Forest Gods (Japan 2014)

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Too often do overlook the natural beauty of the countries that we visit – the creeks, the caves, the mountains, the deadly creatures of the Australian bush that almost all want to kill you. This beauty that has inspired art, architecture, religions and entire civilization.

Location: Mount Haguro, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan

Method of arrival: Car

Cameras used: Nikkon D40 (70-300mm lens)

I accept that visiting any rural or natural location in any country tends to be rather difficult (unless you go for the obvious tourist traps – however there are in fact few natural reserves which tend to be on the mainstream agenda) if you don’t have a car. Should anyone ever be able to do so, or search for buses, it would be a shame to miss such beautiful locations.

There is a certain tranquility that one finds in nature and nowhere else. Empty cities seem desolate, whereas the emptiness of a forest is something comforting, something that seems to pull at strings from somewhere deep inside of us.

The tree with the rope around it is called a yorishiro – in Shinto (the indigenous religion of Japan) they are object capable of attracting spirits (kami). Once such an object is inhabited by a spirit, it’s called a shintai, but let’s not get bogged down in terminology. If you’ve been to Japan, you’ve probably seen dozens of this and perhaps weren’t sure why people would tie up trees.

Behind it lies the five-storied pagoda of Mount Haguro – a stunning building made entirely out of wood, sitting like a king of the forest, just doing its thing.

At this point I have either over-dozen on Nutella or some sort of fungus is growing in my house as my writing is bordering on insanity.

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