Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

I’ve always loved Japanese red maples.

Saw this photo the other day and it simply took my breath away.

Mount Fuji with Japanese red maples.


So beautiful!




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In response to my last blog about log houses, a Japanese friend of mine – Mustang.Koji – recently mentioned the wooden homes of Shirakawa-go, Japan.


This was my introduction to the Minka wooden homes of Japan.


The term Minka (民家 literally “house of the people”)  covers houses that traditionally accommodated a wide variety of people such as farmers, artisans, and merchants (i.e., the three non-samurai castes).


My understanding is that these homes are traditionally made completely of wood. No nails used in construction!

minka-4(Gasshō style roof – farmhouse)

The Gasshō-zukuri (合掌造) style minka have vast roofs that are a large form of the sasu structural system. Their name derives from the similarity of the roof shape to two hands in prayer. They are frequently found in Gifu Prefecture.

minka-5(Honmune style house with birdlike decoration on the gable)

Honmune-zukuri (本棟造) literally means “true ridge”. The style has a nearly square plan with a gabled roof that is board covered. The gable end of the house is particularly impressive with its composition of beams, eaves and braces. The gable is topped by a birdlike ornament called a suzume-odori (雀踊り). Houses of this type can be found in Gunma, Nara, Yamaguchi and Kouchi prefectures.

Traditional-Hearth(Traditional Japanese hearth – irori [囲炉裏)])

These houses fascinate me!

minka-Ogimachi_Village(Gasshō-zukuri, Ogimachi Village)

Thanks to Mustang.Koji for bring this style of architecture to my attention… and to yours.


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The Sagano Bamboo Forest is located in Arashiyama, a nationally-designated historic site. The pathway you see in the picture below is 500m long, and runs through one of Japan’s most beautiful bamboo forests.


No wonder the Agency for Cultural Affairs declared Arashiyama a “Place of Scenic Beauty”. This forest is close to many famous temple and shrines, including the Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple.


The sound the wind makes, as it blows through the tall bamboo trees, has been voted by the Japanese authorities as one of 100 must-preserve sounds of Japan.


The text is from ‘10 Amazing Tree Tunnels in the World‘ at AmazingWorldStuffs.com.

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Gingko biloba is a highly venerated tree in Japanese culture. Six ginkgo trees survived the Hiroshima bombing, continuing to grow despite facing so many challenges, and are still alive today. Therefore, the Japanese regard the gingko as “the bearer of hope”. It is also known as “the survivor” or “the living fossil.”


Around 65,000 ginkgoes grace Tokyo’s streets, gardens and parks today.  The ‘tree tunnel’ you see in the above photograph is located in the outer garden of Meiji Shrine, Tokyo.


The above text is taken from the AmazingWorldStuffs.com artile, 10 Amazing Tree Tunnels in the World.

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Back to Japan for a ‘knock you off your socks’ tree.

In the Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi, Japan sits an incredibly gorgeous wisteria tree that’s often referred to as the most beautiful in the whole world.

Wisteria Tree: Ashikaga Flower Park, Tochigi, Japan

WisteriaTree-AshikagaFlowerPark-TochigiJapan(Image Credit: Flickr: 66433743@N00)

The largest and oldest in Japan, the tree is the main attraction at the flower park as visitors flock to see it in full bloom.

WisteriaTree-brian-young(Image Credit: Brian Young)

Dating back to approximately 1870, the 143-year-old tree has branches that are supported by beams, which creates a a stunning flower umbrella.

WisteriaTree-Takahiro-Urano(Image Credit: Takahiro Urano)

Best time to visit the park to see all of the park’s beautiful wisteria trees? Mid-April to mid-May. Of course, if you can’t make it, you can take a virtual tour of the park courtesy of photographer Ralph Mirebs.

For more photos of this incredible tree, to go MyModernMet.


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The cherry blossom is an iconic Japanese image.

Cherry Blossom Trees, Japan

The season is short so it must be fully appreciated when the blossoms are in bloom.


Small, delicate, beautiful…


But seeing cherry trees on a large scale…


Dozens, hundreds…

Fuji Temple

Thousands of cherry trees carpeting the landscape. My mind reels at the thought.


And yet when all is said and done, it comes down to each individual blossom, standing on its own.


“The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.” [1]aa-kendo-kanji-red___________________________________________________________________________

[1] Lord Katsumoto (from the movie, ‘The Last Samurai‘)

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Temperate Rainforests can be found on the west coast of North America but the one I want to show you today is located on the other side of the Pacific.

The Yakushima Forest, Japan.

The lushness of the forest on Yakushima is what grabbed my attention.


Some of the best preserved examples of forest are found in Kirishima-Yaku National Park on the Island of Yakushima off of Kyūshū in a very wet climate (the annual rainfall is 4,000 to 10,000 mm depending on altitude).


Because of relatively infertile soils on granite, Yakushima’s forests in higher elevations are dominated by a giant conifer species, Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica), rather than deciduous forests typical of the mainland.

yakushima-jomonsugi-panorama-(屋久島の縄文杉 – Jōmon Sugi)

Jōmon Sugi  is the largest specimen of Japanese Cedar on Yakushima.


The top photo is a common wallpaper image. I was not able to find out the name of the photographer. If anyone can help me with this, I’d appreciate it.

The bottom image by Luke O’Brien. Check out his other wonderful Yakushima photographs here and here!

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