October 29, 2012

Fantasy of Pampas Grasses in Old Capital Site

I often come here to enjoy viewing the sky. This is the ancient capital site, Heijo Kyo
(平城京).
Imperial Audience Hall

This vast area has almost nothing except Imperial Audience Hall (大極殿) reconstructed in 2010 and Suzaku Gate (朱雀門) in 1998.  Nothing or simpleness is beautiful. Here you can see the sky changing, especially around evening twilight. 

Suzaku Gate

Once upon a time, Nara was the Capital of Japan, called Heijo-kyo (平城京).  It had been the center of the country from 710 to 784, where the emperors had held sway over Japan. When the Capital was moved to Kyoto, all structures were dismantled, transferred to and reassembled in the new capital.  So Heijo-kyo became abandoned soon, and started to be covered with paddy fields gradually.  The old capital had been forgotten and slept under the paddy fields for 1200 years.  

In 1852,  Sadamasa Kitaura (北浦定政) found the old capital had been here.  In 1952, the old capital site was designated as a Special National Historic Site (特別史跡) at last.  In 1998, this site was selected as a UNESCO World Heritage site (世界遺産). But too late. In 1914, Kinki Nippon Railway Co., Ltd. started to operate a line between Osaka and Nara. In the middle of the World Heritage Site the trains came to be running. 



In autumn, the site becomes the paradise of Japanese pampas grasses.  By showing so many different faces, they surprise me always.

 
They look like the manes of the running horses in wind.

Sometimes, they look like silver benevolent rain to grow plants.

Through a gentle veil of pampas grasses,  the passengers on a train are seen.

Gold waves in the ocean.


Pampas grasses have long been loved by Japanese people. Sei Shonagon (清少納言), a female writer and a court lady who wrote  "The Pillow Book (枕草子)"  at the beginning of the 11th century, mentioned;

秋の野の おしなべたるをかしさは 薄こそあれ

It means "Thanks to pampas grasses,  the autumn fields are aesthetic and elegant." Sorry  I cannot translate well.

Amazingly pampas grasses fit autumn dusk.


They are beckoning on the sunset.

The setting sun shows the last glow 
and a train is running through  pampas grass field in the ancient capital site.

Under a pale crescent.  It is a fantasy.

 If I am lucky enough, I can encounter such a dramatic sunset.

Visit Skywatch Friday and see more!!

45 comments:

  1. I like your description of the pampas grass “like manes of horses” … so true! These grasses look luxurious in every setting and at any time of day or night. It was nice to learn a little history about the area and lovely to think of whisking by on a train and seeing a field full of grasses from the windows. :)

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  2. 凄いなぁ~ Keiko さんは秋風になって古都の空を自由に飛べるのですね。
    風になびく薄の向こう。車内の人影には感動しました。実に素晴らしい!
    是非、写真雑誌に投稿されてはいかがですか? 

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    Replies
    1. 投稿など、とんでもないです。平城宮跡に近鉄電車が走っているのはいろいろと論議をよんでいるのですが、写真を撮っているとこれも一つの風物詩のような感じがしてきました。
      Anzuさん、私は今度は「秋風になって古都の空を自由に飛べる」という自己暗示をかけて写真を撮ってみます。すてきな言葉をありがとうございます。

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  3. This "herbe de la pampa" (that its French name, actually) is very pretty, but quite hard to photography, cause the movement on the top can be trinky in a windy days...

    I love how you treated this delicate matter, and I felt in love with the 4th picture, all golden, with the portic behind.

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  4. Simply beautiful, Keiko San. I love all these photos. Have a wonderful week.

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  5. Your photos are creating a visual poem to the swaying grasses. The sky and the grassy landscapes are fabulous. Even the sky seems to have wispy pampas grasses.

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  6. I agree with Penelope: I love your description of susuki as horses' manes!

    Susuki is such an iconic image of autumn; perhaps even more so than red leaves?

    Thanks, Keiko-san. I always feel calm, even in the middle of hectic Tokyo, after I've seen your photos.

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  7. They are really touching and amazing photos of susuki. In autumn I enjoy to see them through a window of train going through the ruin, and your photos creats more fantasy about them.

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  8. I haven’t encountered such a dramatic sunset sky... since I started photography. It is said the sunset varies depending on factors like formation of clouds, water moisture, or dust in the air. I imagined you were playing with camera till dark becoming one with nature. You have such a mastery of photographing with such low light and a heart to make people moved. I especially like the 13th image in which modern people look travelling through the ruins of ancient capital beyond time and space.

    BTW, I’ve often thought your old blog name “narastoryteller” is more apt to this blog, though “one time one meeting” sounds nice.

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    Replies
    1. Stardust,
      To see the sunset in the last photo was very lucky for me. This day I had something to do, so came here rather late. I have not seen northern lights in person, but the sunset was so impressive that I thought it was an aurora-like sunset. This was the first time to see something like this, but from the morning I had a kind of hunch.

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  9. Wow Keiko!........Those skies are amazing and so beautifully photographed. I'm always surprised to see how patterns in nature are echoed,as in image 10,where the grasses and clouds both look organic. It must be very exhilarating to to be part of this. Thank you for sharing.

    Enjoy your week!
    Ruby

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  10. The last shot is very impressive. It can be a nice poster. :)

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  11. おはようございます。この一連の写真は何時間もかけて光の変化を追い続けてきた様子が手に取るように分かります。御苦労さまでした。
     最後の写真がとても素敵です。
     中国の言葉に目立たないで良い事をする事の譬えに「白馬蘆花にいる」というのが有ります。蘆花とは荻の白い花ですが、5番目の写真を見てふと思い出しました。 

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  12. Wow wow and more wow! Such beautiful skies - and that first shot: so serene and utterly beautiful.

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  13. Wonderful scenery and photos, amazing colours. The pampas grasses are really photogenic :)

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  14. 電車と光る薄のコラボは思いつかないですが、いいアイデアですね。でもよくあの一瞬を捕えられましたね。さすがです。セピア色というか、いい色です。最後の写真のような雲が大極殿を中心に延びていく光景をみてみたいです。

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  15. The pampas grasses are elegant and graceful. I especially like the silhoettes and the beautiful sunset.

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  16. こんにちは~♪
    なんて美しくてドラマティックな古都の夕暮時なんでしょう^^
    電車の窓とススキは現実感ありますが、
    私には撮れないですしとても素敵だと思いました!!
    三日月には本当にうっとりします。

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  17. やはり一味もふた味も違う写真だなと感じます。黒いシルエットの中を走る電車がなぜか銀河鉄草999に見えてきます。メーテルも乗っているのかも・・・

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    Replies
    1. 銀河鉄道999、メーテル なつかしい!! 素晴らしいイマジネーションをお持ちですね!

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  18. こんばんは

    実にすばらしい!写真にこころがありますね。それと一緒にやさしいトーンの説明が心を和ませます。ススキはなびいているところがやっぱりなんといってもいいですよね!こんなきれいな夕暮れに出会えたなんて本当に幸せですね。

    前回の般若寺のコスモスもとても美しいです。学生時代にあのお寺に一度だけ行ったことがあり、なつかしかったです。

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  19. Breathtaking skies and colors and superb captures, Keiko-san! What a beautiful world! Thank you for sharing that beauty with us!!

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  20. A wonderful series of shots, I love pampas grass.

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  21. just a splendid post with awesome photos.

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  22. Your words and your pictures are so beautiful, that I'm always left searching for words in my comment after going through them. This is magical Keiko, you do capture the soul.

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  23. breathtaking as always. i love the light and shadows, the silhouettes against the serene sky. you live in a beautiful city.

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  24. Wow, what a beautiful sky and a lovely place. Your images are wonderful. Thanks for sharing your skies, happy skywatching!

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  25. every image is magical...thank you for sharing this history and your direct experience...beautiful post!

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  26. I recall seeing some of your stunning pampas grass photos on porevious posts and love these new ones as well.
    I always find your posts so interesting.

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  27. you've elevated the pampas grass to soaring heights. "manes on running horses" - that is perfect! each photo is magical, I especially like the sunset silhouettes and the passengers on the train through the grasses. happy week to you Keiko.

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  28. 遅い訪問になりました。今日からブログ訪問再開してます。
    平城京の中とはいえ、広いのによく撮影されたなあと思います!沢山のススキのイメージ素晴らしいです。
    特に4,13,14番目のススキが好きです。ススキのそばを走る電車は、レトロ電車の様に見えてゴトン、ゴトンと走ってる音が聞えそうです。
    Tomoko

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  29. Keiko -- this is such a lovely post. I learned some history of Japan (I'm woefully ignorant and it is a good thing to keep learning at my age). And your pictures are just beautiful as are your descriptions ....I can almost feel the pampas grass blowing in the breeze. You live in a beautiful place! Thank you for sharing it.

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  30. I am catching up after a long trip. What a peaceful joy to look at all your stunning pictures of Japan. Your posts are also so informative. I like your last post with leaves on the river – it really catches the mood of autumn.

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  31. Hi Keiko, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

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  32. Marvelous serie...
    Best regards from France,

    Pierre

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  33. Hi friend... your captured photos are simply beautiful! Liked the fast changing sky... there are plenty of Pampas grasses in our state too during July/August/September months... Seeing a rushing passenger train through swaying grasses is indeed a classic charming feeling :-)

    Regards,
    Anunoy Samanta
    -------------------------------
    http://just4suzan.blogspot.com

    http://imakemytrip.blogspot.com

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  34. I wanted to post a comment on your last post, but I can't find the link to the comments...
    Anyway, I love the series! :-)


    Greetings from The Netherlands!

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    Replies
    1. I have been away from PC for a while. I will be back as soon as possible. Thanks a lot!

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  35. Hello!

    I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon.

    Van Hire orpington

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  36. Your pictures and very unique,it has captured the beauty of Autumn,sunset,wind sweeping grass and its dance in melody of changing colors.Loved every shots you have taken.Thanks for sharing.

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