Monday, November 23, 2020

A morning walk in autumnal Nara Park

As my old blog friends might know already, there is no place named Nara Park on map in Nara City. It is the spacious area with fields, hills, woods and forest, mountains, brooks, temples and shrines including World Heritage sites, museums, residential area, and so on. Wild but friendly deer welcome visitors.

I strolled around some parts of Nara Park starting from Tobihino Hill last week.  Tobihino/飛火野 literally means “飛fly 火fire 野field.”  It is said that signal fires were launched there to inform people in the palace site of something in emergency in ancient times.

At the north edge of Tobihino, I came across a photo session conducted by a group of students.  I was part of it with some of other tourists before I knew it.

Then I walked into the woods of Kasuga Shrine founded in 8th century.  Shrine is for Shintoism, native religion of Japan. There's no founder, no doctrine, no script but simple nature worship or awe of nature for both beneficial and un-controllable power.  

 The woods are dark green with massive evergreens. 

Wisteria grow too wild without human maintenance.
The tangled twining vines have made gigantic sculptures or jungle gyms.

I named the sculptures below, clockwise from top-left;
"Vine garland", "Green man (right) and reptile (left)", "Knot", and "Dancing couple".

Coming out of the woods, I was at the path leading to the Kasuga Grand Shrine, which consists of the main shrine and many other small shrines. About 2000 moss-covered stone lanterns line the approach to the sanctuary. The oldest dates back to the Muromachi period (1336-1568).

Mini shrine and  stone lanterns

Leaving the shrine approach, I walked north to the Yoshiki River. The river is noted for Japanese Maple. The final blaze of the leaves felt coming soon.

Not only tinted leaves but also reflection is always intriguing.

And, barks as well.

Tree Lichens

One side of the river is Kasugano Park.

The buck above was not buried half in the ground but was rested in front of a  tree beyond a tiny hill.

A drifting leaf in the Kagami-ike Pond

Ukigumo Park, the other side of the river, was ablaze with Chinese Tallow leaves.  How mesmerizing!

My youngest grandchild M had a Shichi-Go-San (7-5-3) rite at Kasuga Grand Shrine. She’s going to be 3 next month. To finish it quick, M wore dress. She’ll have her commemorative photos taken at a photo studio in March, dressed in kimono with a lovely hairdo. She looks forward to becoming like a princess of Japanese period drama.  

One day at Mt. Wakakusa, collected leaves, and Shichi-Go-San

Today is Labor Thanksgiving Day, which stems from the ancient Shinto harvest festival since the start of rice cultivation. I can't thank enough for all the workers supporting our daily life, now especially health care workers.  This is really tough time for anyone in any situation. Probably old common sense (mask, sanitation of hands, gurgling), and social distancing and attitude to cooperate at the time of emergency as well, would be the best survival tools to go through this pandemic. Remember “mask” is the safest and the most affordable substitute for vaccine.

Linked to Mosaic Monday


  1. Yoko - your pictures are always so amazing. I especially adore your reflection photos, and this time the "drifting leaf" shot is a standout. Thanks so much for sharing this beauty and artistry with everyone at Mosaic Monday!

  2. Dear Yoko - the colours in these photos are wonderful, but that first one is picture perfect. I love to look closely at tree lichens, their details are fascinating. Did you know that they are a good indicator of clean air? they will not grow where the air is polluted with sulphur dioxide.

  3. Hello,
    Your walk in the forest was beautiful, beautiful trees and colors. The Shrine is lovely. Happy birthday to your granddaughter. Take care, enjoy your day! Have a great new week!

  4. Stunning photos as always. I so much enjoy seeing Japan through your lens. I congratulation your little granddaughter. I am sure she will look very cute in her kimono. I agree with you about the heroes that are working to keep us safe. Let us help them by keeping on our mask and practicing good social distancing. Have a wonderful rest of your month dear Yoko. Stay safe and happy.

  5. That top picture is a dream with the light falling on the umbrella. The twists and turns of the old tree branches tease the imagination and the names you gave them added to their charm. This visit to Nara Park and your photos give an enchanted view of your world.

  6. Unas fotos maravillosas Yoko. Espléndida está la naturalerza regalando otoño.Me encantan las fotos del río. Buen día de Acción de gracias. Y felicidades para tu nieta estará muy guapa y será una linda princesa.
    Seguiremos con mascarilla y mucho cuidado amiga.
    Te deseo una buena semana. Cuídate.
    Un abrazo.

  7. Amazing pictures in a beautiful park !
    Thanks for sharing those beauties...
    And the mosaic with your grandchildren...
    Have a lovely week !

  8. 七五三おめでとうございます。 幾久しく、ご健勝であられますことを祈念致します。


  9. Wow - beautiful shots of this magical park!

  10. Beautiful photo shoot and I love the twisted tress. So many great photos.
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

  11. Your photos are so enticing, I want to visit there. The first photo with the sunlight caressing the umbrella and the deer is magical. Thank you for taking us on this photo tour.

  12. お孫さんの七五三おめでとうございます!

  13. Dear Yoko, I think I remember those tree sculptures, we walked in that area. You gave them beautiful names. Cutest bucks, drifting leaf and incredible autumn colours! I’ll never stop wondering how different our climates are when we live so close. In comparison to the distance to Italy or Canada, we are just neighbours. You seem to be enjoying August temperatures while we are deep in winter.
    We wish your little lady all the best!
    Take care, Yoko.
    From Blagoveschensk, wearing a mask

  14. Beautiful photographs Yoko! Especially the first photo of the lovely lady with the Nara deer. And the shapes made by the tangled vine branches and roots, fantastic twists and turns. Like a walk through another world! I wish your little granddaughter a very happy day, she is so sweet in her blue dress. Best wishes to your family...

  15. Thank you for sharing these wonderful autumn photos.
    The Park is fantastic. The first photo is so beautiful
    Warm hugs and be careful

  16. A stunning post.
    Your photographs are all so lovely.
    Belated good wishes to your granddaughter.

    All the best Jan

  17. i am thankful for the acquaintance of you and your gorgeous blog dear Yoko !!!!

    your blog awakes and strengthen my soul always ,when i look your enchanting area through your beautifully taken photos i wish i must not die before visiting Japan :)

    the beauty and serenity seems gifted to your place incredibly indeed and now i have stated to understand how my sons love anime most :) i too feel the insight and depth of characters in anime and i think this is the magic of your country that nurture the spirits of inhabitants so well :)
    thank you for enriching my heart with joy and peace dear friend :)
    hugs and blessings!
    and yes best of luck to your precious grandchild for her venture ahead :) she will be the princess for sure as she looks already one to me :)

  18. Hello and good day to you.
    The colors in your autumn pictures are so beautiful. Our colorful time was brief this year due to deeply cold temperatures. I was left longing for more.
    Those wisteria trees are wildly beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us.


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