In the Land of the Rising Sun: Part 12

BEST OF JAPAN

The final entry of my "In the Land of the Rising Sun" series: The dozen best photos from my trip to Japan last spring.

12. "Bridges in the Sky" - Osaka The 1980s "City of Air" project resulted in the Umeda Sky Building with two structures built together, connected by futuristic escalators - literal bridges in the sky.

11. "The Primeval Forest" - Nara A peaceful waterfall enchants wandering souls in the forested hills behind Nara.

10. "The Path of Enlightenment" - Kyoto Lanterns lead the way up the steps of Sai-mon, the west gate of the Buddhist Kiyomizu-dera temple complex.

9. "An Ode to the Samurai" - Tokyo The Imperial Palace, the seat of the Japanese emperor, rests on the grounds of the former Edo Castle. It was here that Tokugawa Ieyasu established the Tokugawa shogunate - the longest shogunate in Japan's history.

8. "Mystic" - Kyoto Thousands of slender, towering bamboo stalks rustle in the gentle breeze as the sun comes out for the day and filters soft light down to the trail below.

7. "The Crow Takes Flight" - Matsumoto Matsumoto Castle, once nicknamed the Crow Castle, appears to gain wings as a fiery sunrise unfolds.

6. "Ivy and Envy" - Tokyo Blooming sakura trees become the envy of every flower in the natural world during springtime in Japan.

5. "The Beating Heart of Osaka" - Osaka The streets pulsate at night in this dutch angle shot of Japan's second city.

"Death and Rebirth" - Osaka The still-dead trees on the left contrast with the blooming cherry blossom tree on the right, creating the perfect story for Osaka Castle - a structure destroyed and rebuilt numerous times over the last four centuries.

3. "Spirits in the Night" - Kyoto A thousand torii gates - with kanji meticulously etched into their pillars - line the walkways at Fushimi Inari, a shrine dedicated to the fox kami.

2. "Memoirs From Kyoto" - Kyoto Two Japanese women stop on the streets of Kyoto and look up at Yasaka Pagoda, a cherished landmark of the historic Gion district.

1. "The Realm of the White Heron" - Himeji A quintessential Japanese scene unfolds as Himeji Castle, towering over the surrounding landscape, basks in the first light of the day.

FIN This story is part of "Mapping Wanderlust," a project that seeks to inspire people to travel by creating an archive of global wonders. Learn more: www.mappingwanderlust.com Interested in supporting the project? Visit: www.patreon.com/MarkIandolo

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