October 18, 2011

Nostalgic Autumn

 Around the harvest, paddy fields turn deeper gold and  rice plants proudly bow their heads. 
Transparent autumn wind gently blows and touch their heads. 
Cluster amaryllis are blooming and swinging with rice plants side by side. 
 This is my  image of  nostalgic autumn. 

         Two weeks ago, I went to Aska in Nara, the ancient capital
which is famous for terraced paddy fields and ancient burial mounds.  

The figures in the above photo are not the farmers or visitors, but the scarecrows
made by the farmers to please the eye of the visitors.
This rural area is a mecca for photographers.

Here, even  Buddha  serves as a scarecrow to protect the paddy fields. 
I appreciate and am thankful for the farmers' hard work. I can imagine how heavy labour is needed for them to maintain these beautiful terraced paddy fields. I guess it is impossible to use machines.  The terraced paddy fields may be doomed to disappear,  but I do hope this intact  scenery will be passed down to the future generation forever.

 More rice is ripe, more it bows deeply. It teaches us the importance to be humble.   

 The view of Asuka  from a small hill in early dusk.

Rice is more than staple food in Japan. It has been deeply connected to our daily life and embedded in Japanese culture.  And  rice cultivation is also closely associated with Shinto or indigenous religion of Japan. Rice is food to the soul of the Japanese.
During the new year's holidays, we eat rice cakes and display a set of two rice cake, one large and one small, at the alcove to celebrate the  new year and pray for happiness and health.

Sake or rice wine is offered to Shinto deities every day.
Sake barrels displayed in Kasuga Grand Shrine are donated from Sake brewing companies.

A sacred rope made of twisted  rice straws marks the location as a sacred site
and separates the ordinary world from the divine world.

Around the time when cherry flowers to start to bloom in spring, farmers start to seed rice.
Before the season of seeding rice, Shinto ritual "Rice Planting Ceremony" is held to pray for abundant harvest all over Japan.  The ritual in photos is held in Kasuga Grand Shrine in March every year. They are eight shrine maidens.

 In June, a rainy season, farmers transplant young rice in a paddy field.

 Now is October. Harvest is over and bundles of rice straws are dried.

Cluster amaryllis

Visit "Our World" and learn more !!


  1. Another wonderful post, Keiko. The flowers are stunning. The scarecrows are amazing! Thank you for explaining the rice crops and how they fit into your history.

  2. Beautiful shots....I enjoyed looking over your amazing photographs.
    All the best
    Short Poems

  3. Wonderful photo essay!! Boom and Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  4. I love the flowers and the rice paddy terraces are beautiful. What a lovely post and photos from your world.

  5. Fantastic captures and a terrific post as always, Keiko!! Such a wonderful tour of your beautiful country and its culture! I love it! Thanks for sharing your world with us!
    Have a great week!


  6. I love your photos. All of them and I especially like to see the rice terraces. It is a great saying when you say the rice bows low when ripe as reminder to us to keep humble. Very nice saying!

  7. What a beautiful post. I love all your colorfull photo's

  8. thank you thank you thank you

    daily athens photo

  9. How wonderful to see the rice paddies through the seasons. I love the humble rice photos and the long views over the paddies that show all shades of green as well as the red of the amaryllis.

  10. how wonderfully informative! what lovely words and images to match...thank you so very much for your time and effort for this post!

  11. This is a great post, informative and wonderful photos from a part of the world so different from my own. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Thanks for sharing, I like the gold rice paddies, same as my post. They remind me of our country. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Lovely colors... The fabulous greens of the fields and the blues of the skies are amazing... I love rice a lot and the paddy fields look great... The farmers life is indeed very tough and we must acknowledge it.
    Have a fabulous week ahead Keiko :)

  14. Those lush rice terraces really are lovely!

    Autumn is glorious in your part of the world.

  15. Hello, Snow White.
    この年齢になるまで、実際、あまり彼岸花の群生を見る機会がありませんでした。幼稚園の頃キンダーブックという絵本の中に彼岸花の絵が描かれていたのを覚えてます。彼岸花はいつもあのキンダーブックの世界にbring me backです!Let's enjoy new rice.
    Red Rose.

  16. Very informative post on rice cultivation in your country. Great pictures to accompany the post.

  17. この季節の飛鳥は見るべきものがありますね。そう思いつつ日を過ごしています。

  18. I like the terraced paddies and the swaying cluster amaryllis side by side at Inabuchi area, too.

    Regarding your comment on my "cosmos" post, it’s no wonder that we deal with the same places or the same thing as one of Nara bloggers. I like to see the tone and touch each one produces and yours always makes me delight or gasp with your breathtaking photography and treatment and development. The butterfly and the flowers you pointed out look the same : I’m amazed how they look different due to the difference of the level of the telescope lens.

  19. I had to giggle over the buddha scarecrow! How original! I love rice fields. I went to high school in rural hiroshima and we had a lot of rice fields there, too. The scenery always relaxes me and is soothing somehow. The way you captured the rice and flowers are amazing! Thank you for this post. I hope you and your family are doing well :-)

  20. Beautiful photos and great story. The scarecrows look so real I had to look at that picture a couple of times to realize they were scarecrows.

  21. Stardust,
    私の使ったンズは買った時についていた標準レンズのセットです。 最新機種と比べるともう2世代まえのものですが、愛着がありほとんど手動で使っています。




  22. 飛鳥は私も好きな場所の一つです。
    ところで飛鳥大仏前にある小さなお蕎麦屋さん ご存知ですか?「山帰来(サンキライ)」」というところで、その日のそばがなくなれば閉店になる知る人ぞ知る蕎麦処です。宣伝するわけではありませんが、ほんとにおいしいですよ^^


  23. ”the level of telescope lens”の適切でない英語表現が誤解を招いたかもしれません。 写真用語もよく知りませんが、望遠レンズのズームの度合のちがいということを意図していました。 私の愛用レンズも最初からついていたレンズセットのひとつで、200ミリが限度です。 snowwhiteさんの背景のぼけ具合から、300ミリに近いかなと予想しました。 私のレンズでは、あそこまで背景がぼけません。 ぴたりとピントの合った蝶が幻想的な背景の中にみえる・・・素敵です。 倍率が高いと焦点をあわせるのも難しいですが、snowwhiteさんは流石ですね。同じ藤袴と蝶もズーム度が変わると違った見え方がして面白いなと思います。最初、私からは同じような場面とはわかりませんでした。

    私のカメラは2年前のモデルで、子供たちから誕生祝いにもらいました。 ピントはマニュアルで合わせるようにしていますが、他の操作は最新のではマニュアル操作がややこしくなっている気がします。いま持っているカメラをもっと使いこなせるようになりたいです。

  24. Beautiful and informative post - love those scarecrows, particularly the Buddha.

  25. I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog when this post was at top. I'm very interested in rice-growing as we do so much of it here in California. It seems that other countries have more photogenic rice fields, though, as your pictures show!

  26. Keiko, your post and photos are just stunning! So beautiful, so inspirational. It is shameful that I have never heard about Rice Planting Ceremony before. Thank you for your lovely insight into Japanese culture and customs. I appreciate it very much :)

  27. Never heard of cluster amaryllis. What a wonderful combination with the green rice plants. Gorgeous post yet again.

  28. As usual, you take us behind the scenes and show us the meaning of ordinary things. I was very amused to see the Buddha used as a scarecrow!

    I do like the way your blog illuminates things which normally people might pass by without noticing. I didn't know about the rice rope symbolism, either.

    I like the tapestry-like effect of the paddy fields. I wonder why they are disappearing .

  29. Cosmos,

    私はカメラについていた、55から 250mmのレンズが一番合っています。これは18から55mmとセットになっていました。どちらも軽ほうです。ただ、絶えず付け替えないといけないので、お祭りなどを撮る時は付け替えている間に決定瞬間を何度も逃してしまいました。そこで、18から 270mmを思い切って買いました。鴨川をとったのでがそうです。ただこのレンズは重くて、行事専用にしています。買い替えることがあれば、stardustさんのようにミラーレスの軽いのにしたいと思っています。もう重いのは腕が疲れてしまって。

  30. very interesting post and photos ! :)

  31. Your photos are beautiful. I love the photo of Akusa with the tree in the foreground – lovely

  32. Such a lovely post--always a variety of visual delights. Love the view of Asuka--beautiful shot. Have a nice Sunday. Mickie :)

  33. I always love the detail in your beautiful photos.The different shades of green and pink/red look quite amazing.The trees seem to be acting as natural wind breaks!Hopefully this traditional way of farming will continue,machines have become so "essential" in modern farming and it's easy to see why farmers choose to use them where ever possible.
    Thanks for the background information,it's all so interesting.
    Enjoy your week Keiko,

  34. your posts are a consistent visual feast for my eyes. and I love learning about your culture and traditions. my favorite shot is the Buddha scarecrow. and the humbled, bowing rice stalks. and I especially like your introduction photo of the wispy cloud sky. very beautiful. happy week to you.

  35. How pleasant to visit Japan through this blog! The pictures are full of beauty and poesy.

  36. Line the rows of vines over here, the terracing in Japan leads to fascinating geometric patterns in the landscape.


Thanks a lot for visiting my blog and leaving warm messages. I will visit your site soon. keiko