May 23, 2011

Amazing Power of Trees

They are the columns made of Japanese cypress in Horyu-ji Temple which was rebuilt around the beginning of the 8th century and designated as a world heritage site in 1993. The main hall, the five story pagoda and the middle gate in the temple compound  are considered to be the oldest wooden structures in the world.
 the middle gate of Horyu-ji Temple

Take a close look at the column.  This column along with other ones has supported the structures for 1300 years.  It tells us the immense vital power of Japanese cypress as well as the history of the repairs made during 1300 years.

The ancient builders had already known well  the strength of the Japanese cypress - the fittest and strongest natural materials for construction in Japan. It is said that one thousand- year-old cypress will live another one thousand years and two thousand-year-old one will live another two thousand years in the different way after being cut down.  If you touch any of them,  you will feel sensational energy through your hands.

This is one of a pair of Nio Guardians in the middle gate. It looks different as being viewed from the back.

 I'm wondering how long this magnificent building constructed of steel and concrete will continue to exist.
Kyoto Station photoed in December, 2010

In Nara Park, tiny propellers of maple trees are ready to fly.

In the grounds of Kasuga Grand Shrine, there are many old and magnificent camphor trees. It is said that the trees have been considered as divine because of their mysterious smell. People scarcely visit here where this amazing camphor tree stands with dignity.

Though the trunk is completely hollow and  has even  three big holes, amazingly enough  the tree is  growing and thriving.  The inside of the trunk is charred partially. I guess probably these damages were brought by a lightning. The tree looks like a circularly-curved wall.

Looking up to the sky through the hollow.

At dusk, this camphor tree is spotlighted by a setting sun and gently watching the deer browsing as if it were a guardian of them.
Another amazing  camphor tree is  also in the grounds of Kasuga Grand Shrine.  Tree young camphor trees were planted in 1908 and over the years they started to stick together. Now they look like one huge camphor tree.
The buds of camphor flowers are going to burst very soon.

My favorite is this Japanese cedar tree in Todai-ji Temple . It seems to show  almost all of its roots on the ground.  The photo is only part of the roots.

 I just look at the immense energy of nature in awe.

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  1. Fantastic post, snowwhite! Whenever I went to the Todai-ji Temple, I was very impressed with the ancient wooden columns. I've heard that the original Daibutsuden of the temple was much grander. The Shomu Emperor and his Empress, Komyo must have had a great ambition!

  2. There are a lot of wonders in the world.
    All these strong and beautiful trees are unknown to me.
    Thank you so much, snowwhite!

  3. Of all the wonders in the world, those of nature are the most divine!

    Wonderful photos - of living trees and lovely ancient wood.

  4. An amazing post. Very impressive trees and beautifully photographed. I had no idea camphor was such a big tree.

  5. I am amazed at how much you can find in the Nara area to post! Japan is such an amazing place full of history and intrigue! I love the contrast between new and old! Kyoto Station is amazing sitting among centuries old temples! awesome post!

  6. Este post es una preciosidad. Desde las columnas de madera de ciprés hasta las fotos de ese impresionante árbol, toda una obra de arte de la naturaleza. Preciosos encuadres. Saludos.

  7. This post is lovely. Since the columns of cypress wood to photos of this amazing tree, a work of art of nature. Beautiful frames. Greetings.

  8. What a fairy-tale.

    Thank you very much for telling. Please have a good Tuesday.

    daily athens

  9. Wonderful post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  10. These images are wonderful. The trees... I have no words.

  11. What an incredible post! Such gorgeous captures and fascinating, amazing information/history! The trees -- I'm like awarewriter, I have no words, they take my breath away! Thank you for sharing so much awesome beauty with us! Hope you have a beautiful week!


  12. I love how you talk about the energy of the tree in the columns. When I am out hiking, I reach out & touch the trees (and will give them a big hug if no one is looking...) I like to think they have they have good energy, too. They camphor trees beautiful, and the root system of the cedar is AMAZING!

  13. Wonderful shots. These ancient buildings are much stronger than modern structures. Even here one can find ancient homes constructed using tree trunks.

  14. A very interesting post, beautifully photographed. The camphor tree is amazing, and the root photo is awesome.

  15. Here in CA where I'm traveling, I can smell the wonderful scent from the cedar trees (though not ancient ones as yours in Nara are). They are bent and gnarled by the sea winds but stand like guardians on the coast. I'd love to visit that Camphor tree. I'd sit beside it and watch the deer. My favorite photo is of the tiny "propeller." It is framed by such lovely background colors. I always enjoy your views of Nature.

  16. the wood pillars are fascinating! i guess it's not only the strength of cypress but also how this temple was constructed. amazing photos! the camphor tree is a perfect example how nature carves beauty.

  17. I love the feeling of space within the temple and I love all those gorgeous trees. Isn't nature and all its' beauty so wonderful? all your photos are beautiful.

  18. wow! i'm not of a nature person but the photos are really captivating.
    beyond words, ^0^
    i have been to todaiji but didn't see those trees, really beautiful, i guess, i was so pre-occupied with the deers, haha, seeing them really eases your tension and they're very amiable too. ^0^
    i love how you photograph the hollow tree looking up, sometimes, we're so busy at the things around us that we forgot there's more to see above.
    nice post snowwhite. ^0^

  19. 小さなものに気づき、慈しみ。 壮大な構造物に想いをはせれる snowwhiteさんの とらわれない着眼点素敵です(・ω・)b!

  20. Brilliant. I've always had a special feeling for camphor trees. They do not grow in England. I recall that the big tree in "Tonari no Totoro" movie was a camphor tree.

  21. I love the old camphor tree...simply amazing! The way it stands, we can't even try to grow something like that on our own. Nature is so very creative and you have a wonderful way of capturing them in your photos!

    The roots from the trees at Todai-ji are wonderful as well...although I'm sure I would trip over each and every one of them! :D

  22. Speaking of Horyuji, I remember late Tatematsu Wahei. He paied homage to it. Last year my brother invited me to attend (observe) shusho-e ceremony held in January every year in the main hall and at that time I saw him lighting the candle during the ceremony. It was next month that I knew he passed away. How I was surprised!

  23. This are absolutely stunning!

  24. Snowwhite,this is a splendid tribute to trees and wood.
    I totally empathize with your last statement.
    Nature's powers of regeneration are awesome,and left alone I think it would get along very well without us,although the metal structure might not fare so well!

    All best wishes!

  25. I've lived in Japan for 17 years. I was just looking around at blogs today and found yours. Wow. I've been to these places but could never hope to capture them on film the way you have. So beautiful!

    Thank you for sharing. :)

  26. Hiya snowwhite,
    I enjoyed seeing your beautiful trees. The trunks are works of art.

  27. a wonderful look at your world, snowwhite. great perspective of the Kyoto station and those trees are just gorgeous.

  28. Sapphire,
    You are right. The original Great Buddha Hall was 1.5 times bigger than the present one. 300 years ago, already they suffered shortage of material. It was hard to find enough big trees to rebuild the hall. But still the present one is the largest wooden structure in the world. How magnificent the original Great Buddha Hall was! I always wonder how ancient builders built such a huge structure without using computers or machines.

    Oh, that was a camphor tree!! Many Buddhist statues also were carved from camphor wood. The most famous one is Kudara Kannon 百済観音 statue in Horyu-ji Temple.

  29. Amazingly Awe inspiring post! What beauty in nature! And such wonderful captures! Thanks for taking me along...

  30. Yes, these trees are amazing. The smooth aging timber in the temple, the amazing twisted camphor tree, and the riot of roots of the cedar tree all make beautiful photographs.

  31. your world is so fantastically beautiful, and how you photograph is amazing. I'd be happy leaning against one of those cypress columns for awhile just to catch a bit of that energy. great post snowwhite.

  32. Hello. snowwhiteさん。

    The beauty peculiar to Japan.
    Nara may hand down it forever...

    I do not know how the heart of the person turns out.
    However, the greatness of the Japanese Nature will not change.

    The graceful sense wraps your artworks.

    Have a good weekend...
    For your calmness and beauty.

    From Saga, Japan.

  33. incredibly beautiful. each shot becomes more beautiful and enchanting than the next. those trees... ancient beauties...

  34. I love the delicate simplicity of your temples, inviting the silence.
    Your fifth picture is preciossisima.
    Great wisdom passed these trees.

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  36. Yes I always have been impressed by the ingeniosity of Japanese when it come to architecture : they took the most of nature...

    Your last picture of root trees are fabulous, thanks for sharing them...

    If you come visit my blog, you will see pictures I took when I was in a medieval French festival :

    I'm sorry : everything is in French, and there is a lot of posting, but the language of picture is universal, isn't it...

    I thought a lot at you, when I took them : you share so much on tradition from your country ; I was glad to have some to share with you... ;)

    See ya !


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