower. Hanami literally means 'flower viewing', however, it commonly refers only to 'cherry blossom viewing'.

Summer in Japan is hot and humid. At the weekend, people flock to the beaches or to the relative cool of the mountains. Summer is also the season of festivals and hanabi (fireworks). Shown is Kitano, a city district at the foot of Mount Rokko where many Western business people settled down in the second half of the 19th century after the Port of Kobe was open for foreign trading.

The Byodoin temple was first a rural villa owned by Fujiwara Michinaga, a powerful regent and the model for the hero Genji in Tale of Genji. Then, it was converted into a temple in 1052.

I must say that autumn is my favorite season. Nice weather and splendid scenery. And the koyo (red leaves) of late autumn are an often breathtaking sight.

Tokufuji is a Zen temple, one of Japan's most spectacular (and crowded) spots for autumn leaf viewing.

This picture was taken in Ueno Park, Tokyo, two years ago (2002).

I must say that winter is cold but I rather have long chilly winter than hot sweaty summer. And the snows of winter are eagerly awaited by skiers and snowboarders.

19 comments:

zbjernak said...

loves all seasons tht not available in malaysia...

ahhahahaha

never experience snow before...
but i guess...autumn has the best view

Melissa said...

The first fall photo is AMAZING ! I love fall...especially in Japan. The only bad thing about fall is that it means winter is on the way! :(

Sweepy said...

Hee, sugoi desu nee!! Those are amazing pictures. In Canada, well, I can only speak for southern Ontario, we too experience 4 seasons, but...spring and autumn is very short-lived. A lot of Canadians like myself consider Canada to have 2 seasons. Quite truthfully, the season changes are not as pretty as Japan's. We need a skillful photographer to capture the beauty of our Country. Kanada wa chotto tsumaranai desu yo...

Sweepy said...

By the way, did you use any kind of colour filter for any of the pictures? They are so vivid in colour...wow...

Lee Ai Ling said...

Nice shot of the momiji. Must go Shugakuin Imperial Villa....gorgeous place in fall and you can indulge in your photo-taking hobby with beautiful results. And the best thing is that it is FREE!!

Acrix said...

I dun think i;ll like winter coz i can;t really stand the cold~ Maybe some would say the all year round summer in Malaysia sux but i find it as a blessing :) Love the bright sun, and warmth!

Sidney said...

Wow! Nice series. Great way to illustrate the four seasons! Well done!

Lene said...

These pictures are breathtaking. If only there's spring, fall and winter here in the Philippines. :(

Anyways, I really admire your photography. Keep up the good work! =)

Lrong said...

Byodoin temple is the one in the ten yen coin... no?

Eddie said...

Halo.. no new pictures ?
I guess we have to wait for new picture from Malaysia..

Patrick Leong said...

zbjernak : my first time seeing snow was probably 5 or 6 years back when i was in wisconsin. a brutally cold first winter experience !

melissa : hey. you know what ... another picture of mine published today in japan times (11th november 2005). but also the 2nd time they have mis-spelled my name.

sweepy : yes. i enjoy the four seasons in japan very much. no filter for the pictures. just some photoshop editing :P

ai ling : ah ... shugakuin imperial villa. yes. i plan to go this autumn. you are going as well ? i am also planning to visit arashiyama and sagano the bamboo forest.

acrix : i like winter. it is nice especially when it is snowing lightly and outside all you see are white rooftops.

sidney : will post more pictures of the autumn season. still green for most part of the city now. perhaps the next one or two weeks.

arglene : thanks. yes. autumn is my favorite season. i will try to enjoy this season as much as i can.

lrong : yup. right. have you not been there ? are you coming to kyoto during autumn ? it is beautiful here - the gardens, temples and shrines.

eddie : yeah. running out of pictures. running out of idea too.

Amanda Brightwell said...

Fall is my fav season also. LOVE the 1st changing leaves photo btw.

Jean said...

I like much these photographs four season old, they are very
beautiful. Your blog is very interessant.

Primrose said...

I guess I like spring but like zbjernak, autumn would be my favourite. In fact, according to the stars, Autumn's my season. :) Make sure you have your anti-histamines handy.

Amber Amethryne said...

Autumn is my favourite season too. 17 - 18 degree Celsius is the perfect temperature for me.

Jean said...

Merci ,thank you for this beautiful pictures !!
Il love the tree of former .

Melissa said...

Patrick! That sucks! I was afraid they mispelled my name too because it was misspelled on the envelope! I wish I could find the Japan Times out here in Inaka-land! Which photo was it? I hope it was the one of the beautiful fall garden! Where was that?

Acrix! Malaysia has the right idea! Summer all year round?! Now thats what Im talking about! :)

Patrick Leong said...

amanda : thanks. how is autumn in canada ? pretty too i think.

jean : thank you for your comment. many of us are waiting anxiously for the picturesque autumn scenery. it will be perfect autumn colour in kyoto the next one week or two. probably one were to go to the higher hills, one can already enjoy the mood of autumn.

primrose : you need anti-histamines during autumn too ? wow ! sometimes i take those during spring. i am super-allergic to pollens.

amber amethryne : it is probably about 7 degree celsius tonight. it is very cold tonight.

melissa : no. it was one of the pictures that i took during the gion festival.

Ed said...

Terrific colours Patrick. I really love the composition of the first photo. Excellent choice of background and use of DOF.