Saturday, April 7, 2018

White Egret in the sea of Sakura

The severity of winter doesn’t affect the blooming time of Sakura (Cherry blossoms).  
The buds of Sakura get into sleep in summer right after birth, get awake 
by the chill air of winter and wait for warm air over 15 degrees C to open.  
This season, too early visit of winter and the sudden warming up from the bitter cold
 followed by the unseasonable warm days made Sakura bloom much earlier than usual.

When Somei-yoshino, the most widely planted flowering cherry trees in Japan, were in full bloom,
I enjoyed "hanami" (cherry blossom viewing) stroll at Himeji Castle, aka White Egret Castle.
The Castle looked like floating over the pink clouds like a white egret with spreading wings.

National Treasure, UNESCO World Heritage site
Current structure from the 17th century

Sangoku-bori Moat

 Himeji Castle is a massively but gracefully fortified castle which was never attacked. 
From the Hishi Gate to the main keep, the labyrinth-like approach leads through multiple gates, 
walled paths, and baileys, with the purpose to slow down and expose attacking forces. 
At the heart of the complex stands the main keep, a six story wooden structure plastered white. 
It is one of only a handful of castle keeps in Japan featuring wing buildings, 
adding both beauty and complexity to its appearance.

Looking up the main Keep from the Hon-maru Bailey (1st Bailey)

The view from the Nishino-maru Garden

Kesho-yagura Tower and a part of Long Connecting Corridor

Soft breeze stirs pale-pink snow of petals from the branches.
Sakura has the most beautiful way of saying farewell.

The northern part surrounding the castle is covered with virgin forests
and people are sparse in the quieter atmosphere unlike the southern side with the Otemon gate.

Camellias and Sakura

Sakura with the backdrop of Camellia

Himeji Shrine

A moat runs into the neighboring zoo on the eastern grounds.

The view of the main keep seen from one place of the zoo

"Hanami" boat on the outer moat

Somei-yoshino Sakura was too fleeting this year due to the consecutive sunny and warm days.
In my neighborhood, the blossoms are almost over and the fresh leaves have appeared.
Somei-yoshino Sakura front is going north, dying Japanese archipelago pink.

More about Himeji Castle; A White Egret standing in the Himeji plain.

Linked to Weekend Reflections
Mosaic Monday


  1. The pink blossoms inspire poetic feelings in me and I am sure in others. The trees and the castle all take us back to a different time. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Such a stunning set of photographs ... the white castle with the pink flowers - a spectacular combination. I especially liked the pictures taken from the castle looking down on the trees with the city in the distance ... a different and very interesting perspective. Have a beautiful weekend!

  3. Himeji castleに行かれたのですね。なんと美しい。城と石垣、桜 そして水面に映る桜、完璧なコラボレーションです。日本の美が凝縮されているように思います。The landscape from the central keep is my favorite.

    I will be going to Tokyo soon again. Have a good weekend.

  4. The purity from the whiteness in Himeji Castle, the soft baby pink blossom and the dusty blue sky all make for a dreamlike fairytale image to savour and enjoy - simply beautiful Yoko.

  5. That's such a beautiful set of photographs. I've never seen a fortress that looks so fragile and ethereal while at the same time being an impregnable stronghold. Like the cherry blossom, dainty but extremely tough.

  6. Gorgeous pictures from a gorgeous place !
    You have an eye for perfect photo ! They are beautiful postcards !
    Thanks for sharing ! You made my day ;)
    Have a lovely weekend !

  7. Dear Yoko, I'm stunned and sit here in amazement looking over this set of photographs. You've really outdone yourself this time. Each is perfect in its own way because of the composition and meaning. This has got to be one of the most beautiful castles I've ever seen. It rises in a glorious fashion above the trees, like the sun rises in the morning. And your photographs, as usual, are incredibly beautiful! Thank you for this post and for sharing these photos. If you ever do a book of your photos (which I think you should do and as I told you I'll buy the first copy!) please include these photos!

  8. Gorgeous photos! Thanks for sharing. I would never have seen this without you posting. It's such a beautiful scene and so interesting. I was impressed with how they built this castle: walled paths and gates, like a labyrinth.

    Cherry blossoms are so pretty. I hope one day to visit Japan at cherry blossom time.

  9. Thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures!!!

  10. The white castle looks like it came straight out of a book of fairy tales and magic. Amid the blossoms, what a wondrous sight this must be in person. In my part of the world, the blossoms are in their early stages. We get occasional days that feel like spring and then the chilly rain and wind says, no, not yet. Spring is toying with us this year. :)

  11. This beautiful post brings back my happiest memories when we visited this Himeji Castle the year it reopened its doors after many years of closure for restoration works. It is Japan's biggest castle complex which looks so stunning from miles away. I remembered seeing many cats roaming outside to welcome many visitors.
    It was winter when we climbed all the steps up to the top most floor. I will definitely want to visit again during Sakura season as your fabulous photos showed the best of Himeji Castle. Thank you very much for sharing.

  12. Gorgeous photos.
    n April of last year I went to visit Japan and had the pleasure of seeing the flowering sakuras in Tokyo and Kyoto. It is a show of harmony and beauty for the eyes and for the soul.
    Beautiful blog.
    Greetings from Lisbon
    Maria de
    Divagar Sobre Tudo um Pouco

  13. These photos make me wish I could see sakura in bloom in Japan, Yoko. Perhaps your photographs are almost as good as a visit, because you catch the same kind of artistic angles and concepts as I think I would like to photograph myself. What a fairytale scene! The people who arranged to visit Japan to see sakura must feel disappointed, as they will arrive after it has finished. But.... that is nature! It does not operate for the convenience of mankind! :)

  14. Himeji Castle looks like a wonderful place to visit and the blooming Sakura trees make everything look like a fairytale. My cherry tree is about to burst into flower and I'm looking forward to some hanami time soon.
    Thank you for taking us to the castle with you on Mosaic Monday this week.

  15. Wow! Your images of Himeji Castle and the Sakura cherry trees are stunning. I could imagine being there. Magical! Thanks for taking me there. Happy Monday!

  16. Hello dear Yoko! It's good to see your amazing photo art! I'm back to blogging after a long break and to see so much beauty captured in your photos, it is gorgeous! love the pink blossoms, the lyrism of Spring in the time of blooming Sakura, especially...It is magical! and I love to see the castels and read about history, as well.
    Because I had the break on my blog, now, I want to congratulate you on the occasion of the birth of your four granddaughter. I have read your lovely previous posts! So congrats to you and family!
    A lovely, lovely Springtime to you! Alexa

  17. breathtaking beauty! So lovely!

  18. These are some of the most beautiful photos I've ever seen of your area. I thought I was going to get to visit Kobe years ago but I didn't. Maybe I still can one of these days. Thanks for sharing your photos and fun! Diane

  19. The pale blossoms and the white castle look magical and ethereal. Stunning photos. Everything looks like it's suspended in mystery. The stone wall with the blossoms above and the water below is worthy of printing. Simply beautiful. Thank you, Stardust.

  20. Ah....these are MAGICAL VIEWS dear friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    you are great photographer and living in an area like this makes you cast SPELL over the senses of your visitors :)))

    everybody is talking about the weirdness of weather this year which is not understandable for us though scientists can define better about it .
    yet i am happy that weather put positive and pleasant effect on these stunning blooms!
    the all BEAUTIFUL views including the castle are sooooooooooooooo CHARMING!!!

    the panorama view is breathtaking!!!

  21. The views of the blossoms at the Himeji castle are beautiful, quite breathtaking! Another reason for me to want to visit Japan. The blossoms cover the trees completely, so gorgeous. Here in Canada it is still very cold, spring is very slow this year. But soon we will be seeing our own cherry blossoms in the park.

  22. お城の背景が素敵です。 



  23. Fantastic images Yoko. The renewed nature returns with strength.
    I hope my children and daughters-in-law can see this wonder. On the 15th, they are going to Japan, there will be two weeks of holidays there
    Thanks for your visits.

  24. Wow - each picture is a magical shot of the brevity and beauty of sakura, and life.

  25. As it snows and blows at my house, I'm transported to the White Egret Castle and surrounded by blooming Sakura. I love seeing the reflection of the landscape in the moat. That red bridge and the blossoms form a wonderful landscape. I think I'll pretend my falling snowflakes are the spent sakura blossoms drifting to the ground. Wonderful photos of this beautiful time of blooming in Japan, Yoko.

  26. You surpassed yourself, Yoko. Breathtaking pictures! They are so beautiful that look unreal. They reminded me of Buson’s haiku, one of my favourite:
    Лишь вершину Фудзи
    Под собой не погребли
    Молодые листья.
    You enjoy sakura blossoms while in our latitudes spring is yet to come - the nature is still colourless and dull. But looking forward is a pleasant sensation.
    Wish you enjoyable time with your family and camera!

  27. oh my goodness, so much beauty!
    That looks like a wonderful place to wander about.
    Your first and last photos are my favorites. But they are all lovely.

  28. こんばんは。桜の季節に姫路城ですか、申し分ないですね。どれも皆素敵ですが、鉄砲狭間から撮られた様な小さい写真が好きです。

  29. All the images here showed are real postcards that do one perfect embassy of your country and invite to knowing it.The impressive force of instantaneous these is born of a curious alliance: that of the medieval strength in perfect harmony with the delicate essence of the flowers of the cherry-tree. Something that, undoubtedly, gives course to a quiet reflexion. Thank you for the offered experience.

  30. I've never seen anything like that, it's already breathtaking, how does that have to be in reality?
    It is such images treasures that enrich the blogging. Thankyou for sharing, Yoko !!

  31. Wow Yoko - a vision of loveliness. I think Fairyland is right there with you in Japan!

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