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The Autumn Colors of Okuni Shrine
Autumn Trip to Okuni Shrine
Every year I look forward to seeing the colors of the trees change as fall creeps up on us. Trees and bushes that were previously green transform into hues of red, yellow and orange. And if you wait too long, you'll miss all the beauty and splendor of autumn because winter is just around the corner. I enjoy living here in Japan and although I feel fortunate to live in a country with four distinct seasons, I wish fall lasted just a little bit longer. So every year when autumn arrives, I try to get out as much as I can to take advantage of this most beautiful time of the year.
I recently took a trip to my mother's hometown Shizuoka and although I've been there many times, I never knew about this place. Okuni Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in a little town called Mori in Shizuoka.
I had heard about the place from a friend who was dying to visit so he offered to drive us out there for an overnight trip to Shizuoka with a visit to the shrine.
*All photos taken by myself unless otherwise noted.
Choose Your Season
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Arriving in Shizuoka
Discover Japan and It's Various Faces
See Japan through the eyes of three different photographers as they show the various faces of this country.
After a 3 1/2 hour drive from Tokyo, we arrived in Shizuoka city. After we checked into our hotel, we immediately made our way to Okuni Shrine. After driving for about a half hour, buildings gave way to green tea fields and traditional country houses. As we drove past this country landscape, the car suddenly started to slow down.
A long line of about twenty cars were slowly inching their way towards the temple and as it looked like it would be awhile, we decided it was a good time for lunch. There weren't many places to choose from but as we drove along with the other cars, a quaint cafe stood in the middle of a field. We really couldn't see anything else around the vicinity so we decided that it would do.
Our lunch spot turned out to be a quaint and cozy cafe owned by the most charming couple. The wife took our orders while her husband went to the kitchen to cook our lunches. While we waited I noticed more than a few miniature sets placed around the dining room and learned that they were the masterpieces of our server. I was quite impressed with her work and spent a good 20 minutes inspecting the miniature sets.
Cafe Hidamari - A Quaint and Charming CafeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Country or City?
Which describes you?
Cafe Hidamari's Handmade Miniature Sets - Check out some of the owner's hand-made clay miniature sets.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Are Miniatures Interesting to You?
Do you like miniatures?
Stunning photographs showcase the beauty and serenity of Japan including various landscapes, traditional arts and culture.
After lunch we hopped back into the car and although traffic had lessened, it still took us a good hour to get to our destination. I was amazed at how popular this place was as it's practically unknown to non-locals but one glance around and I understood why.
I have seen autumn foliage before but with the exception of Kyoto(which is hard to top) this was the most beautiful display of autumn leaves I've ever seen.
The ground of the shrine is massive and includes rivers, bridges and trails. Once the religious buildings are out of sight it almost feels as if you're in a remote forest high up in the mountains.
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Picture Perfect Autumn Scenery
Whichever way we looked, we were surrounded by an array of autumn colors. The riverbed was especially beautiful with multi-colored leaves floating on the surface of the sparkling water.
Despite the crowds, the place was so big it never felt too crowded. I could have stayed here all day if it weren't for the time.
Astounding Beauty All AroundClick thumbnail to view full-size
What's Your Favorite Thing About Autumn?
I like autumn because...
Beauty Where It's Least Expected
After an hour of admiring the beauty above and around me, I focused my attention to what was beneath my feet. To my surprise and wonder I discovered that sometimes beauty can be found in the least expected places.
Nature's Works of Art - Which photo speaks to you?Click thumbnail to view full-size
Where Do You See Beauty?
Which did you find most beautiful?
Shizuoka is definitely worth a visit if you're interested in traveling off the beaten path. This moderate-sized city is famous for seafood especially shirasu (dried baby anchovies) and sakura ebi (sakura shrimp). Other specialties include green tea and fresh wasabi. Shizuoka is easy to get to from major Japanese cities by bullet train or airplane. Obtaining English information on rural parts of Japan can sometimes be difficult. If you wish to visit Okuni Shrine and other parts of Shizuoka, the following websites may be useful.