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When the Maple Tree Glowed (Mount Koya, Japan)

During the season of autumn foliage, the leaves of the trees turn red due to the cold weather. The practice of gathering the autumn leaves which fall to the ground is a custom from ancient times, and it’s common in Japan to use the leaves you have picked up as bookmarks.

#traveldeeper #yahootravelexplorers #natgeoexpeditions #japan #mountkoya #koyasan #canon #natgeocreative #natgeotravel #exploringtheglobe #photoblipoint #beautifuldestinations
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Dreamy Mountain Scene in Miyoshi (Iya Valley, Japan)

#traveldeeper #yahootravelexplorers #natgeoexpeditions #Japan #iyavalley #miyoshi #kimono#nature
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The Tea Ceremony (Miyajima, Japan)

Not to far away from the famous torii gate of Itsukushima, I witnessed a private, traditional tea serving ceremony, also called Chanoyu, Sado or simply Ocha in Japanese. It is a choreographic ritual of preparing and serving Japanese green tea, called Matcha, together with traditional Japanese sweets to balance with the bitter taste of the tea. Preparing tea in this ceremony means pouring all one's attention into the predefined movements. The whole process is not about drinking tea, but is about aesthetics, preparing a bowl of tea from one's heart. It was a very nice experience.

#yahootravelexplorers #traveldeeper #natgeoexpeditions #Japan#chanoyu
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Oku-Iya Kazurabashi bridge over the Iya river (Iya Valley, Japan)

In the past, suspension bridges made of mountain vines (kazurabashi) were one of the only ways to easily move people and goods across the river of the of the Iya Valley. History is unclear about their origins, but legends say that they were either first raised by Kobo Daishi, founder of the Shingon Sect of Japanese Buddhism, or created by Heike refugees hiding in the area after their defeat in the Gempei War (1180-1185) as a means of quickly cutting off access to the valley. 13 bridges once spanned the valley, but only three survive today.

#traveldeeper #yahootravelexplorers #natgeoexpeditions #Japan #iyavalley #kazurabashi #canon
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Pilgrim at the Zentsuji Temple (Kagawa Prefecture, Japan)

Zentsuji is the birthplace of one of the most revered figures of Japanese Buddhism, the high priest Kobo Daishi, or "Kukai". He built this temple himself when he returned from China in 807, and named it after his father.

#traveldeeper #yahootravelexplorers #leicam240 #natgeoexpeditions #Japan #Zentsuji
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Okunoin cemetery (Mount Koya, Japan)

Okunoin is Japan's largest cemetery. Stretching away to either side, the forest floor is scattered with more than 200,000 stone stupas of all shapes and sizes. Here and there you’ll also find Jizō statues and the occasional war memorial. A large number of historical characters are also buried here, among them the great general Oda Nobunaga.

#traveldeeper #yahootravelexplorers #natgeoexpeditions #Japan #Okunoin #mountkoya #sacred
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Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kyoto, Japan)

Kinkaku-ji, officially named Rokuon-ji, is one of the most popular Zen Buddhist temples in Japan. It's a three-story building housing relics of the Buddha (Buddha's Ashes).

#traveldeeper #yahootravelexplorers #natgeoexpeditions #japan #Kinkakuji #goldenpavilion #kyoto #leicaM

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The Maiko (Kyoto, Japan)

Kyoto is the heart of Japan’s geisha world. In Kyoto, however, fully-fledged geisha are properly called geiko. Young ladies, usually between the ages of 15 and 20, train for five years to become a geiko. During this period, they are known as maiko. Today, only a few hundred true geishas remain in Kyoto.

Meeting one of Kyoto’s geishas was truly a magical and memorable experience.

#traveldeeper #yahootravelexplorers #natgeoexpeditions #Japan #geisha
#kyoto #leicam240
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Oku-Iya Kazurabashi bridge over the Iya river (Iya Valley, Japan)

13 suspension bridges made of mountain vines (kazurabashi) used to be found throughout the Iya Valley and provided a vital means of getting people and goods across the river in the past. Two of the surviving bridges still stand side by side deep in the inner valley. They are known as the Oku-Iya Kazurabashi or couples bridges.

From one viewpoint, both bridges can be seen one behind the other. As I made my way between the rocks in the riverbed, on under a constant rain, I noticed this cairn, which I included on this creative composition.

#traveldeeper #yahootravelexplorers #natgeoexpeditions #Japan #iyavalley #Cairn #kazurabashi #leicam240
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The Magnificent Torii Gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine (Kyoto, Japan)

One of the main objectives from my trip to Japan was to capture the row of vermilion torii gates that straddle the paths at Fushimi Inari Shrine. Since early Japan, Inari was seen as the patron of business, traditionally worshipped by merchants and manufacturers. Each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha is donated by a Japanese business. First and foremost, though, Inari is the god of rice.

Due to the extreme popularity of the site, the only way to avoid the masses and “pull off” the shot was to get there early in the morning, as soon as the shrine opened to the public.

#traveldeeper #yahootravelexplorers #natgeoexpeditions #Japan #kyoto #FushimiInari #toriigates
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