Friday, October 17, 2014

Moody weather at Heijyo Palace Site

Heijyo Palace Site is the place where Heijyokyo, the ancient capital of Nara, was located about 1300 years ago.  After archaeological research was over, some of the excavated remains were returned to the underground to ensure their conservation while some others are exhibited at the Heijyo Palace Museum. Now it is a vast wild grass field with three reconstructed structures including 朱雀門 Suzaku-mon Gate, 東院庭園To-in Garden, and 大極殿 Daigokuden, which stand far apart from each other in the spacious field.
I walked around the old palace site free and comfortable last week,
feeling the cool and crisp air and listening to the chorus of the insects.
Daigokuden, or Audience Hall

Under the field of vast wild grasses, all that remains is ancient dreams.


I came across a big fallen tree tangled by the broken branches of other tree.
I don't know when and why this tree fell down....maybe because of the typhoon No. 18?
(I went there before the typhoon No. 19.)
When I passed by this tree in April, it was standing tall and proud.

In the ditch

The weather got unnerving rapidly.

It got darker and darker with louder sound of wind.
The moment I thought it was going to rain, it started raining.
I put my camera in the backpack and sheltered myself by a small collapsible parasol.

However, the weather never stays the same for long.
The rain was short-lived and when I was leaving the old palace site, the Audience Hall was
enveloped in the rosy glow of the evening.


- A little more about the Heijyo Palace Site -

Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784. When the capital was moved from Nara to the new capital in 784, large part of the city was abandoned and the major buildings were dismantled and transferred to the new place. Gradually being used as rice paddies, the ancient Nara Palace lay quietly under the rice paddies for more than 1200 years. It was 1852 when a local official realized that the footpaths of the square rice paddies were traces of the 8th century grid system of the ancient capital. Years long later in 1963, the government realized at last the historic value of the site and bought the rice paddies from the farmers. Today almost all the site is owned by the national government and is preserved as a Special National Historic Site. It was designated as World Heritage Site in 1998.

Three major structures of the former palace complex were restored according to the information gathered from excavation research so that they would look as close as possible to the originals. The construction was based on old methods, composed of several different pieces of timber without the use of nails or metal. However because of earthquake resistance according to the new building standard codes, some metal bolts and cramps wee used and concrete for the base. As an additional reinforcement, the foundation platform has a base-isolated structure, which is a contemporary technique used as an earthquake-proof measure. Daigokuden, Audience Hall, was reconstructed on the occasion of the 1300th anniversary of Nara Capital and opened to the public in April, 2010.

Major temples like Todai-ji and Kofuku-ji on the hills in the outskirts of the palace site lasted long and Nara has survived as a religious and resort site.

By the way, this is one of the most glorious skies  right after the sunset in October so far.  I took this photo from the western tip of the hill where my residential area is located. The sun set behind the Ikoma Mountains, border of Nara and Osaka.

This post is linked to Friday My Town Shoot Out.
Thank you, Mersad, for hosting.



  1. What a lovely place and your photos are great!

  2. 秋の平城宮はどうなっているのかなあ、又行ってみたいなあと、偶然にも今日思っていました!広々し過ぎてけっこう歩かなければなりませんが、四季を通して新しい発見があるので平城宮は好きです。風にゆれるススキが光っててきれいです。優しい色の夕日もすばらしい!

  3. What a spectacular sky! I can well imagine you under a little umbrella, keeping your camera safe, waiting for the storm to pass, stardust! The history of this place is an interesting example of how societies can abandon and then come full circle to regain a space where ancestral roots lay hidden.

  4. Thank you for the informations and for the beautiful pictures ! They are gorgeous !!! I hope that no more typhoon will cross your country.
    Have a cosy weekend !

  5. I am always mesmerized by the beauty of your photos and landscapes that you let us know. The stories that remain submerged by these lush fields and purple sunset make you forget for a while that your land is often covered by terrible hurricanes. The nature is wonderful and terrible at the same time. Have a nice weekend.

  6. i love the wild grasses as much as i like wildflowers. :)

  7. The wild grasses are really beautiful gently bending with the wind. Sometimes they give the appearance of waves crossing over the fields. For unknown reasons an apparently healthy tree can sadly suddenly collapse and die - may be it was simply a case that its time had come.

  8. I really like the first photograph showing the white plumes of grass. I'm glad this ancient site has been excavated and kept safe after so many hundreds of years of growing rice. And your last picture shows a spectacular sky.... really beautiful!
    I'm happy that you and your camera stayed dry in the rain shower.

  9. Tack för de vackra bilderna blir så fascinerad av de vajande gräset på bilden i slutet. Det är en fröjd att få läsa dina inlägg om de ställen du har runt dig
    Ha en fin lördag
    kram Meta

  10. The grasses are magical - like fairy fluff. I do love seeing fields of wild grasses, especially if there is a breeze. The fallen tree seems like a metaphor to me. I'm glad that you got to see it while it stood proud and tall. The lights of the neighborhood at sunset look like fireflies. A lovely post!

  11. Yokoさん こんにちは。
     時間をかけて訪れても これ程の景色は見る事ができないでしょう。
     奈良を愛する洋子さんだからこそ 伝わる美しさですね!

  12. Beautiful post! I have just found your lovely blog - it's a treasure. Your comment about dreams under the grasses reminds me of Basho's haiku in his haibun "The Narrow Road to the Interior."
    Summer grasses/all that remains of great warriors'/ imperial dreams


    1. Thanks for your visit and a comment. Whenever I stand at the remains, I think of fleeting prosperity and decline of mankind and remember Basho’s haiku which you mentioned.

  13. Hi Yoko, I like the idea of ancient dreams remaining.......some say that everything leaves an imprint, so if this is the case the dreams are alive and well living among the beautiful grasses. Your words and images evoke the spirit of place perfectly.
    And the fabulous evening sky....what a gift!

    Wishing you a happy week,

  14. Dear're reputation for beautiful and creative photography and for creating fascinating narratives remains intact! Such a gorgeous place that you've captured so well. As an historian, I love reading about such places and I'm so glad that it has been restored and will be available for future generations.

    I've thought about you frequently in the past weeks because of the storms that threatened Japan. I hope you came through them without a problem.

    Best wishes, as always!

  15. such exquisite photographs Stardust!
    what a nice place to wander, explore and be.

  16. Surely this is a site well worth seeing.

  17. 最近、夕日がとても、きれいですね。毎夕方眺めています。シャワーの後の夕焼け、感動された事でしょう。せまる夕闇と共にとても美しいです。平城京のすすきも見ごろですが、セイタカアワダチソウ?の群生すごいですね。この近所では最近あまり見かけないですが。
    Have a nice day!

  18. Your photos are like fairy tales!

  19. こんばんは。 最後の2枚の写真、とても美しいです。いつも写真のセンスの良さにホレボレしています。歴史を愛する者としては、奈良は飛鳥時代からの都として入れて欲しいです。一時、近江大津宮に遷都しましたが、藤原京を外しては寂しいです。

  20. I must agree to ladyfi saying that your posts are like fairytales. I've asked myself several times, where on the beautiful earth dies she live to have these very beautiful scenery all the time. I've never been more interested in visiting Japan than after meeting your posts.

    Oh typhoons, how do I know about them. Recently typhoon in Philippines destroyed many old trees again. I'll miss those trees when I go visit.

  21. どうしたらこんなに美しい写真が撮れるんだろうといつも思います。何を題材にしても、ほんとに魅力的です。平城京の再建は、1000年以上もの間眠っていた夢が、地道な努力と固い信念を持ってこつこつと細心の注意を払って辿って行った方々によって目覚めたものですね。夕陽も永遠の世界を垣間見せてくれるようで、素晴らしいの一言です。

  22. beautiful place, the grasses are like feathers

  23. This is beautiful. And I always love the different shapes and colours of grass. What a good idea to reconstruct the temple as it was so that it rises again from the ground.

  24. Πραγματικά θαυμάσιος και ιστορικός τόπος αγαπητή μου φίλη YoKo!!!!
    Με το ενδιαφέρον ρεπορτάζ και τις θαυμάσιες φωτογραφίες σου, μάθαμε σήμερα τόσα πολλά για την πατρίδα σου Nara!
    Σου στέλνω μια μεγάλη αγκαλιά και πολλά φιλιά σε όλους σας!

  25. 一番最初のすすきが風になびいてる写真は最高ですね。 次第に寒くなってくるのが分かります。 美しい写真を見るのは気持ちが豊になるような気がします。 すごいテクニックに感動しました。 Amazing!

  26. 華麗なススキ野です。 風が柔らかそうな感じまでしてきます。 幾重にも枯野の模様が重なって、秋らしい景色です。 

    それに、夕日がすごく似合う歴史的建造物です。 とても良いタイミングで撮影されました。


  27. Hi, Yoko! Your images do not a all look moody.They are just beautiful. Moody is our seascape these days: the foliage season is over and snow hasn't fallen yet. Everything is grey and cheerless. I'm longing for colour.
    I've shared impressions on Kirino Natsuo's "Out". Have you read it? And how was the book received? I would really appreciate your opinion. Enjoy Sunday!

  28. °.♪♬
    Fotografias deslumbrantes!!!

    Bom domingo, amiga!
    Beijinhos do Brasil.

  29. I always look forward to the grasses of autumn, susuki and ragweed. They really get on well together, in sunlight as well as in rain! Finally, the souls that called this place a home 1300 years ago, are now at rest and can enjoy quiet days and nights. I like your photos and the October sunset looks gorgeous!


Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I will visit your blog shortly. Have a nice day!