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Big, Moody Space of the Kosan Temple in Northwest Kyoto
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Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/125 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Big, Moody Space
at the Kousan Temple (高山寺)
Kyoto, Japan

Earlier this month, on the wonderful day in Kyoto's Takao area that I mentioned in the rainbow post a few weeks ago, we visited two temples. I posted a few scenes from the first in “On The Path To Northwest Kyoto's Jingoji Temple”, and while I have a bazillion more from there that I want to share, today's post is from the second, the Kousan Temple (高山寺).

The Japanese name, 高山寺, looks as if it should be pronounced kozanji and that's what most Japanese would guess, but for whatever reason the temple actually uses kosanji. Even the Japanese Wikipedia article was wrong, though I've now updated it and the English as well (but the title of the English article remains incorrect until someone with greater permissions than I have makes the change).

The temple area is a sprawling expanse of paths through towering trees on the side of a mountain, with few buildings. It has a lot of moody character.

fall foliage scenes at the Kosanji Temple (高山寺) in northwest Kyoto, Japan
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
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Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
fall foliage scenes at the Kosanji Temple (高山寺) in northwest Kyoto, Japan
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
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Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Depth

The paths tend to be surrounded by both tall and short trees that provide multiple canopies, creating a strong sense of space and dimension. I suppose that sounds silly, but I don't know how else to describe it.

Turning from the view in the shot above to see where the path leads....


Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Big, Rustic Stairs

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/25 sec, f/16, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Above The Stairs

It's perhaps difficult to see even in the larger version you get when you click through the thumbnail, but the shot above shows the dual-canopy nature that was common. There's the towering canopy of the pines, then a lower one of yellow. It was magical.


Nikon D3 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 27mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Getting the Shot
photo by Paul Barr

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/125 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Hillside

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/80 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Top of the Stairs
fall foliage scenes at the Kosanji Temple (高山寺) in northwest Kyoto, Japan
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/80 sec, f/1.4, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
The Path Continues
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Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos
Crossroads

Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
At a Side Garden
fall foliage scenes at the Kosanji Temple (高山寺) in northwest Kyoto, Japan
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Orange Floor
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Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
Symbols
of something, I'm sure

Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/200 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
That Rustic Flight of Steps
from afar

Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Dynamic Lighting

Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Tree

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/11, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Tree
up close and personal

Nikon D3 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/40 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Tree
as a sturdy object upon which to steady my shot
photo by Paul Barr

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Near The Big Tree

The shot above looks much nicer in the big version, but it still only hints at the sense of space the multi-layered canopies provided.


Nikon D3 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Under the Big Tree
using the earth as a sturdy object upon which to steady my shot
photo by Paul Barr

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Paul Barr
worm's-eye view

Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Lantern and Moss
always a favorite of mine

Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Leaf

Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Back at the Road

The building in the background was featured in my blog two years ago, starting with “Toganojaya Restaurant”, with followups here and here. I'd known that there was a temple nearby, but the visit earlier this month was my first.


Comments so far....

Nice shots Jeffrey of a picturesque place. Looks like a fun shoot.

— comment by Geoff the kiwi on December 29th, 2011 at 4:44pm JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

I am enjoying all of the temple photos. Please keep them coming! Tom in SF

— comment by Tom on December 30th, 2011 at 10:35am JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

Thanks for the great photos, as usual. My husband and I happened to visit this same temple in 2006 and I remember how awesome those huge, ancient trees are. I also felt there was something sacred about the place—must have been the “spirit” of the trees.

If it’s any help, many websites, including the one for the Kyoto prefecture, I assume (www.pref.kyoto.jp) refers to the name as Kozan-ji, as does the Autumn 2006 issue of the wonderful magazine Kateigaho (International Edition—which is in English).

I am so grateful that you post your marvelous photos of these Kyoto temples. As envious as I get sometimes, I do know that I would not be capable of climbing up and down all those stone steps anymore. Those at Kozan-ji nearly did me in! But it was worth the trek.

Yes, pretty much everyone refers to the place as “Kozanji”, but it’s still wrong. A common mistake is still a mistake. I even called the temple today to ask (because someone at Wikipedia said my suggested change “made no sense whatsoever”) and the temple told me directly that the name is “Kosanji”. They don’t want to make a fuss or anything, so won’t call “Kozanji” wrong, but said clearly and unambiguously that their name is “Kosanji”. When I mentioned the Wikipedia issue, the guy was like “see our home page” for an Internet-related indication of their name. Their home page says “Kosanji”. I don’t see how it’s an option to call it anything else. —Jeffrey

— comment by Marylis on December 30th, 2011 at 5:16pm JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink
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