Cherry Blossoms in the Rain at the Heian Shrine
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desktop background image of pink puffy yaezakura cherry blossoms in the rain, at the Heian Shrine, Kyoto Japan -- Puffy, Pretty, 'n Wet yaezakura cherry blossoms at the Heian Shrine, Kyoto Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/320 sec, f/6.3, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Puffy, Pretty, 'n Wet
yaezakura cherry blossoms at the Heian Shrine, Kyoto Japan
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Last Tuesday, after Anthony went to school on the bus all by himself, I thought I'd take advantage of the rainy weekday morning (no crowds!) to check out the cherry blossoms in the garden of the Heian Shrine. The most common variety of cherry blossom around here (the pure white yoshino) are almost completely gone, but the Heian Shrine's justly famous garden is full of other varieties that were still pretty much at full bloom.

By the time I started over (the shrine didn't open for an hour and a half after Anthony had gone), the rain had started up again. On the way there, I noticed that the cherry tree in the middle of the park Anthony likes to ride his bike in was full of pink blossoms, but tempered by the rain..

Big Cherry Tree in the Middle of a Park -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Cherry Tree in the Middle of a Park
Still a Nice Background for a Snapshot -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 190 mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Still a Nice Background for a Snapshot

The shrine holds a lightup event in the evenings during cherry-blossom and it's absolutely beautiful. Or, it would be if it weren't absolutely packed to the gills with people, such that you can't walk, you can only shuffle. We've lived within walking distance for five years, but have gone only once (five years ago, I think) because it's just not worth the crowds.

So, I thought that it'd be empty on a rainy weekday morning (just as it was one morning last year after an uncommon but beautiful snow)....

I Was Wrong -- Heian Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 98 mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
I Was Wrong

Still, since I'd gone this far (a good four-minute walk! ;-), I continued in. The entrance to the gardens is on the left as you enter, so the view to the right was clear...

Subdued Cherry Blossoms Peeking Over the Building -- Heian Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 110 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Subdued Cherry Blossoms Peeking Over the Building

(A shot from pretty much the same position leads off my “Amazing Snow at the Heian Shrine” post from early 2008.)

desktop background image of long strings of blossom-laden shidezakura cherry-blossom branches, at the Heian Shrine, Kyoto Japan -- Shidarezakura “Weeping Willow” Cherry Blossoms Inside the Shrine Gardens -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 27 mm — 1/160 sec, f/3.5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Shidarezakura “Weeping Willow” Cherry Blossoms
Inside the Shrine Gardens
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Japanese garden design tends to be masterful. The moment you walk in, you may still be just a few meters from a busy street and the stresses of the city, but they all melt away inside because you feel you're a million miles from everywhere. (Another great example is the nearby Murin'an, which is much smaller but still makes you forget that you're a paper-airplane throw from the hustle and bustle of the city.)

Wet Hanami -- Heian Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/320 sec, f/9, ISO 5600 — map & image datanearby photos
Wet Hanami
Carpet of Pink -- Heian Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 120 mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Carpet of Pink
Scattered, Distracted, and Way Too Busy but I really like this shot for some reason -- Heian Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Scattered, Distracted, and Way Too Busy
but I really like this shot for some reason

Most cherry trees in the garden seem to be the late-blooming (long-blooming) yaezakura (extra puffy) and shidarezakura (weeping cherry). The former are very puffy, but nowhere near as puffy as these blossoms on a tree closer to my place.

I just wish I could remember the name of the latter, shidarezakura, because for some reason my brain keeps coming up with yo as the first syllable instead of the proper shi, yielding something that happens to mean “drool cherry-blossom”.

Anyway, other varieties could occasionally be found, usually well past full bloom...

Too Much Green -- Heian Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Too Much Green
Can't Follow Rules -- Heian Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 130 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Can't Follow Rules

Unlike previous years where tripod and monopod use in the gardens required a separate permit, this year there were big signs saying that all monopod and tripod use was forbidden. Period. Probably too many people coming through, or too much damage. I dunno, but I respected the condition of entry.

Some areas had bamboo lattices set up to allow the sometimes vine-like branches to hang down over and around the walkway...

Rectangular Lattice -- Heian Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Rectangular Lattice
Arc Fan-Shaped Lattice -- Heian Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 160 mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Arc Fan-Shaped Lattice
Less-Populated Lattice -- Heian Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Less-Populated Lattice

Some people suggested that rain dripping off these lattices is the answer to yesterday's “What am I?” Quiz, but as you can see in the photo above, the path has no hint of any of the markings seen in the quiz picture. Good guess, though.

If you follow one of the under-image “map & image data” links through to the Google Map satellite view, you'll get shockingly-high resolution images in which you can count the individual sticks of bamboo making up the lattices. Absolutely amazing.

desktop background image of a few isolated pink puffy yaezakura cherry blossoms in the rain, at the Heian Shrine, Kyoto Japan -- Isolated Puffery -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 95 mm — 1/320 sec, f/4.5, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Isolated Puffery
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Petal-Laden Stream -- Heian Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48 mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Petal-Laden Stream
Looking Back Toward the Entrance after making the circuit around the lower-left lobe of the garden -- Heian Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 62 mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Back Toward the Entrance
after making the circuit around the lower-left lobe of the garden
Path to the Bathroom -- Heian Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 58 mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Path to the Bathroom

At this point I was perhaps a quarter of the way through the gardens, which has several distinct zones.

Continued here...


All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

I really like the first photo, although the two hazy vertical lines behind the flowers are kind of distracting. Perhaps you could return to the spot, trim that tree or whatever, and take the photo again.

Yeah, I’ll get right on that 🙂 —Jeffrey

— comment by Zachary on April 20th, 2009 at 1:56pm JST (8 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Wow~ Amazing pictures!

I specially like the Weeping Willow and Wet Hanami. I thank you for providing these high-res pictures. My background could use some sakura love.

— comment by Fox on April 21st, 2009 at 9:05am JST (8 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks for posting these. The images are really nice! I’m really jealous of my brother getting (OK, it’s for work, but still…) to go to Japan on a regular basis while I stay home in smokin’ hot Dallas.

I like to check out your blog on a regular basis since I have children of a similar age and they tend to be much of my subjects as well. You’ve also inspired me to bite-the-bullet and swap out my D70 for a D200, although I certainly won’t be able to afford the lenses (the one 18-200VR will have to do)!

— comment by Stanley Chen on July 8th, 2009 at 10:17am JST (8 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink
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