Sunday, December 2, 2007


A fortnight ago, I was away for momijigari.
Momijigari is a Japanese tradition of going to visit scenic areas where leaves have turned red in the autumn. It is similar to hanami, but the difference between both of them is that hanami is done during the spring and instead of maple leaves, it is sakura which will be the main attraction during that period.
もみじ園 (Momijien), a park which is full of maple trees is just a few stations away from my place, and the ride took me under 15 minutes. When I was walking up the slopes to the park, I have already begun to spot some of those red and yellow maple trees. I knew straight away that this half-day trip will not be a waste and will be much better than the dam trip or the 30-minute trip I had not very long ago.
And how true it was, when the first thing I was greeted was this limestone structure, which I reckon is used for lighting during the night time.
I was there rather early that morning, so early that visitors could hardly being seen yet.
This is a small hall called Momiji Room, where entrance is prohibited for the visitors for some undisclosed reason.
But from the pamphlets I got, there was nothing much inside. There was just some typical Japanese-styled living room, with the stove in the middle like what I saw at the Ainu village during my last summer trip. I later continued my walk around the park. What a contrast it makes when red meets green.
Those red leaves are maple leaves, while the green leaves with sharp ends are some species of bamboo trees.
Slowly but surely, I began to feel that my surroundings are full with maple trees, in which most of them are red.
However, there are some other colours as well. Brownish yellow among others.
While I was walking, I had that feeling that my steps were a bit unusual. It felt like I was not stepping on hard ground. When I took a look below, only I realised that there was a layer of dried maple leaves covering the ground.
In fact, even the small stream that flows through the park was filled with those leaves until it made the stream looked as if it have become clogged.
Out of a sudden, I was stopped by someone.
A statue which look like Kuan Yin. I wonder what this statue was doing in a maple park. Any idea, anyone? I thought that coming across that statue marked the end of my trip. Not until I took some steps further into the park until I came into the main section of the park.
What can you say, but a spectacular view, isn't it?
When I first saw it, I just went "Wow!!"
Despite being quite a small park with only an area of 4000 square-feet (about half a football pitch), but it was a park worth visiting, to me at least.
The weather being fine that day, visitors begun to make their presence felt.
Most of the visitors there were mainly consist enthusiastic photographers with DSLR camera. Me, with only a normal digital camera, could not act cool match these people of course. It may be something surprising, but most of these people have entered their retiring age already.
Others would come with their family, or with their partner. But I reckon night time would suit these couples as the park will be lighten up with spotlight during the night time.
It was one moment that I spot a little girl who came in a full set of kimono.
I will blog on her some time later. Besides that, some insect wanted to join in the fun as well.
Not just one.
There were so many insects, that they have eaten up the main trunk of the maple trees. That is why some of these trees, which dated 150 to 200 years back, had to be strengthen with cement.
Believe it on your own peril.
I spent almost one hour in that park when I decided to call it a day. However, when I checked the return train schedule, the next train will only be arriving in not less than one and a half hour time.
So, instead of waiting at the station doing nothing, I walked around the park for the second time, just to kill some time.
Of course, I did not walk without doing other things.
To be honest, the numbers of photos I took exceeded my expectations, that I had difficulties selecting which photos to post up in this entry in the end. That explains why you see more photos than words in this entry.


Afterall, you cannot talk much about the same thing, can you? Eventually, it will return to the same thing on that red-maple-tree.


I tried taking a shot on the maple leaves canopy as well.
In two colours, in fact.
To wrap up this entry, it will be the best autumn shot of mine this year.
Okay, I admit it was a lame joke.


Anonymous said...

the pics speak a thousand words they are just simply awesome. They are beautiful.

mg said...

i wanna go there at nite =P

Eehui said...

japanese did a great job in planting those maple! in melb they were just located in ramdom places so autumn is not all red =(

Anonymous said...

yerr... no such place here... but at least got few pokok on the hill in front of the apt changing colours now... lol


hint: dont allow so much sunlight into your photos where you take underneath the shadow...unless you wanna emphasize the sunlight... but you emphasizing the leaves right? , you can reduce it by adjusting hue and saturation... if still not satisfactory... then exposure (again)

calvin said...

@ mackerel tabby:
with better execution, i guess they would look much better than what i have taken. thanks =)

calvin said...

why your sentence looks like halfway and incomplete? =P

calvin said...

@ lasilasi:
this momijigari thing has become something like a tradition to the japanese and there are quite a number of similar parks like the one i went all over japan.

but one thing australia have, but we don't find it here - KANGAROO! =D

calvin said...

@ kh:
people are getting ready to welcome the snow, and your place's pokok has just started to change colours? that shows how far apart are we =P

you made your comment looks like a typical japanese sensei giving hinto to the students when answering questions. lolz...

i will try to improve on that next time. thanks, by the way =)

Snowflakes said...

Hi Calvin! It's quite by chance when I am surfing the net 4 Maple Leaves in Japan then I found your blog. Your photos are so picturesque. I stay near Nagaoka now. Can I ask what is the name of this beautiful park? Can you tell me the name of the nearest station to the park? Thank you very much! Have a nice day ne...Look forward to hearing from you

calvin said...

@ snowflakes:
hi there! it's nice to hear from you. i used to live in nagaoka for three years until early this year. so, are you working or studying there at the moment?

back to your question, the name of the park is momijien (もみじ園), and the nearest station is raikoji station (来迎寺駅), located just three stations away from nagaoka station.

hope this helps and enjoy your trip there!

Snowflakes said...

Hi Calvin!

Thanks a lot for your quick reply. I'm really appreciated your friendliness! I am studing here also.

BTW, I have some more detailed questions related to your experience to the beautiful places which you visited. Can I send you an email if u don't mind? Or do you have Facebook account?

All the best :-)

calvin said...

@ snowflakes:
no problem! i would be more than happy to help you out :)

yeah, you can send me an e-mail or add me at my facebook account. you can find them at the contacts column at the bottom left of the blog. i prefer not to post my e-mail here to avoid spam mails. hope you understand =)