Serendipity: Pleasant Sunday Morning at Kyoto’s Yoshida Shrine
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Lazy Sunday Morning Yoshida Shrine, nestled in Mt. Yoshida Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 50 mm — 1/250 sec, f/8, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Lazy Sunday Morning
Yoshida Shrine, nestled in Mt. Yoshida
Kyoto, Japan

While Anthony was at his swimming lesson last Sunday morning, I decided to kill the hour by scooting the kilometer over to Mt. Yoshida and poke around.

I “discovered” Mt. Yoshida when Stéphane Barbery (he of my earlier Jidai Matsuri festival photos and the wilting flower posts) introduced me to it back in April. At that time I got to visit only one small part; this time I wanted to visit the major shrine I knew to be there.... somewhere. Mt. Yoshida is a relatively small outcropping in the middle of town – about 35 acres, half the area of a mid-sized American mall – so I figured it wouldn't be too hard to find.

Bicycle Parking -- Yoshida Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 58 mm — 1/250 sec, f/8, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Bicycle Parking

The Yoshida Shrine dates back to the 7th century, and is most famous, I think, for its Setsubun festival, a festival that involves the throwing of a lot of beans, and an intense bonfire. (I've posted about the Setsubun festival at the Heian Shrine, a mile or so to the south, in my “Throwing of the Beans” and “Intense Burn” posts.) The areas leading to the mountain are an insane zoo during this festival; as a driver, I've learned to avoid anything near it that day.

So, I parked the bike and started a mini trek, and when I eventually descended a narrow mountain path down into an open, vibrantly orange, and almost completely deserted shrine complex, it was a wonderful (and wonderfully peaceful) feeling.

Registration Table with the main shrine alter far in the background -- Yoshida Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/250 sec, f/2, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Registration Table
with the main shrine alter far in the background

Just as I was descending from above, I saw a family making their way up a looooong walkway from below. One of the young kids was dressed up, and I figured that they were paying the shrine a visit for a shichi-go-san blessing, the autumn blessing for kids aged 7, 5, and 3 that Anthony did a month ago (a big event for us that showed up in a bunch of blog posts, including: getting ready, entering the shrine, and a family portrait).

Kids dressing up for this event can be exquisitely cute, as evidenced here, here, here, and most of all here. So, I snapped a few pictures of the half dozen or so kids that eventually congregated for what turned out to be a 10:30am event.

Big Sister is just a bit bigger on tiptoes -- Yoshida Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/500 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Sister
is just a bit bigger on tiptoes
A Touch More Formal -- Yoshida Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/250 sec, f/4, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
A Touch More Formal
Socks -- Yoshida Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Socks
No, Look This Way -- Yoshida Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
No, Look This Way
Portrait-Mode Vertical Desktop-Background Versions
1050×1680  ·  1200×1920  ·  1600×2560     

The dad in the shot above had such a nice, kindly presence. His relatively mild antics to get the kids' attention reminded me of a somber version of this group of crazies. I later showed him these pictures on the back of my camera, and gave him my email to contact me in case he wanted copies. I do this from time to time when I think I have a shot that someone might really treasure, but no one has ever contacted me to take me up on the offer. Oh well.

Just Being Cute -- Yoshida Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/250 sec, f/2, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Just Being Cute
Families Waiting for the Event to Begin -- Yoshida Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/800 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Families Waiting for the Event to Begin
Photographer Waiting for the Event to Begin -- Yoshida Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
Photographer Waiting for the Event to Begin

It was about as pleasant a Sunday morning as I could imagine. The mood was extremely relaxed... there were just the few families and maybe one or two other visitors like me. The kids were all well behaved, but not in a repressed way. I had happened upon a very pleasant atmosphere.

Priest Arrives -- Yoshida Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/640 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Priest Arrives

The kids and families shuffled into the inner shrine area (where photography is not allowed at the Heian Shrine, though I don't know about this one), but from outside at a distance I could get a shot of the priest chanting the names of the kids...

Blessings Begin -- Yoshida Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/250 sec, f/2, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Blessings Begin

And with that, much more quickly than I would have liked, I had to return before Anthony's lesson ended (after which I snapped the purple morning glory I posted the other day).


One comment so far...

I have noticed that a lot of your photos are of the kind of street photography and involve also
many strangers and their kids. It seems also that there are no angry looks as a result of
you taking photos and generally you are free to take any photos you wish !
Of course you are in Japan, famed for their cameras and the proverbial Japanese tourists
(with their cameras too).
Am I right or wrong in my observation ?
Can you please comment on the general state of photography in public in Japan ?

It’s the same in Japan as in America… if you’re in public, you’ve no right to be surprised if people take pictures. I’m not much of a “street photographer” and I would feel uncomfortable just standing on a street corner taking pictures of passers by, even though I’d have every right to. Just not my style. But in a shrine like this (which is private property, by the way) or at other tourist-type spots (cherry blossoms, fall foliage, Disneyland), where everyone is walking around with cameras, it’s just part of the scene. No biggie. Same in America as far as I’m concerned. —Jeffrey

— comment by E. Sarmas on November 18th, 2009 at 8:20pm JST (8 years ago) comment permalink
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