Roughing It Out Beneath
The Sakura Trees
When cherry blossoms (sakura) season arrives, most of the places across Japan become so lively in hues of pink. Kyushu, the third largest island of Japan, is no different!
Finalists of Canon PhotoMarathon 2017 and Photo Face-off Season 4 will embark on intensive photography challenges covering some of the top cherry blossom viewing spots in the Kyushu region. Led by renowned landscape photographer and instructor Goto Aki, #CPMC2018 will push finalists’ photography to next level.
With more photography workshops added to the lineup of #CPMC2018, finalists can expect to transform their photographic vision into a passionate profession.
Kyushu’s Hidden Gems
Itsukushima is a Shinto shrine on the island of Itsukushima (also popularly known as Miyajima Island) reputable for its “floating” torii gate and roaming wild deer. To catch a glimpse of the “floating” torii gate, it is best to visit during the high tide. Apart from the iconic sight of the great torii gate, be sure to also visit the halls of the shrine, which are interconnected by cast iron lanterns that stay lighted up until 11pm.
The shrine is a registered UNESCO site in Hiroshima.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is another important UNESCO site constructed to commemorate the victims of the atomic bomb attack in the World War 2. The iconic structure in the memorial park is the A-bomb Dome (also known as Genbaku Dome), located 160m from the epicenter of the blast. It is now a remnant of the nuclear attack.
Kintai Bridge is a wooden 5 arched bridge in Iwakuni city constructed 350 years ago. The structure of the bridge has been strengthened over the years to improve the bridge’s resistance to floods. Kintai Bridge is a popular hannami (flower viewing) spot in spring as cherry blossoms surround the area and float on the waters of Nishiki River, which the bridge overlooks.
Akiyoshido is the largest limestone cave in Japan. It spans about 10km but only 1km is accessible by visitors.
The temperature in the cave is mysteriously kept at a constant of 17°C throughout the year.
Motonosumi Innari Shrine
Motonosumi Inari Shrine is famous for its 123 red torii gates snaking towards the cliff that overlooks the Sea of Japan. Besides the picturesque view of the red torii gates contrasting against the deep blue waters, visitors can also keep a look out for the unique offertory box at the shrine. Instead of being placed on the ground, the offertory box at the site is situated on the top of the 5-metre main entrance torii gate instead. It is believed wishes will be granted if the devotee successfully tosses the money into the box.
Kataro Fish Market
If Fugu (pufferfish) is a must-have on your sashimi palette, then Karato Fish Market is the place to get a bang for your buck. In fact, Karato Fish Market is famous for its affordably priced Fugu, a high grade fish in Japan. The eateries in the area also have a variety of sushi topped with fish freshly delivered from market.
Huis Ten Bosch
Known as “Little Europe”, Huis Ten Bosch is a theme park in Sasebo, Nagasaki, modelled after the residences of the Dutch Royal Family. The theme park features replicas of the iconic Dutch structures such as windmills and canals. The 152-hectar theme park is filled with beautiful seasonal flowers throughout the year. The tulip season in March is especially popular amongst tourists.
Located near the city of Shimabara, Unzen Jigoku (also known as Unzen Hell) is a popular hot spring town in Nagasaki. The hot spring got its name from the steamy scenery, which resembles the vision of hell, produced by the violent eruptions of spring water and strong smell of sulfur.
In spring, Unzen Jigoku is given a lease of life as azaleas turn the mountainside into a pink paradise.
Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Kyushu, is located in Aso Kuju in the Kumamoto prefecture. Mount Nakadake, one of the mountain’s active volcanic peaks, has a spectacular view of the volcano and is easily accessible to tourists by ropeway or toll road.
Takachiho is a town in northern Miyazaki Prefecture that is steeped in Japanese mythology. The top attractions of the town include the Takachiho Gorge and Kunimigaoka hill. Takachiho Gorge was a result of the eruption of Mount Aso. Lava from the eruption eroded over time and formed the high cliffs of the gorge today.
To be fully immersed in the town’s mytholodgy, visitors can also make their way to the Kaguraden performance hall at Takachiho Shrine to catch the Takachiho Kagura Dance held every evening from 8pm – 9pm.
Hyugamisaki is a stretch of beautiful beaches facing the Pacific Ocean. Okuragahama Beach, one of Japan’s 100 best beaches with white sands and green pines stretches about 4km and is a famous surf spot. Another notable icon is the Hososhima Lighthouse which stands 100m above sea level.
Yufuin is another hot spring resort popular amongst tourists. It offers a more rural and laid back alternative for city dwellers who enjoy hot springs. Apart from hot springs, visitors can also take a stroll along the main street of the town and enjoy small art museums, cafes and boutiques.
Kokonoe Yume Otsurihashi
Kokonoe Yume Otsurihashi is the highest suspension bridge for pedestrians in Japan. It is 173m high and 390m long. While standing on the bridge, be mesmerized by the beautiful waterfalls that stand before your eyes.
Dazaifu Tenmangu is a Shinto shrine in Fukuoka Prefecture. It was built in honor of Sugawara Michizane, the God of wisdom. This shrine is well-known for its divine power for academic success and are usually visited by devotees who are taking school entrance exams. It was also said that Michizane was fond of plum trees and as many as 6000 of them grown on the grounds of Daizaifu Tenmangu. Visitors can see the blooms from late February to mid-March.
Behind the lens of Goto Aki
Goto Aki (landscape photographer and artist) has journeyed to 54 countries since traveling around the world in 1993 up through today. His trademark is creating image world-views, especially of journeys, that are tranquil and expansive beyond what can be captured with the human eye. His work has been exhibited in Canon Galleries across 6 major cities in Japan since 2010.
Find out more about his experiences on his journey to professional photography.
Canon PhotoMarathon 2017 Finalists
Photographers from different countries in Asia who have won the Canon PhotoMarathon in their various regions will learn about Japanese culture, shoot photos and study photography techniques all while being kept on their toes.
Goto Aki will give them several challenges over nine days to hone each finalist’s photographic vision. Find out more about his experiences on his journey to professional photography.
Get the latest updates of Canon PhotoMarathon Asia Championship 2018 here.