Sunday, February 4, 2024

Bird-watching at Mizukami-ike Pond

Mizukami-ike Pond is the largest and one of the oldest ponds in Nara City. 
It is described as Sajo Pond in “Nihon Shoki”, The Chronicles of Japan (720).

 The pond is one of the best bird-watching spots in Nara City.
Many wild birds live or come and go.
When I was there, the water suddenly shined bright.

As the sun's angle changes toward evening, the pond color changes.

The surrounding area is Heijo Palace Site and Saki Tatanami Kofungun.
The latter is a group of tumulus that include many mausoleums of emperors in the Yamato regime in the era from the middle to the latter half of the Kofun (tumulus) period (3rd to 7th century).
It is located in the southern part of the Saki Hills to the north of the Heijyo Palace site.
Besides the tumuli, there are famous temples such as Hokke-ji, Kairyuo-ji,
Akishino-dera, and Saidai-ji.

I was chilled to the bone. My heart, however, was filled up with the gentle warmth, 
 thankfulness to be able to keep on usual life.

I hope you all leading healthy, fruitful, and hopeful days.

I have an impression that the first month of the year always passes slowly. It felt more so as I've watched the aftermath of that devastating earthquake in Noto peninsula on the least expected day, New Year's Day, and  the continuing unsettling occurrences in the world, too.

Noto Peninsula, which is close to Kanazawa, is a popular tourist destination located at the tip of Ishikawa Pref., protruding into the Sea of Japan. It is known for its beautiful natural sceneries including the beaches of long coastline, rock formations, and Shiroyone Senmaida rice terraces, etc. 

The 7.6 magnitude earthquake with the close, shallow epicenter was so massive that the seven-level seismic scale, which show how intensely and severely the land was rocked, recorded the maximum, 7.  Seafloor was uplifted about 4 meters and the land was moved westward about one and a half meters.( Coastline change caused by the earthquake) Due to the buckled road and uplifted seabed, vehicles or ships could not reach the most-stricken places easily. People got together to survive on their own sharing things they have until the rescue comes. As usual when things like this happens, I'm deeply moved by the warmth of humanity all around in the middle of total devastation. Inconveniences are improved little by little, but the extensively damaged underwater pipes for water and sewage will take long to be repaired. I’m so thankful that I can flush the toilet. 

Situated on the collision zone of four lithospheric plates: the Eurasian Plate, the North American Plate, the Philippine Plate and the Pacific Plate, Japan’s history is repeated earthquakes and volcano eruption.  Climate pattern seems to increase the risk of various natural disasters. They are scary and destructive but predictable with a reasonable degree of accuracy. As for earthquakes, it's impossible to perfectly predict when. There is 70 percent chance of  Nankai Trough Earthquake, which has been experienced in 100-150 years, in the next 30 years.  We've been preparing to minimize damages.

Thank you for reading.

The Nankai Trough Mega-earthquake by Disaster Management, Cabinet Office

This video is not to be scared but to get awakened to prepare for the worst.


  1. Lovely birds at Mizukami pond ! And pictures !
    We saw on the tv news what happens in Noto peninsula...Horrible....Japan is a gorgeous country with a under hearth threats...
    Have a shinny week !

  2. Hello Yoko,
    Pretty views of the pond and the waterfowl. It is a nice habitat for birdwatching. Beautiful photos of the ducks, coots and the pretty swan! The earthquake was devastating. People do tend to come out and help each other after terrible event. We take for granted important things like running water. Sending prayers for the people of the Noto Peninsula. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, enjoy your day and have a happy week ahead. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  3. splendid photos dear Yoko ,each dazzling like a jewel !
    thanks for sharing glimpses of beautiful lake and pretty birds which made my evening(almost)
    sad to see early video .nature is powerful and reluctant indeed and we humans are really weak to face her rage .May God be merciful and may men be wise enough to not disturb Nature .
    best wishes for you and loved ones!

  4. ...Yoko, I love your captures, particularly the ducks spreading their wings. I wish you a wonderful week.

  5. Beautiful place and lovely birds. Hope you are ok.

  6. The pond looks beautiful, but cold! but the birds don't mind the cold, it's all part of the natural seasons for them! Yes, the earthquake was a disaster for so many. But people always help each other in times of stress. Japan is known for earthquakes.... how very frightening to live with that threat every day. Stay safe and stay warm, Yoko!

  7. I love the birds you've seen and they really show well with the backgrounds of the water. It makes you feel like you could reach out and touch them!

  8. Preciosas fotos Yoko. El agua gusta ver el agua con tantas aves.
    Muy t tristes las noticias que vimos en televisión del terremoto. La naturaleza muchas veces causa estas tragedias. Espero y deseo que poco a poco todo se recupere del daño que ha causado. Buenna semana Yoko.
    Un abrazo grande para tí y los tuyos.🤗〰〰💕

  9. It's good to see you back blogging, stardust. I recall you coming to my attention in 2011 after the horrendous earthquake in Japan. I was sorry to hear of this most recent one. In the West Coast of B.C., we often have "smaller" quakes with minimal damage but there is a convergence of tectonic plates here too so we've been told to expect a massive quake within a few decades. The lake is a peaceful place to forget for a while the vulnerabilities we face. I do wish mankind would stop bombing the planet, though, as surely this must disrupt the underground even more.

    1. Massive earthquakes are very real threats to both of us. Let’s be well prepared and be relisient if it happens.

  10. Lovely to see your photographs.
    Sending my good wishes.

    All the best Jan

  11. You cannot fathom how happy I am to see you back, Yoko. I restrained myself from sending an email knowing that a long pause from blogging may be taken for serious rasons. I do hope you came back healthy and rested. Hearing about the earthqake in the knews I googled for the location of Noto. What's to say? Natural disasters unite people regardless of nationality or political views because they're unpredictable and may hit any part of the globe. Thank you for sharing.
    The images of the pond and birds are spectacular.

  12. Mizukami pond is certainly a special place whose natural beauty is enhanced by the presence of so many beautiful birds. Fantastic photos.
    I saw on TV what happened at the beginning of the year in the province of Noto, a devastating earthquake, which reminds us once again, how human beings are powerless before the power of nature, in these situations solidarity and mutual help between people is fundamental to its survival.
    Japan is a wonderful country, but unfortunately due to its geographical location, it is always subject to these terrible earthquakes.
    All the best for you and for your loved ones

  13. We follow the news about the earthquakes around Japan with great sympathy every day. Hopefully the damage is minor and no one is injured! A walk in the park is a distraction, brings a little reflection. The pictures of this landscape and the birds are wonderful.

    And I am pleased about your contribution to

    Greetings from Heidrun

  14. I have made connecting flights twice at Narita and it has been my great regret ever since that I did not allocate a few days to discover the birds of Japan, and to immerse myself in the culture too.

  15. Beautiful captures of the pond, Yoko!
    Wonderful to have you back.

  16. I wondered if Mizukami means Water god. What a beautiful, peaceful place! We haven't been to Nara in such a long time. We're going to have to take a trip there again someday. The earthquakes are really scary. I remember when it caused some damage in my aunt's house when it devastated areas in Sendai.

  17. Ese estanque donde las aves se bañan plácidamente, es un remanso de paz y sosiego, que invita a disfrutar de el.
    Preciosas fotografías.


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