October 09, 2012

Nostalgia in Asuka

This is Inabuchi(稲淵) area in Asuka.

A beautiful countryside landscape evokes nostalgia. Golden ears of rice shine under a high autumn sky, and cluster amaryllises are in bloom at the edges of the paddy fields.

I visited Inabuchi area,  Asuka in Nara Prefecture. Asuka, the ancient capital of Japan, is famous for terraced paddy fields and ancient burial mounds. This soothing scenery never disappoints me. I deeply breathe in fresh air and fully feel recharged.

I saw a lot of dragonflies. 

The paths are lined with lovely scarecrows.
 Orthodox scarecrow 

My favorite. Father and Son are enjoying Sake rice wine after working in the fields.

Inabuchi is well-known for fascinating terraced paddy fields, but also backed by a lot of charming bamboo groves. The contrast of the bamboos in the sun and in the shade was beautiful. While I was taking photos, one bamboo in the shadow was glistening for about ten seconds or so. It was a mystery!  I imagined Princess Kaguya in "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter" might have came down to the bamboo from the moon.

Since ancient times Japan has been called beautifully "Mizuho no Kuni (瑞穂の国), Land Blessed with Abundant Rice"where the people have been growing rice for more than 2000 years. Freshly boiled  pearly rice is the best delicacy and the symbol of happiness.  When I feel down, steaming boiled rice gives me a power to recover. Rice is the only one product whose self-sufficiency rate is 100% in Japan.

This area is blessed with rich sources of water.

It is hard to imagine why Cluster Amaryllis flowers are associated with ominous images.  The flowers have a lot of different names in Japanese. According to Wikipedia, they are called, flowers of the dead,  ghost flowers, hell flowers,  flowers of abandoned children and so on. 
But, also they are appreciated as celestial flowers. I agree with this 100%!

I am fascinated by this delicate  beauty.

Asuka is also the cradle of  Buddhism of Japan.  In 538 or 552, Buddhism was officially  introduced to Japan through  King Song (聖明王) of Korea who sent Buddhist statues and sutras to the Emperor.  Whether or not  Buddhism should be accepted in Japan, pro-Buddhist party led by the Soga clan (蘇我氏) and anti-Buddhist party led by the Mononobe clan (物部氏) fought against each other. After 35 year struggles,  the pro-Buddhist Soga clan won the war. This war is often said to have been the religious war, but also it is said that actually two powerful clans struggled for supremacy. In Japan religious wars have been rare. In 596, Soga no Umako (蘇我馬子), the supreme leader of the Soga clan, built Asuka-dera Temple, the first Buddhist temple in Japan.

This is called "Ishi-butai 石舞台" , which literally means "Stone Stage". This stone stage consists of about thirty granite rocks and weighs about 2300 tons. This Stone Stage is believed to be the tomb of Soga no Umako who was the most powerful man at that time and  built Asuka-deraTemple, the first Buddhist temple in Japan.

Around Stone Stage, Japanese sliver grasses are shining in the sun and beckoning us.

The spikes of the grasses look like sparkling  jewels.

my related blog, Nostalgic autumn.


  1. Very beautiful, Keiko San. Your images always fill me with joy.

  2. What a beautiful scene as always. I rethought that Japan is a very beautiful country compared to other countries.

  3. At first it seemed as if the bright bamboo and shaded ones were entirely different plants. The dark grasses are mysterious, indeed, and the lone bamboo that is lit up in the shadows does invite us to speculate as you have done. I also like the scarecrow family sitting on the knoll. They look so natural in the field. :)

  4. Thank you for taking us on a stroll in this lovely place! I just bought some amaryllis bulbs from the netherlands - but here they are kept as indoor - plants. Are yours taken out of the earth during cold and hard winter times?

  5. Oglądałam zdjęcia kilka razy i podziwiałam przyrodę tak inną od naszej. Dziękuję za to i pozdrawiam z Polski.
    I watched the pictures several times and admired nature so different from ours. Thank you for that and greetings from Polish.

    1. Dziękuję, że złożyłaś mi rewizytę i miło skomentowałaś. Ciekawie się u Ciebie ogląda to, czego u nas nie ma. Podoba mi się ta "inność". Pozdrawiam.
      Thank you You put me skomentowałaś return visit and nice. At you curiously watching what we do not have. I like the "otherness". Yours.

  6. The red dragonfly takes on the scarlet color of the amaryllis! The texture of the paddies makes such interesting photos. What a calming place - I've enjoyed walking with you.

  7. I love higanbana, too, but EVERYTHING in your photos is beautiful. I grinned at the scarecrows, smiled at the sunlight on the silver grass, marvelled at that water photograph.

    I didn't know that Buddhism took hold in Japan after a war! Very interesting. Now I want to read more about that!

  8. いよいよ秋ですね~~!

  9. How happy we are to have Asuka as a home to our heart in accessible distance! The charms of the region never cease to attract me from season to season. I also visited Asuka a few days before the typhoon. There were many amateur photographers around the terraces while along the river was relatively sparse. These photos made me feel nostalgic indeed. I especially like the graceful pose of the dragon fly on a blade in the last.

  10. Asuka is now on my must visit list. After reading your post, I am very interested in visiting and photographing the area. It seems to have the history, rice paddies, contrasting colors of the nature,stream and humor all wrapped in one place. What more can a person ask as a visitor to Japan !!!
    Your post excites me, and the photographs are fabulous.

  11. こんばんは。美しい棚田、清らかな水、石舞台古墳、将に日本の原風景ですね。白い彼岸花もとても綺麗です。

  12. この度のポストも個性的な写真が満載ですね。わたしも竹藪が好きで心惹かれるので、一本が光っているのはとても印象深かっただろうと想像しますし、写真からも伺えます。トンボのこんな表情を見るのは初めてです。何でも良く見ると興味深いものですね。

  13. How lucky you and Nara bloggers are to have Asuka in Nara prefecture! Higanbana, rice paddies, susuki grass, and Ishi-butai! All that you'd photographed at Asuka enchanted me! It was more than 10 years ago we visited the village. We stayed at a small inn there.


    1. 奈良には奈良時間があるといわれていますが、特に明日香は時間の流れがちがうように感じます。

  14. わたしも田植えの時期に稲淵を訪れました。あの田が今このような実りの季節を迎えているのですね。黄金にひかる棚田に緋色の彼岸花、秋あかねの群れ、日本の秋まっさかりですね。小川の流れ、やさしくて、さすがです。

  15. your photos are amazing!!! I had no idea Japan was so beautiful, or what rice paddies looked like. thank you to for the history. fascinating!!
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.
    I would love to visit Japan someday.

  16. What beauty you have shared, the colours, scenery and the story are wonderful. The flowers and the "water" picture really captured my imagination.

  17. It was fascinating to see how you and your fellow blogger stardust made a post from an different angle of view about the same cosy area of Asuka. Japan offers so many interesting and different destinations you certainly need more than one life to visit all of them. Always a pleasure to read your thought and look at your photographs, Keiko!

  18. Such beautifully soothing photos - real food for the soul.

  19. 私も飛鳥に行ってきました。早朝の甘樫の丘から見る景色は、まさに水墨画の世界でした。「明日香村」という村であり続けておられることがうれしいです。洗練された写真の数々、いつものことながらすばらしいです。

  20. I juste love the way that Japanese people mold the landscape : they feel the Nature and work with Her to produce beauty, it is so stunning for us in France, cause we don't care much about nature, with our "Jardins à la Français" so squared...

  21. Dearest snowwhite,
    Oh, I've never visited Nara (I live in Yamaguchi) and so amazed and stunned the vast 稲淵 and beautiful 彼岸花 and so on☆☆☆ Your pictures are really wonderful as well(^_^)v
    So happy to know you and thank you very much for stopping by, my new Japanese friend.
    Have a wonderful rest of the weekend, xoxo Miyako*

  22. How true, snowwhite - the landscape is indeed soothing with the calm breeze and the peaceful nature just like your images and words. Be it your vision of the sparkling jewels, the mystery of the sparkling bamboo or the delicate flowers and the gushing waters - you never fail to bring a whole new world 'live' in front my eyes and it is actually an honor to walk along with you. Thank you and wish you happy days ahead. :)

  23. Beautiful landscape,I love the combination of the reds and greens.I can see how the red tongues of the cluster amaryllis may have been connected with hell fire,if that indeed is the connection. We never see red dragonflies here,they are usually blue or green.Beautiful photos,especially 8 and 9.
    The tableau with two figures may actually attract crows looking for food,it's very realistic!!!
    Enjoy your day Keiko,

  24. Wonderful post, amazing landscape, and a very touching dragonfly. I think the branch it's sitting on is moving under the breath of the wind.

  25. once again you've captivated me with your words and photos. I'm intrigued by Stone Stage and the blowing grasses. I imagine that I feel the breeze on my cheek by simply looking at this photo. And I especially like the contrast between the heat of the amaryllis and the coolness of the water flowing over stones. Asuka is a truly magical place and you've captured it beautifully; I'm very happy you've shared this it has enriched my day. happy weekend to you Keiko.

  26. Hello, snowwhite.

      Your work is embraced in your gentleness.
      And sweet message charms my heart.

      The prayer for all peace.
      I wish You all the best.

    Have a good day. from Japan, ruma ❀

  27. ♪彡♪♫°¸.•♫°`
    Suas fotos são tão lindas!
    Esses campos verdes rodeados por essas flores vermelhas.
    A natureza é muito linda!
    Obrigada pelas explicações sobre a história do Japão.
    Sempre aprendo mais quando venho no seu blog.
    Bom fim de semana!

  28. Beautiful Keiko -- those terraced fields are just amazingly lovely -- like nothing I've ever seen. I loved reading this history and can just imagine how you feel eating your rice...very beautifully written. I can't imagine why there are bad mental images associated with the amaryllis, I too think they are lovely. Thank you for this lovely post -- I learned a lot and enjoyed every bit of it.

  29. keikoさん こんにちは。
    秋も深まりましたね。そんな時、奈良の飛鳥ほど日本人が追い求める原風景に近い景色はない事でしょう。主人も「飛鳥の石舞台へ行ってみたいなぁ」と、先週末 突然つぶやいていました!? 私は奈良でも飛鳥は遠いなぁ~とうつむきながら考えていました。

    昔 私が中学生の頃、遠足で飛鳥サイクリングが決行されました。自転車に乗れない生徒は運動場で事前特訓です。それでも当日、田畑に転落する人続出でした。(@Д@; 
    その当時は黄金色に輝く田畑と曼珠沙華の美しさに 残念ながら気が付きませんでした。
    日本の秋は 新米の秋。 私達は日本酒で愉しんでいます。

    1. 飛鳥では自転車を軽やかに乗り回している人をたくさん見ました。確かにあそこは訓練してから行く方が安全ではありますね。私なら谷にまっさかさまに落ちるかもしれません。そういうことを思うとマイナスのイメージトレーニングになって本当に落ちる可能性も。以前、蓮を水辺で撮っていて、レンズ交換をするときに、落とすというイメージが浮かび、本当に落としてしまいました。ぶくぶく泡をだしながら沈んでいくのを悲しい気持ちで見ていました。



  30. I think Princess Kaguya also imbued you and your camera with magical powers while she was visiting. Wonderful and inspiring images! Thanks you for sharing your efforts with us!

    1. Bruce,
      What a wonderful idea!! Yes, I believe she was there for a sort time. Nobody noticed it but me. What you said made me want to visit Inabuchi again. Thanks a lot for inspiring and encouraging comment.
      On 30th September, we were to enjoy the most beautiful moon of year. But unfortunately, it rained heavily that night. sigh, sigh, sigh.

  31. The natural beauty of this area is stunning and you did a wonderful job of capturing it. :)

  32. hello,
    is wonderful visit. Fascinating photo of bamboo illuminated by moments like the mystery story of Princess Kaguya ... I love it!
    The Cluster Amaryllis is really beautiful, I agree with you that looks like a blue flower!

    All your photos are very inspiring .. I feel great!

    Thank you very much!


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