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Photography has changed the way I see the world around me.

Through it I discover new things and rediscover old ones. Like my island, New Caledonia.

This blog is just me sharing my world through my photography.

Hope you enjoy.

Posts tagged castle
KAHOKU-MON GATE

Kanazawa, Japan

We only spent one day in Kanazawa and no, it’s not enough to see or do everything they have to offer here. We arrived around 11 am and headed straight for the hotel. Once unpacked, we went back to the Omicho Market, which we walked through to get to the hotel, for some lunch and a bit of a wander.

Kanazawa Castle was only a couple of blocks from the hotel so we headed there next. Wide, open grounds outside as we approached and the same goes for inside the compound. Unbeknown to us, we entered through the main gate called Kahoku-mon. The photo is taken looking back out from where we came in. I saw the huge, wood and metallic doors and frame and used them to, well, frame the Hishi Yagura. Which is a part of the Castle. From the gate to the grounds to the castle, the workmanship, the details, the beauty is amazing. And quite peaceful as you stroll through the grounds. This Castle is a must when visiting Kanazawa.

Once again I used my preferred split-tone preset, at the moment, for this image. Not a lot of colours in the middle of the day and black and white just wasn’t good enough for this photo. And I think it suits this kind of image well.

28 mm, 1/320th second @ ƒ/11, ISO 100

MIYAJIMA, HIMEJI AND KOBE

Japan

day three

Oyaho and welcome to day three in Japan. Today we spend the morning in Miyajima (Itsukushima Island) before leaving for Kobe, with a stop-over in Himeji.

We started our day with a Japanese breakfast which we had pre-ordered the previous day from the reception of the Hotel Kikunoya. A savoury breakfast which looked a lot like dinner, really. We’re used to a bit of sweetness to start the day but we did enjoy our Japanese breakfast, nonetheless.

The hotel has onsen (hot spring baths) which we just had to try before checking out. Unfortunately, you’re not permitted, for obvious reasons, to film or photograph inside the baths. If I’d known I was going to be alone, I wouldn’t have left my gear in the room and have some b-roll to show you. Let me briefly explain how onsens work, if you’ve never been in one. Men and women have separate onsens. That said, if you’re shy being naked in front of the same sex, this is not an experience for you. In the change room you strip naked and store your clothes, in this case, in a basket on shelves. You may keep a hand towel as you enter the bath area. Yes, a hand towel. Not enough to cover everything, if you know what I mean. Before getting into the baths though, you need to wash yourself. There is a small stool and bucket, soap, shampoo and conditioner provided next to the shower heads against the far wall. Once you're clean you can make your way into the hot spring baths. Without the hand towel, of course. That’s just in case you get a little too hot and need to wipe the sweat of your face. Let me be clear, these are not spas. There are no bubbles whatsoever. No soap either. Just clean, clear water. I see you, you see me. Here they have two baths, one very hot indoors and the other very warm outdoors. I quite enjoyed that little onsen.

The Hotel Kikunoya were very kind to mind our luggages after checkout, while we made our way up Mount Misen. Actually, they’re so great, they’ll pick/drop you and/or your bags off at the ferry whenever your ready. We just had our bags dropped as we made our own way there while visiting. We strolled through Momijidani Park to catch the Miyajima Ropeway to Shishiiwa Observatory. This park is beautiful and must be absolutely stunning in Autumn with it’s red and orange maple leaves. Along the way we saw the Shinomiya Shrine, walked by the closed Momiji-so restaurant and over a beautiful little bridge before reaching the Miyajima Ropeway. There are two different cable cars to catch to get to the observatory. The first is a six seater with views of Momijidani Park and Hiroshima. The second is a twenty standing place with views of the Seto Inland Sea and Hiroshima Bay. Once on Shishiiwa Observatory, you have stunning 270º views of Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Bay and the Seto Inland Sea. Magnificent ! That day was ethereal with haze and very thin, low lying clouds in the distance.

Our goal was the Misen Observatory. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t realised it was, at least, a half hour walk from the Shishiiwa Observatory. That’s not counting the time to get back and for photos once there. We just couldn’t spare the hour and a half. So we took the disappointing decision to head back down to town.

Itsukushima Town is very different during the day compared to last night. It was nice to see all the shops and restaurants open and feel the atmosphere of a busy little town. I loved walking down this street. It’s probably why I filmed so much of it.

Well, it was time to leave the beautiful island of Itsukushima and make our way to Kobe for the night. On the way though, we stopped in Himeji to visit the White Egret Castle as the locals call it or Himeji Castle for the rest of us. We didn’t actually want to visit inside the castle but rather see it up close from the surrounding grounds. Not only is it beautiful but quite impressive too. It was a easy ten minute walk from Himeji Station to the castle. You can even see the castle from the station and the single main road to get there. Well worth the stop-over.

Unfortunately, I don’t have anything in regards to Kobe, in this video. Apart from a brief look at the inside of the Meriken Park Hotel, where we stayed, and the view from our room. We splurged a little for this accommodation. We arrived late afternoon and exhausted. All we wanted to do was have a drink, eat and go to bed. We had a beer while taking photos of the gorgeous view. By the time we got ready to eat, it was quite late. We headed to the Mosaic on the Kobe Harborland. Unfortunately for us, most kitchens were closing so my wish for Kobe meat was out of the question. But meat I did have at the Brasiliano. And plenty of it. Skewers of perfectly cooked meats kept arriving at our table, carved right in front of you. Not forgetting the accompanying buffet of assorted salads, the service, the people, the atmosphere… made it an unforgettable experience. Not the Japanese meal we were hoping for but a memorable one nonetheless. To end the night, we headed to the hotel bar for a nightcap.

Sorry for the lack of b-roll of Kobe. We only spent the night and the next morning here. I have a little more for the next video. Until then, I hope you come back for the photo posts. Oyasuminasai my friends.

HAKURO-JO

Himeji, Japan

Himeji Castle, also known as Hakuro-jo or Shirasagi-jo meaning White Egret Castle, is a prototypical architectural example of Japanese castles. It is magnificent ! Even from afar you can tell it is something spectacular.

Himeji was only a quick stop for us before heading to Kobe for the night. We didn’t want to visit the castle, just have a quick wander around the grounds and take a couple of photos. You need a half a day to visit the castle and it’s grounds. You can actually see Hakuro-jo as you approach Himeji Station and it’s only a ten minute walk from there. We couldn’t resist the stop-over.

Again here, I used one of my split-tone presets to give the ancient era feel to the image. Check out my last post for a quick rundown on my editing process for these types of images.

75 mm, 1/4000th second @ ƒ/2.8, ISO 100

JINRIKISHA

Himeji, Japan

Leaving Miyajima, we headed to Hiroshima Station to catch a Shinkansen to Himeji to visit their famous castle. Surprisingly, you can see castle from the Himeji Station. From their you just follow the main street straight to the castle. Easy-peasy.

Along the way though, we saw these beautiful jinrikisha, literally meaning man-power-vehicle. Or rickshaw in English. Women pulling rickshaws are very rare, apparently, I haven’t seen any and the men I’ve seen were very fit and young. We saw jinrikisha here in Himeji and in Kyoto as well. Specifically around the bamboo forest. We didn’t try them out but saw Japanese in kimonos and tourists use them.

I edited this image with my favourite split-tone. The jinrikisha, the castle and the old stone and chain barrier lend itself to an old fashion photograph. Well, my take on it anyway. Editing these kinds of images I always set my white balance first before converting to black and white. Then I edit the monochrome image to my liking and finished off by adding my split-tone preset over it. Tweak it and that’s it.

53 mm, 1/200th second @ ƒ/11, ISO 100

HIROSHIMA AND MIYAJIMA

Japan

day two

Ohayo my friends and welcome to day two of our trip in Japan. Today we leave Kyoto and head to Hiroshima. From there a local train then a ferry to Itsukushima Island, also known as Miyajima.

We had a late night and thus didn’t want to get up for the early train to Hiroshima. We decided to wait after peak hour to avoid the locals going to work and school. We had breakfast at Delifrance (of all places) but ate things that weren’t very French. Delicious though and their coffee brewing method is interesting to watch.

By the time we arrived at Hiroshima Station it was lunchtime. We left our bags at a luggage holder and went looking for something to eat. One of the dishes my friend, Géraldine, had on her to-eat list while in Japan was the famous Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. To our great surprise we saw advertisement for the dish everywhere as we were walking through the station. A couple of floors up and we found a corridor of restaurants with two or three of them specialising in okonomiyaki. We picked the one with the most crowd, Goemon Okonomiyaki, and sat right at the counter in front of the hotplates. A very memorable experience. From watching them prepare the dish in front of us, to tasting the meal, to seeing every single staff member saying goodbye to every single client leaving the restaurant. That was amazing. It was quick, delicious and surprisingly fun.

With our stomachs full, we started our long walk to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial or more popularly known as the Atomic Bomb Dome. Though long, it was nice to see a little of the city along the way. The landmark is quite impressive in itself but to see how everything has been rebuilt around it, is just a amazing. It makes you wonder if there ever was a atomic blast. Walking around the park felt like I was on religious grounds. I’m not a religious person but I felt an inner calmness and peace. A respect for what had happened here and the courage and strength the people of Hiroshima, of Japan, had to get through it. And build a park that evokes peace. A well named park.

On the way back to Hiroshima Station, we walked by Carp Castle, better known as Hiroshima Castle. Actually, it’s the castle’s second compound that you see here. The original castle was, obviously, destroyed in the atomic blast and a replica built in it’s place. Now though it serves as a museum of Hiroshima’s history before World War II. We didn’t get to visit as time was short to get to Miyajima before sunset.

Back in Hiroshima Station, we jumped on a local train to Miyajimaguchi to catch a ferry to Itsukushima Island, better known as Miyajima. This is a gorgeous place. Little town atmosphere on the shores of Hiroshima Bay. The old and the not-so old architecture. The Itsukushima Shrine is amazing and it’s Torii is just a wonder. We got here in time to drop our bags at the hotel before heading straight back down to the torii. We stayed about two and half hours taking photos of it and the shrine, and watching the sun set. What a beautiful sunset it was too. Then we made our way to the town to have a look around and find one of the very few restaurants still open. Both Géraldine and I loved the main street of Itsukushima Town for it’s old look and atmosphere. It gave us the impression of being in a different era. We chose to eat at Mametanuki restaurant. A wonderful little place where the owner is, I think, English but the cuisine definitely Japanese. Very friendly place with good service and delicious food.

Once full and warm we made our way back to our hotel, Kikunoya. A beautiful hotel with a restaurant and onsens. When we told the receptionist we weren’t going to have dinner there, they happily showed us the locations of restaurants that were going to be open and advised not to eat to late as their kitchens close quite early. Very friendly and helpful. Oh and they have a foot spa at the front entrance.

Well that’s it my friends. The end of another wonderful day in Japan. Hope to see all of you for day 3. Oyasuminasai.

CARP CASTLE

Hiroshima, Japan

We took a different route from the Peace Memorial Park to get back to Hiroshima Station. Walking by Hiroshima Castle, sometimes called Carp Castle. We didn’t visit the castle itself but could see the tiers of it’s roof from this point and from almost a kilometres back too. We didn’t have the time to spare as we wanted to be in Miyajima before sunset.

This is actually the entrance to the second compound of the castle. You may not know, I surely didn’t, but the castle is a replica of the original which was destroyed by the atomic bomb blast. It now serves as a museum of Hiroshima’s history before World War II. I would’ve loved to have visited it. Though a replica, I still find this architecture amazing.

40 mm, 1/125th second @ ƒ/11, ISO 100