Tokyobling's Blog

Kifunejinja – Kakitagawa Yuusui – Forest Shrine

Posted in Nature, Places by tokyobling on August 19, 2015

At the Kakitagawa Yuusui park in Shizuoka Prefecture’s Mishima City you can visit the tiny Kifune Shrine (貴船神社). It is a shrine dedicated to the God Takaoka-no-kami, who is the Inoame and Tomeame God, or the God who can start and stop rain at his will. The Shrine is a tributary of the much larger and more famous Kifunejinja in Kyoto far to the west. The shrine itself is located on the highest spot in the river and spring valley, on the spot of a castle which was first destroyed in the 1570s, rebuilt and finally destroyed again sometime in the 1610s. The lack of remains of any castle structures might mean that it was a wooden castle, more like a fort. The nature around the shrine is very beautiful, and there were plenty of insect, lizards, fish and birds around. I saw one semi sit quietly on the trunk of a tree. In summer the swarms of semi can be quite deafening, almost like a motorcycle constantly revving its engine!

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Cicada Shell

Posted in Nature by tokyobling on October 17, 2010

I know, the title of this post would be a pretty neat name for an anime series, wouldn’t it? In Japan, cicadas are numerous and they are everywhere. In the summer their droning songs are to be heard everywhere. You can often tell a Japanese persons age by the number of different cicada species they know just by listening to the different songs. Younger Japanese tend not to have valued that little piece of information.

Even in Tokyo you can hear them everywhere, and especially in rural areas they can be so numerous as to make sleeping difficult. If you have never experienced the noise a couple of hundred cicadas outside your bedroom window can make then you’re up for a treat the next time you go traveling in Japan!

When cicadas leave the earth to take their final shape they first have to shed their old skin, leaving behind perfectly shaped and absolutely empty, gorgeously detailed husks. It is customary for children to collect these and more than one of my friends have kids bringing home their collections after school everyday. If you keep a sharp eye out, you’ll spot these husks on the underside of leaves in almost all parks and green areas, even in Tokyo. I found one the other day, while out walking with my nifty Sigma 70-300mm tele macro. Isn’t it beautiful?

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