Culture, Japan, Nature, Photography, travel

Hydrangea season in Kamakura

Similar to the Sakura season (Cherry blossom) but in a smaller scale, hydrangea season attracts thousands of people to visit temples and gardens and admire the beauty of this flower. It is a symbol of the rainy season in japan as it starts blooming at the same time as the first rains of the rainy season, the hydrangea gets more colorful as more rain falls.

​Although, it can be found anywhere, there are a few areas that are very popular among the Japanese such as Hakone and Kamakura. I was advices to govt the latter as there are many temples and nice traditional streets all around.

​At first, I thought it was going to be a relaxing and not very busy walk. But I learned that the japanese appreciation for flowers isn’t limited to Sakura, thousands of people eager to do hanami (tradition of watching and admiring flowers), such a big crowd made the moment a bit difficult, but still enjoyable.

​Full details can be found here:

http://discoverjapan.info/Details/HydrangeaseasoninKamakura

​The following are the pictures I took.

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Art, festival, Japan, Nature, Photography, Tourism, travel

Mino festival : Hana Mikoshi (花みこし)

Mino City is known for its history of more than 1,300 years of making washi (Japanese paper) characteristic for its fine texture, strength, softness, and its endurance of centuries. It is commonly used in traditional crafts such as lanterns, umbrellas, fans, etc.

Despite its great success with the paper industry, Mino city remains relatively unknown to tourists (even for domestic tourism). It required a little extra skills to travel all the way there, as most of the signs were written in Japanese only, people don’t speak a second language and I had to make an extra effort to ask for directions using my very limited Japanese.

However, the effort paid off when I found a city rich in Japanese traditions, extremely friendly people that were not shy at all to approach fascinated by the fact that I was the only foreigner who showed up to see their festival. They were even more surprised to find out that I’m from Mexico. Their international influence is so limited that many people asked where Mexico is and what the spoken language is.

Being a major paper manufacturer, is not a surprise that the Mino Festival involves paper in some way. People decorate the mikoshis (portable shrines) with sakura flowers made of paper. Thousands of paper flowers standing meters tall in top of each of 30 mikoshis that people carried around the city while dancing and celebrating in a very cheerful and energetic way.

This time, I noticed that people were passing around a wooden bucket where everybody drinks during the celebration. I was approached multiple times and was asked to drink from the bucket as well, and for my surprise the bucket was full of sake (rise wine). Such a good quality sake and so much of it that I actually got a bit tipsy even though I was just an observant of the celebration.

The following are just a few pictures that I captured of this festival:

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Japan, Nature, Photography, travel

Mount Fuji from the Tanukiko lake. (田貫湖)

If your image of Japan is the Mount Fuji, reflected in a lake, and framed by Sakura trees (Cherry blossoms), that’s exactly what Tanukiko lake is. An amazing escape to forget about the busy life of the city, and just a few hours away from Tokyo.

It isn’t for the hardcore outdoor traveler, but more for the type of trip where all you are looking for is for a place where to do camping with some facilities available, have a barbecue, rent a bicycle and ride it around the lake, do some fishing, or just seat down to enjoy the magnificence of Mount Fuji.

In my case, I decided to stay awake the entire night moving from place to place around the lake to do some night photography. While moving around I was approached by a group of bickers and shared some whiskey and chat until late in the night.

it also happens to be very popular photography enthusiast who want to take a picture of the Mount Fuji exactly when the sun is at the very top of the mountain. This phenomena happens only very few times a year and it they call it the Diamond Fuji.

Access:

At Fuji St.
– take JR Minobu line to Fujinomiya (20 min.)
– take bus to Lake Tanuki (55 min.)

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