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The Many Lanterns and Overwhelming Sumptuousness of the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
desktop background image of a man praying at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan -- Paying Respects at the sumptuous Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) Kyoto Japan -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/1250 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Paying Respects
at the sumptuous Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)
Kyoto Japan
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The Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) in northern Kyoto is perhaps best known for its huge plum-blossom orchard, but in looking over the photos I've yet to publish from a visit a year ago, I realize that there's so much more to show. So today we'll shift concentration away from the blossoms, and continue with the non-blossom theme that yesterday's post ended with.

All the photos on this post are from a visit a year ago yesterday.

The shrine has many buildings, but the main building is difficult to miss in its sumptuousness. As is common at shrines, there's a big thick rope with a large crotal bell (jingle bell) at the top.... shaking the rope prior to your prayer rattles the bell, perhaps awakening the gods to your petition....

desktop background image of the huge prayer rope at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan -- Shrine Rope without context, it's difficult to get a sense of its scale -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/4000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Shrine Rope
without context, it's difficult to get a sense of its scale
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Here's a shot with enough context to feel the rope's size...

Shaking the Rope to rattle the bell at its top -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/1600 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Shaking the Rope
to rattle the bell at its top
The Bell perhaps the size of a laundry basket -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/640 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
The Bell
perhaps the size of a laundry basket
Bull Carving -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Bull Carving
“ Rafters ” above the bell -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/125 sec, f/8, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Rafters
above the bell

Continuing the view as we move up...

desktop background image of overwhelming color and detail of the main building at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan -- Overwhelming Detail and Color -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Overwhelming Detail and Color
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It was quite crowded the day I was there, so I had to wait a while to get the shot that leads this post. While waiting, it was enjoyable to watch the folks queue to make their prayers.

I'd brought along a little-used Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 that I'd bought broken for a low price and had repaired by Nikon, but it's never felt right. Sometimes the not right lends a nice sense of dreamy ambiance, and for me that's the case with some of the following...

desktop background image of people lined up to pay respects at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan -- Queue -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 — 1/6400 sec, f/1.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Queue
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This shot looks as if it's had a ton of negative clarity added in Lightroom (like this or this or this), but here the effect is all from the lens. You can tell from the lanterns that I hit focus reasonably well, so this weird ghosting is probably because the lens is defective.

The effect gets quite pronounced if you miss focus, as I did to an almost comical effect in this next shot, but for some reason I really like it:

Disfocused Effect -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 — 1/6400 sec, f/1.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Disfocused Effect
Moments Earlier with a non-broken lens -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/11, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Moments Earlier
with a non-broken lens

Yet, sometime, the 50mm f/1.2 can take a pretty good picture. I haven't figured out why this one doesn't have that creamy imperfection sense to it...

Fairly Normal Looking -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 — 1/3200 sec, f/1.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Fairly Normal Looking

Anyway, turning to the left and looking past the queue, there's a sort of covered (but currently unutilized) area used for market stalls and such...

Boring from the Side -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/4000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Boring from the Side

However, from inside...

desktop background image of one of the many different sets of lanterns at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan -- Another Set of Lanterns -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Another Set of Lanterns
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Unused at the Moment -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/800 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Unused at the Moment
desktop background image of an outside covered area at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan -- Exposed To Show the Wood -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/160 sec, f/10, ISO 8000 — map & image datanearby photos
Exposed To Show the Wood
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And you can see above that down the center is yet another set of lanterns. Here's the bottom of one:

Bottom of a Lantern dated 1879, sponsored by “ Shimada Bank ” and others -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/160 sec, f/5, ISO 8000 — map & image datanearby photos
Bottom of a Lantern
dated 1879, sponsored by Shimada Bank and others

It's perhaps interesting to note that the lantern predates electricity in Japan, and as such was likely actually used to provide light. It's also interesting to note that it predates the ability of non-Japanese to visit anywhere near Kyoto. I mention this because the lantern was sponsored in part by the Shimada Money-Exchange Shop (presumably part of Shimada Bank, which got top billing).

This was a time where foreigners weren't allowed anywhere near Kyoto under pain of death, and only 11 years after Japan opened up to the outside and Japanese themselves were allowed to leave Japan, so I think it's a telling indication of the rapid change Japan underwent during this time that a money-exchange shop could do well enough to sponsor a shrine, especially in an area where foreigners were not even potential customers.

As far as I can tell, Shimada Bank has been lost to the dust of time, but its gift remains all these generations later.

Duck Carving -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
Duck Carving
Yet More Lanterns -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Yet More Lanterns

For some serious lanterns, visit the small east entrance. Here's a wigglegram showing the view from outside looking in:

Animatable — slowly sweep mouse from side to side to view effect
写真の上をマウスで左右にゆっくり動かすといろいろな影響を見えます。
East-Entrance Wigglegram
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)
Animatable — slowly sweep mouse from side to side to view effect
写真の上をマウスで左右にゆっくり動かすといろいろな影響を見えます。
From the Inside

Revisiting the main building where people were waiting in line to pray, not many people seem to know it, but you can actually go inside. Here's the view from its veranda looking out to the line of folks waiting to pray...

Front Porch with multiple sets of lanterns -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/3200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Front Porch
with multiple sets of lanterns
Parallel View, Inside -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Parallel View, Inside

The bulk of the building is closed to visitors. In a small landing leading from the back, a monk's sandals await his return...

Monk's Sandals -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 — 1/160 sec, f/1.2, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Monk's Sandals

Back outside the main building, I just love the detail of roofs made with many layers of thin ceder shingles...

Roof Detail -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Roof Detail

Here's a wigglegram look at the main building from the side, as one approaches from the east entrance we saw earlier.

Animatable — slowly sweep mouse from side to side to view effect
写真の上をマウスで左右にゆっくり動かすといろいろな影響を見えます。
Main Building From The Side

And finally, because this is the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, an obligatory plum-blossom shot:

desktop background image of a bee enjoying the plum blossoms at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan -- Bountiful Harvest Honeybee in honeybee heaven -- Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/800 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Bountiful Harvest
Honeybee in honeybee heaven
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I first posted about this shrine six years ago. I hope both my photography and storytelling has improved a bit since.

Continued here...


Comments so far....

Wow: we lived next to Tenmangu for 3 months, and we never knew that we could actually go inside the main building.

However, I have to say that on the week-end, which was our most common visiting period, there were ceremonial activities in that building that seemed to be rather private. So I don’t know if it is possible to visit the building on those occasions…

— comment by Nicolas on February 24th, 2014 at 4:16am JST (6 months, 7 days ago) comment permalink

Very nice. wife & I had our wedding ceremony there many, years ago. Looks as though its been given a fresh coat of paint, etc.

— comment by An Expat on February 24th, 2014 at 8:12am JST (6 months, 7 days ago) comment permalink

It’s been bugging me, but the first photo of this series and many in your Chion-in shots are tilted downward ever-so-slightly on the right. Shape up, Friedl!

It’s probably something else about them that’s bugging you, because I use Lightroom’s “Level” lens correction to make sure they’re, well, level. Scroll the first photo and watch when notable parts on the right scroll off the screen, and you’ll see that the related part on the left scrolls off at the same time. Down to a pixel, the first shot is perfectly level. Try as I might, I can’t get it that level in camera, but Lightroom can. —Jeffrey

— comment by Zak on February 25th, 2014 at 10:55am JST (6 months, 6 days ago) comment permalink

I grant they are not actually crooked. They LOOK crooked to me, though. Must be my head that is crooked.

Indeed, I think you’ve analyzed the situation properly. :-P —Jeffrey

— comment by Zak on February 25th, 2014 at 9:39pm JST (6 months, 5 days ago) comment permalink
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