Sunday, June 7, 2015

Miyajima

The very first time I saw a postcard of Miyajima, I knew I had to be there. Instead of checking the internet for information, I asked my Japanese officemates about their first-hand experiences in the said island. That was in 2012. Fast-forward to 2015

island


tides

barefoot, i walked
along the shores
 listening to your songs
 without lyrics

 three sea gulls dance,
no, i mean sing,
 the blues
 until it was black

  the floating diamonds
are actually stars
did you know? 

 i can still hear your song
or was it really a prayer?

 i closed my eyes
barefooted
wash away

 cleansed.

/totomai

submerged

Miyajima is in Hiroshima and quite far from Tokyo. Our company is closed for its foundation day, giving me a long weekend to explore the prefecture. Hiroshima is the 23rd out of the 47 prefectures of Japan that I’ve been to. From Hiroshima station, I purchased the 1-day streetcar and ferry pass for 840 yen. As soon as I arrived in the island, I noticed tens of deer roaming freely.

deersdeer

I decided to spend the entire day in the island in order see the torii (gate to the shrine) in high and low tides. As I walk around, I got more. There are some locals wearing kimonos of a previous (Heian) era. I decided to follow them and asked if I can take their photos.

heianheianwalk

The Itsukushima Shrine appears to be a floating shrine when the tide is high. If you cannot wait for the low tide, there are available boat and ferry rides that can bring you underneath the torii.

floathiro 07floathiro 59row

The good thing about not rushing is that you have time to appreciate any phenomenon that may flash before your eyes. One example is the halo - optical phenomenon. And because of that, this photo deserve to be posted in large.

torii

As soon as the tide ebbed, everyone wasted no time in going towards the torii. Some went as a part of their faith while others, just like me, because of curiosity.

tidetidetorii

Some visitors made it like a sort of wishing well, leaving coins in between of the shells growing on the lower part of the torii.

worshipclosecoinup

While waiting for the sundown, I researched on the history of this icon and found the following. Guess, this is the reason why it stood the tests of time. 
The shrine has been destroyed several times, but the first shrine buildings were probably erected in the 6th century. The present shrine dates from the mid-16th century, and is believed to follow an earlier design from the 12th century. That design was established in 1168, when funds were provided by the warlord Taira no Kiyomori.  
The shrine is dedicated to the three daughters of Susano-o no Mikoto, Shinto god of seas and storms, and brother of the sun goddess Amaterasu (tutelary deity of the Imperial Household). Because the island itself has been considered sacred, commoners were not allowed to set foot on it throughout much of its history to maintain its purity. To allow pilgrims to approach, the shrine was built like a pierover the water, so that it appeared to float, separate from the land.The red entrance gate, or torii, was built over the water for much the same reason. Commoners had to steer their boats through the torii before approaching the shrine. more here

praywalksunsetsundown

I took the last ferry trip back to Hiroshima. As the shrine slowly faded away from eyes, I can’t help but be thankful for this experience. It was truly one of the best trips I ever had within Japan.

dusk

And perhaps this is the longest blog post I’ve ever written. As well as the one with most number of photos.

And of course, here's the short video I made --> Miyajima trip video

/totomai
2015/06/07 

Photos taken with Nikon D7000, 
lenses used : 
     Nikkor 105mm 2.8f 
     Nikkor 18-300mm 3.5f 
     Tamron 11-16 mm 2.8f 
     Nikkor 10.5 mm 2.8f

45 comments:

  1. Peace in nature always....................................bright , lovely colouful pics!!

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    1. Thanks Vandana :) You can find peace in this isand

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  2. This is it.. heaven on Earth :D

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    1. Indeed Sanaa. If only I could visit it eveyday.

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  3. " listening to your songs / without lyrics"...so beautiful...thanks for sharing this delightful post...

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    1. You are welcome Sumana. The next thing I knew, I was humming the lyricless song

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  4. Replies
    1. Surely it is. One of the best places I've been to

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  5. Barefoot is the best way to experience a new place,
    and to hear its song. It does not need lyrics, it has people,
    and nature and sights -- a richness in history,
    and every day beauty.

    Love the pics.

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    1. Thanks X. Being barefoot is like being one in nature...

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  6. What a glorious walk with you..I loved how you changed the gulls - from dance to sing - as if every moment is being processed and absorbed - and that halo effect is simply stunning

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    1. Yes Jae, I immediately took out my camera when I saw that halo in the sky. It was painful to the eyes though haha

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  7. Love the last line in your poem.....'cleansed'--that this experience, this trip, was something that cleansed your spirit somehow. Looking at the photos and reading a bit more about the island and the sights (very interesting and informative) I can see why it would be good for the soul. Great post.

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    1. It's been 3 years since I started planning. It was a spiritual journey. Thanks CC

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  8. The thought of walking barefoot like that.. the diamonds of the stars is such a magical moment. The place is extraordinary, and so is your dedication to photography.

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    1. Thanks Bjorn - I don't know how to cope up with stress if I am not into photography

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  9. Oh my goodness, this was breathtaking. Your photos share such intriguing beauty, that I would never have known existed without this post. Thank you so much for filling my head with the wonder of that place. I especially loved the halo photo, and the ones where you use a circular lens. The movie was a delight. I feel like I had a little bit of a trip myself, now. Your work is amazing, Totomei!

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    1. Thanks Sherry. For this trip alone, I took 1,000 photos so choosing which ones to include in this post is a struggle. The circular one is called fish eye lens.

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  10. What a beautiful spiritual place and your words are magic to go with it totomai...the pictures are also amazing and I loved the kimonos.

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    1. I love the kimonos too Donna. That's why I followed them and asked for photos.

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  11. Oh, the shrine is a beautiful place. You are so fortunate to live near such beauty. I wondered what kind of deer those were that you photographed....lovely photos, both of them. And the young women in kimonos - how wonderful that you were able to follow them! I love thinking about stars as floating diamonds!!

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    1. Not near in Tokyo Mary but it was worth the 4 hour trip from Tokyo lol. No idea too about the deer but there are signs all over the islands instructing the tourists to be patient with the deer.

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  12. Thank you for the beauty you bring. Both your photos and your words,

    Elizabeth

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    1. You're very much welcome Elizabeth

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  13. What a treat it is to visit you blog each week. Thank you so much for treating us in this way and widening our experience on your travels.

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    1. My way of saying thank you to the stuff you all are sharing every weekend Robin

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  14. Lovely poem Totomai... I visited Miyajima a couple of years ago from Hiroshima..it truly is a beautiful sight, especially at sunset when the sun could be seen through the torii.. there was also a wedding taking place in the shrine. Thanks for sharing these pictures.

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    1. I waited for sunset but it was a bit cloudy. But I am not complaining. Thanks Thot!

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  15. gorgeous picture and poem..I want to hear the song of the tides..I know their tune would be magical..

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    1. They are truly magical Truedessa :-)

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  16. I very much enjoyed this whole post, including the video - and it was good to start with your opening remarks and lovely poem. Good on you for following your intuition!

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    1. Thanks Rosemary. It was one of the most enjoyable trip I had here in Japan

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  17. I don't know which I enjoyed more--your poem or your photo essay. As a doorway to your essay, the poem opens the mind to delight in the here and now and also in memory. Wow!

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    1. Thanks Susan. I tried to balance both :-)

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  18. Great poem. Should I ever make it to Japan that shrine is on my list of places to visit.

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    1. Please do Geoff. It's really a great place

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  19. Thank you so much for your beautiful poem, the spectacular pictures and the wonderful video. Typically I don't like long posts, but yours is perfect!

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    1. Aw thanks Myrna. Sometimes I actually worry if anyone bothers to read all lol

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  20. It's very balanced post, and I stopped with each feature for while to enjoy. The equilibrium of poem took my breath off: it's like watch the magician to turn rabbits in flowers...but just yours was better! stars in the tides were real and sung! and adding the 'barefoot' remark to it made the reader closer to your reality, to island... Love the 'holo' and those laughing girls in video. What a passion you have, Totomai, so inspiring! Thank you for sharing :)x

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    1. Aw - thanks humbird. the laughing ladies was one of my favorite part in the video. Maybe because I am married to photography lol

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  21. Tides are so cathartic, aren't they. The lines: "the floating diamonds are actually stars did you know?" - Simply wonderful. A beautiful post. I am there!

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  22. Just like the images, there is a certain degree of calm in your words.

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any thoughts to distill?

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