Kyoto Plum-Blossom Status Report: Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
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Early Plum Kitano Tenmangu Shrine  ·  Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 27 mm — 1/250 sec, f/5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Early Plum
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine  ·  Kyoto, Japan

Anthony had a school event near the Kitano Tenmangu shrine three miles away toward the north-west of town, so I took the opportunity to stop in with the camera for a few minutes. The shrine is famous for its collection of plum trees that blossom in pure whites and deep, vivid pinks, both due to its breadth (50 varieties) and scale (2,000 trees).

The shrine dates from 947, although their February 25th Plum Blossom Festival dates back only to 1109. This year will be the 900th anniversary.

Today's visit was my second. I wrote about my first trip in two posts last year: Late to the Party and Part II.

Anyway, notwithstanding geographical shenanigans, plum trees blossom earlier than cherry trees, and so I tend to post about plum blossoms in March (such as this post about Plum Blossoms and Photographers, or a first-week-of-march Plum-Blossom Preview). Once I even did a “first blossoms” post as early as Valentine's Day.

I didn't expect to find blossoms today, but, as it turned out, there were already a few.

The front area of the shrine property butts up against a major street, and there's a large area for taxis, so it's not too photogenic, but a big stone torii and ladies in kimono go a long way...

Property Entrance -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32 mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Property Entrance

There are lots of big stone lanterns lining the path to the real shrine area, as well as another big stone gate....

Heading In -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/3200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading In
Classy Even the grill over the rain gutter is cut stone -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/500 sec, f/8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Classy
Even the grill over the rain gutter is cut stone

As you get closer to entering the actual shrine area, you come adjacent to the orchard of plum trees that holds half of the shrine's 2,000 trees. I was just tall enough to see over the surrounding hedge a bit, and saw a lot of buds and a few splashes of pink...

Orchard from the side -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/800 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Orchard
from the side

As you go up and in the entrance itself, if you turn to the side you're treated to a view of the orchard that must be fabulous when the trees are in bloom...

Orchard about a month too soon -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/250 sec, f/14, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Orchard
about a month too soon
same scene Different Focus -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 44 mm — 1/1000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
same scene
Different Focus

Inside the shrine area proper are another 1,000 trees scattered about (at least according to their web site. There are a lot of trees, but I'm a bit suspect of the count). The tree near this map has huge buds, and already a few blossoms....

Studying the Map because, he tells me, he's a ninja and will lead the way to the inner shrine area -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/250 sec, f/9, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Studying the Map
because, he tells me, he's a ninja and will lead the way to the inner shrine area
Holy Cow! next to the map -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 28 mm — 1/320 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Holy Cow!
next to the map
White Plum next to the cow -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/1000 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
White Plum
next to the cow
Skipping Toward the Central Gate ( personally, I didn't realize that ninjas skipped ) -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 42 mm — 1/400 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Skipping Toward the Central Gate
( personally, I didn't realize that ninjas skipped )

The sky was really nice today, and having just put a polarization filter on the lens, I knew the sky would come out even better, so I tried a composition to grab a lot of sky...

Big Sky -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/250 sec, f/11, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Sky
Big Blossoms gave me a craving for popcorn -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Blossoms
gave me a craving for popcorn
Inside the Central Shrine Area ( some close ups of this area are here ) -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/250 sec, f/9, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Inside the Central Shrine Area
( some close ups of this area are here )
Brilliant -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 55 mm — 1/250 sec, f/9, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Brilliant
Less So -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/250 sec, f/3.5, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Less So
Just Playing Around With Focus -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/250 sec, f/3.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Just Playing Around With Focus
Others Were Too -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/250 sec, f/5, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Others Were Too
Behind the Curve -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Behind the Curve
In Front of the Lantern (close up of some blossoms seen in the first picture at the top of this post) -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/250 sec, f/10, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
In Front of the Lantern
(close up of some blossoms seen in the first picture at the top of this post)

All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

Ah, 懐かしい、. That is where my wife and I were married back in the day (1981!).

— comment by Bob on January 29th, 2009 at 1:49am JST (8 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Neglected to mention there is a very good-old おまんじゅうや near the main gate. Facing out from the main Torii, its across the street and to the right, not the first shop, but the second. Can’t remember the name.

— comment by Bob on January 29th, 2009 at 3:55am JST (8 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Wow your photos are beautiful! Your compositions and framing really make them stand out amidst all the other sakura pictures.
I have a random question for you – I will be in Kyoto and Tokyo the first week of April. Normally that would be the best time for the Sakura blossoms right? I’ve been hearing that they are probably going to be early this year – do you think I’ll still be able to see some blossoms in April?

“First week in April” is exactly when I’d suggest the cherry blossoms will be at their height. Good timing! —Jeffrey

— comment by Megan on February 5th, 2009 at 8:29am JST (8 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink
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