Saturday, February 15, 2014

Silver white wonderland on Valentine's weekend

Hello, dear Friends!  Now that it turned mid-February, are you fed up with snow?  I guess perhaps so, but please bare it with me for a while because snow days in Nara is rare and special as I’ve written many times.

snow on ice at Obuchi-ike Pond
We had the second snowfall from 13th evening to 14th late night in Nara City. The snow was not ephemeral like the first time (Silver white landscape melted into rain) but long-lasting and in tremendous amount. Heavy snow warning was issued for the first time in 24 years. Schools and main highways were closed, trains delayed or suspended, traffic jammed terribly, and people injured on the icy road. You know how unprepared we are to the heavy snow.

I walked along my favorite walking course around the Obuchi-ike Pond, 
armed with water-proof coat and snow boots.
An exclusive residential area surrounds the pond.

Shohaku Art Museum stands in the estate of the late honorary president of  Kintetsu Railway Co.

the pond in autumn
There is Obuchi Bridge almost at the south end of the pond.

When you cross Obuchi Bridge, the scenery changes into rustic feel with traditional Japanese houses, woods, and fields.

In fifteen minutes' walk to the south-east of the pond, there is 御嶽山大和本宮 Ontake-san-Yamato-Hongu.  It is a Shinto shrine dedicated to Mt. OntakeIt is noted for glorious cherry blossoms in spring but snow flowers on the branches are as good as or even better (if only you can brave the cold) than spring blossoms.

There was no one but me in the precinct. The only sound I heard was my breath as I trod on the snow and falling snow on my umbrella. The stones carved with the donaters' names looked standing into eternity.

I sensed someone approaching, but there was no one.  Looking up, I saw a soaring warrior. I learned at home that he was Emperor Jimmu, the first emperor, with his emblematic long bow and an accompanying wild bird.  His reign was legendary 660 BC to 585 BC.

image via wikipedia

I was so absorbed in the serenity that I didn't realize I was wet and chilled to the bone until I came to myself after a while. I hurried back to home to warm myself and dry my camera, crossing that bridge again......

..... and walking along the pond back to the nearest bus stop.

Back home, I had a coffee break with some Valentine's Day chocolates with my husband.
Take care and stay warm!

February 18th

I’m having a break from blogging for a while.
To those who kindly left a comment after this notice, I’ll catch up on my returning.

Thank you, and see you!



  1. beautiful!

    This winter we have had very little snow here in southern Finland. Last four year we had it a lot.

  2. Ni har massor av snö Antar att det är ovanligt hos er. Här har vi ingen fast det brukar vara mycket.
    Ha en fin dag i ert vackra område,
    Kram Meta

  3. Dear Yoko - we have been denied any snow so far this year, but I am happy to see the newly fallen snow in Nara especially as it is so unusual. I love the snow when it first falls - taking a walk in the crisp pure white snow is a treat. Wonderful photo of the red bridge with golden caps - enjoy it whilst you have it.

  4. こんばんは。こちらも27cmも雪が積もりました。 雪景色がとても美しいです。神社も池もそしてソシンロウバイもとても素敵です。 雪の中を随分歩いたようですね。 コーヒーとチョコがとても美味しかったのではと思いました。

  5. Hi Yoko, what an amazing cool post !
    You have taken considerable strain to take these pictures in such harsh weather and we feel lucky to see them just because you had the kindness to share it with us. Thanks so much, Yoko :)
    Living in the tropics with Sun blazing most of the time I always feel snow is cool :) Enjoyed all your spectacular images !
    Yoko, thanks again for this cool post :)

  6. just beautiful - almost magical scenes.

  7. Yokoさん 雪景色撮影を 早速楽しませて頂きました。
    先日 私が雪が降る中の撮影時に感じた事ですが、カメラと自分が濡れる事が気になる上に、人がいない街の不自然さに動揺してしまいました。 洋子さんは自分の欲しい絵をしっかり持って出掛けられているのでしょう。 撮影を楽しまれている様子が伝わってきます。 まずは自分が楽しまないと駄目ですね。 次回トライしてみます。

  8. What a beautiful place to walk. We are well equipped for snow here. I can only imagine how disruptive it must be where you are. But your photos are beautiful - quite magical!

  9. Wygląda to piękne i było z pewnością dla Was zaskoczeniem tyle śniegu. Kłopoty też były jak to niestety jest przy takich opadach. Pozdrawiam.
    It looks beautiful and it was certainly a surprise for you so much snow. Troubles were also, unfortunately, as it is at such precipitation. Yours.

  10. You've captured the magic of winter in these images. I love how the Tori arches provide a burst of colour in the pristine white landscape. Its no wonder you got so engrossed with taking photos.

  11. Lovely! This wintry tale told with pictures is a joy to see through your eyes of enchantment. The snowy pathways you traveled with camera in hand are a wonderland reminiscent of the scenes in movies like Doctor Zhivago. Sounds like you had a perfect end to Valentine’s Day :).

  12. You really do live in a winter wonderland! It's fun to see how mother nature has clothed your area in a white blanket. I'll give you credit for getting out in the cold with your camera to capture such exquisite scenes for your readers! I enjoyed the comparison shots, too. The snow certainly adds another dimension to a scene. Glad you made it home safely and enjoyed those delicious chocolate tidbits with your husband!

    Thanks, too, for your comments on the owls. I enjoyed the Japanese language lesson very much.

    Best wishes to you for a great week ahead!

  13. So many pictures to like! My favourites include the ones which show bright red against the white, and also the tree which looks as if it is laden with blossom but is really laden with snow.emperor Jimmu is very impressive in the snow. But perhaps my favourite is the ducks on the water with snow falling around. It reminds me of when I was once in Canada, canoeing on the lake, with autumn colours of the trees and snow falling around.

  14. ·.°•.¸♡♡
    Suas fotos estão muito bonitas e muito reais.
    Sabemos que a neve não é só paisagens bonitas, mas também ocasiona muitos prejuízos e até mesmo, tragédias.

    ✿彡 ♫°Bom fim de semana!
    °•.¸♫♬° ·.Brasil

  15. How wonderful those pops of red backdropped by your winter white! I also love the snow-covered steps. I'm just noticing your darling grandchildren on the sidebar. Yuto looks so happy! Enjoy those chocolates, Yoko. Perhaps eat one for me...

  16. まあ、なんとどれも雄大な美しい雪景色。雪の一日目に出かけられたんですね。ホント!さぞかし雪にズボズボはまって歩かれたことでしょうね。努力が実ったと思います。この日はバスが出ていたのですよね。私は意気地なくバス停まで行ってあまりの寒さと、歩き辛いのと、思いカメラでギブアップ。バス停の公園で遊ぶ子供達を撮影して家にひきかえってしまいました。雪国の方々に申し訳ないけどまた今年降ってほしいですヨね。

  17. Looks like there's a lot happening in Nara this winter. You are very brave to step out and take these beautiful pictures for us even in this chilly weather. Thank you! I love the contrasts of the reds and blacks popping out of the landscape. I can almost hear the stillness in the scene. I wish I could join you for a cup of coffee and have my share of Japanese chocolates. Wish you a warm week ahead, dear Yoko.

  18. Ha, ha, I took the first spring flowers today here in the German winter (?) / spring (!) sun!!!

    And I thought Nara is located much, much more in the south than my hometown... ;-)

    I really like your snow photos, Yoko, especially the combination of the white snow and the red Tori is really beautifully!

    I'm not sure if I'll get the chance to take any snow photos this winter, but capturing the first harbinger of German spring is fully OK as well... ;-))

    Have a great week,


  19. すごいなあ~あの雪の中を歩いたんですね!そうか、大渕池があったんですね。冷たく白く柔らかく降る雪が華麗な夢物語のようです。でももう雪は・・・いいかな。

  20. 洋子さんもあの雪の日チャレンジしたのですね。私もこりずに又奈良公園行ってきました。帰ったら、靴下びしょびしょでした。大渕池のまわりの散策もいいですね。御岳神社の朱の橋やなんかも白い雪にはえてかわいい感じがします.
    Have a nice day!

  21. I love snowy shots! These are so dreamy and magical!

  22. Your photos are amazingly fabulous.
    Thank you so much for sharing them.

  23. Yoko, your photos are beautiful.
    What a wonderful Valentines Day surprise!

    Thank you for sharing the beauty,

  24. Yoko we really have to thank you for being quite brave going out in this weather to bring all this winter and snow
    beauty home with your camera to present it to us!
    I was getting a bit cold by looking, but nevertheless enjoyed the walk with you being warm and safe near opposite
    the computer screen. I love your pictures - all of them, but my favorites are those icy flower buds! Promise of spring,
    arriving soon! :-)

  25. Some wonderful photos once again, despite (or perhaps because of) the weather. Nice to hear that others apart from the British are caught out by the snow and everything grinds to a halt. Take care.

  26. Oh, I adore snow! Especially the first, when autumn is stubborn. Or heavy snowfalls like in your spectacular, yet cosy Nara. It grants the feeling of serenity, freshness, purity. I once published Ode to Snow! Thank you, Yoko! Take care, please.

  27. It looks like you are living in a snow globe! You have captured so many stunning wintry scenes in this post. Be it spring, summer, autumn or winter, your photographs are exquisite, Yoko. I am also always delighted by your narration. Beautiful post, as always!

  28. Hello, stardust-san.

    Deep snowfall has surprised me. It was a first experience.
    I was informed of the failure is large snow so much.
    On the other hand. There was a lot of opportunity to shoot scenery.
    Snow seems to be delicately makeup Nara.

    Thank you for the beautiful scene.
    Take care of yourself.

  29. こんばんは

    すごい雪でしたね!でもとってもきれいです。ずっと用事があって神戸にいたのですが、あそこはほとんど降らなかったみたい。同じ関西といってもずいぶん違いますね。お写真、どれもステキです。雪、大変ではありますが、雪降る風景は情緒がありますね。Yokoさんはえら~~い! 雪の日にお出かけになって撮影されたんですね。私は巣篭もりでした。もうすぐ暖かくなりそうですね。ゆっくりお休みくださいね。

  30. It looks like it were in Russia, very nice and amazing.

  31. Awesome sharing especially the Shohaku Art Museum shot! Happy belated V-day & enjoy your holiday!

  32. Mesmerizing photos, from the first to the last one. Bright red torii with so much snow is spectacular.

    Finland, on the other hand, had a very strange winter. Usually we have lots of snow from November-December till March-April. This year - just a bit of snow in January and spring weather now. Birds are returning early, and some people even saw mosquitoes already! Seems Nature prefers balance in giving snow away :)

    Have a nice day!

  33. °º♡♡彡

    ♡♬° ·. Bom domingo!
    Ótimo mês de março!
    Beijinhos do Brasil.
    °º♡♡♬° ·.

  34. I am mesmerized by these photos! Now, more than ever, I want to go back to Japan!

  35. Why was this January snowless? I mean, it was beautiful in Nara, but these pictures are more than fabulous - spectacular! I want to see Nara again! Oh, I'm so impressed (for the 2nd time)) that I forgot to greet you. Hi, Yoko! I guess I sound like my favourite Freddie Mercury: I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now!
    I hope you are fine - safe and sound. Dropped in to check and came across that miraculous picture. Did you notice how cute the ducks are on snowy pond? Rubbing at each other trying to keep warm:)
    Please, take care!
    I intended to write about Nara at the week end but headaches made it impossible, and I came up with a picture post. I don't want to be weather dependent, we are too young for that, right?
    With warmest wishes from both of us,


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