Sunrise Country – DAY TWELVE

Hello again. We have planned this day as a small and quick break from the frenetic, urban atmosphere of the endless Tokyo; at least the most part of it. We wanted to see with our own eyes, one of the most relevant symbols of Japan: Mount Fuji.

It is the highest mountain in Japan, with its 3776 meters height, situated about 100 km south-west from Tokyo, where in can be seen from, if the weather is clear enough. It is an active volcano, which erupted last time in 1707.

From Tokyo, we took the train JR Tokaido Shinkansen “Kodama” for a journey that lasted a bit more than one hour, until we arrived at Shin-Fuji Station. More information on this tourist site, here:

https://tic.jnto.go.jp/detail.php?id=1177

From here, we changed the train with a smaller and slower densha train from the Fuji Kyuko Line, getting us straight to Kawaguchiko Station.

The 富士五湖, Fujigoko region (which includes five beautiful lakes) is located on the northern side of Mount Fuji.  It is a gorgeous natural environment, well suited for hiking, camping, fishing, or even skiing during winter. The names of the five lakes are Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Shojiko, Yamanakako and Motosuko.

From the station, by foot, we explored the beautiful and quiet surroundings, making our way towards the lake.

From Kawaguchiko Lake, you can get one of the best views of Mount Fuji, if you have a clear day with the chance for cloudless skies.

Your visibility seems to be better during the colder seasons, also during the early morning and late evening hours. The middle of the day and summer time usually block the majestuous view of Mt. Fuji.

We were there on a warm season during the middle of the day, but the alternative was not to be there at all. For us, it was wonderful, as we had no other choice of picking the ideal moment for sightseeing.

The Kachi Kachi Ropeway will lead you to an observation point near the summit of Mount Tenjo. From this vantage point above, you can get beautiful panorama sights, which include both the lake and Mount Fuji. We did not have the time to go; our choice was to walk around the Kawaguchiko Lake as much as possible.

We enjoyed this perfect day without rain; the fact that clouds partially covered Mount Fuji, also partially sheltered us from the heat of the day, so it was almost perfect for the long walks around the Kawaguchiko Lake.

When the walk started to be a bit long, we crossed the lake on a bridge and then, we had more time to explore the quite surroundings of the locality.

Before heading to the train station, we had a picnic on the border of the lake, taking one last look at the magnificent Fuji-san.

Seeing all these serene, beautiful places is really rewarding, but talking about them is quite challenging. How can one describe the pleasant feelings and the joy of discovery when you travel to Japan, and more specific, when you are close to Mount Fuji?

Fortunately, this is a travel photography blog and the images could describe a lot more than a well-polished text.

It was already dark when we got back to Tokyo. We headed one more time to Shibuya (including a visit to a bike store). Shibuya is always the same and different each day, in the same time. We have enjoyed one more time this special and unique place, before going home (to the hotel) for our good night rest, because the next day was also the last full day of our journey in Japan.

All photos and text – © Sebastian Boatca 2020 / http://www.sebastianboatca.com

Magic At Fushimi Inari

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One of the most important and wanted locations in Japan, more precisely in Kyoto is Fushimi Inari Taisha. This amazing place was on my main list of essential objectives to visit. You can find more details about it on the internet, like here, but I won’t tell you here about its history.

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In fact I am not sure what I can tell you about Fushimi Inari, about my personal experience. Other than it is filled with enthrallment. With mystery.

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If you’re the average tourist, one possible scenario is that you come and visit, take some pictures with your smartphone, make jokes with your buddies, have a drink, laugh some more and leave the place in search for a beer. When I was there, the place was crowded with this kind of vexatious tourists.

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If you’re not the average type of visitor, you want to record this “common” walking through the gates (Senbon Torii) on your mind and soul. You’re not at the Disneyland, not even in a museum of automobiles. You are in a sacred place, inviting you to keep the silence, to find the silence within you, to clear your mind. Meditate!

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Walking along Senbon Torii and the surroundings, I let myself drown into the sea of silence. The inner peace felt easier to be found in such a magical venue.

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It felt like I never wanted or expected those torii to end. They all look the same, but they’re not and each one of them holds a magnetic force that fills your spirit with energies that you miss so much in your average, ordinary life.

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Shielded from the heat and the sunlight, I had my spiritual walk along the gates, trying to turn my eyes to my inner depths. The sacred Mount Inari and its forest have a formidable force, but you need to prepare yourself to feel some of this force.

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The beauty and the oneness of Fushimi Inari send powerful positive messages to your mind and heart. It’s not like any other place on Earth, so why not cherish every moment of your pilgrimage? You need to be able to read and understand those unheard and unspoken messages.

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This is why it is so hard for me to speak about the sources of fascination. As a photographer, you have the chance to travel back in time, by bringing with you, for you and for others around you, great memories recorded on your photographs. You treasure those frozen bits of past reality and have the chance to recreate those moments with their relevant feelings.

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It is said a picture is worth a thousand words. Could be more or less than that, but for me, the pictures from Fushimi Inari bring great help in expressing my feelings. Don’t pay too much attention to what I really wrote about the magic at Fushimi Inari.

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I just wanted to introduce you to a memorable venue, where you need to go and just be. I was there and right now, I wish I could teleport myself to the same place of mystery. They say the mysteries don’t need to be explained, they need to be lived. It is the same with Fushimi Inari Taisha. This is not the right place to ask questions, but to silently live the moment. It was pure magic and this venue just makes you remember, relive and truly come back again.

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This was no typical “travel article”, just an enticement to meditation. I hope my pictures could express a better story. And it is all more suitable when it finishes with a smile.

All photos and text – © Sebastian Boatca 2015 / http://www.sebastianboatca.com

People of Akiba

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We are all humans and we are so alike, but in the same time so different. And unique! Each one of us grows up in a different region of this world, within a different cultural environment. Some billion unique individuals, living right now, on this blue planet! That’s something to think about!

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I love to travel, a lot. I think this is one of the biggest treasures someone can accomplish, cultivate and cherish in a lifetime. This world is our home and wouldn’t be great to discover our home, see the amazing things this home is built of? There are so many wonderful places left to be visited, that my only regret is why am I not immortal, to get the chance to see them all?!?!Akihabara79

A special place would have no life and no soul without the people around, to animate the atmosphere. Without the people, a place is just a place – for a photographer, it won’t be Street Photography, or Portrait Photography categories, only Landscapes, or Architecture. But breathless.

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Akihabara is one special place – like no other (even though there could be some similar places, like Den Den City, in Osaka, I would like to visit). I am talking about an ocean of souls, some of them in a hurry, some others just spending their time looking for something, or just looking. It gives you a unique feeling of affinity and rapport with all those people.

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There is an inner dualism that captivates me and stimulates my awareness every time I travel and meet / see new people in that new place I’m about to visit :  what do I have in common with all those people and what are the differences between us? A sort of Yin-Yang tension between the resemblances (that create a mutual attraction) and the diversities (that also could call for the inner curiosity and also create attraction).

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It all starts with a smile. A smile is the first and most straightforward way to create a link between people. Going back to Akihabara, I look for the smile on people’s faces. The final question is : When people of Akiba smile at me, are they realizing they create those magnetic universal connections that mesmerize me, every time they appear?

All photos and text – © Sebastian Boatca 2015 / http://www.sebastianboatca.com

Prime Lenses vs Zoom Lenses

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I thought about writing an article on this topic; it is a very important question, especially when traveling. You feel like you need to be prepared, never miss an important moment. What to do? Travel light and feel free to walk all day long and deal with the limitations imposed by your lenses (or the only lens you have – like traveling with Fujifilm X100S – an experience explained in a previous post), or get the whole artillery and carry every lens, hoping you will have the best image quality, delivered by the right lens for the right situation?

I have traveled to the Sunrise Country with both prime and zoom lenses, wanting to be fully prepared for my documentary photographs. Those lenses are simply tools in the process of capturing glimpses of reality. My opinion can be read here.

Enjoy it!

All photos and text – © Sebastian Boatca 2015 / http://www.sebastianboatca.com

Fuji San

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This iconic place was “a must” on my list of places to visit. I have dreamed about this place, I have read about its magnetic pull, a place which stimulates your visual curiosity and your heart. A sine qua non condition when traveling to the Sunrise Country.

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I regret my stay was too short. I only walked along the Kawaguchiko Lake‘s border, hoping the clouds, the light will let me make some better photographs. This place is filled with peace and the vastness of awareness .

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It wasn’t the ideal moment of the day to capture the impressive Mount Fuji and its peak it its full greatness. But I really enjoyed my long walks – the fact I was there, to capture in my spirit the amplitude of this symbol, was one big wish that came true.

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I know one day I will come back, as a gentle consequence of the vastness that Fuji San left me to carry in my soul. There are many things, feelings, left unexplained. I guess this place is a miracle and miracles have to be lived, not explained. Can’t wait to dive into the magical, marvelous feeling that is climbing Fuji San. Pure contemplation!

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All photos and text – © Sebastian Boatca 2015 / http://www.sebastianboatca.com

 

 

My “kind of review” for Fujifilm X100S

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I have this Fuji X100S – the camera I used for the very first time when putting my first step on the Sunrise Country. I love it, it’s compact and it delivers great image quality. It felt the perfect companion when exploring the streets of Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo. And every time I use it, beautiful memories from the Sunrise Country keep coming back to me. So I thought it might be cool to share with you my impressions, as a travel photographer, about this little marvel of technology and elegance. Here it is, the review :

Just A Few Warm Impressions On Fujifilm X100S

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Enjoy it!

All photos and text – © Sebastian Boatca 2015 / http://www.sebastianboatca.com

Candid Moments

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How many times do we get the time to observe and fill our soul with the beauty that lies in very small things? This is a photo I’ve made at Osaka Castle, Japan, just in front of the ticket offices.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I’d say some pictures do and some of them are worth some special emotions. I, too, felt a pleasant emotion when capturing this moment.

This photo was used for an international photo contest, I just picked it with my heart. I don’t hope to get the prize, but I hope this moment will be recorded as a beautiful personal memory.

All photos and text – © Sebastian Boatca 2015 / http://www.sebastianboatca.com

The Nippon Streets

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I’d like to write in full speed my impressions about a personal and fantastic journey to the Sunrise Country. Time is so limited – still working on processing the photos. I guess I’ll prepare some general impressions and then, explain my personal view on several life categories. Japan is the place to be! At least for a little while!

This legendary Nissan GT-R was parked on a small street in Kyoto, where I used to live for such a little while. It is one type of expressing the Nippon way of doing things : serious, powerful, legendary, full of performance – in their own unique style.

Who would like to hear more about Japan – a very subjective and personal review of such an un-reviewable country?

All photos and text – © Sebastian Boatca 2015 / http://www.sebastianboatca.com