Passing Hirano Shrine on a Snowy Morning
The weather has been very cold in Kyoto since about mid January, rarely has the maximum temperature gone above 5C. We don't have central heating in our house, it's not very common in this part of Japan, so this level of coldness is quite hard to deal with even after eight years here. I was sick off work for a week with influenza A, and two weeks later my nose still hasn't stopped running.
One good thing about this time of year, is occasionally we get some snow in Kyoto that doesn't melt for a while. On one such snowy day before I caught influenza A, I decided to head out to Kitaku (North Ward) of Kyoto city knowing there'd be even more snow on the ground up there as it's closer to the mountains.
While I was walking north along Nishioji Dori, I passed Hirano Shrine and I took this photo. After taking this photo I've did some research about Hirano Shrine and found that it has a superb collection of Cherry Trees, so I'm planning to come back during the Hanami (Cherry Blossom viewing) season. Actually with this much snow on the Cherry Trees (see the ones behind the gate) it gives a good foretaste of what they might look like in spring.
Hirano Shrine is in Kitaku, Kyoto City. Not far from Kitano Temangu Shrine and Kikaku-ji (the Temple of the Golden Pavillon). Catch any of the buses which go to those more famous places to get there. The main entrance to the Shrine is on Nishioji Dori which is the main street in this part of Kyoto so it's pretty hard to miss. During cherry blossom season I recommend going early in the morning to avoid the crowds. The sun is up before 6am at that time of the year, but most people don't start cherry blossom viewing until 9 or 10am. Most Shrines and even some temples open early, apart from Kikaku-ji which opens at 9am. BTW Kiyomizu-dera, one of the most famous temples in Kyoto opens at 6am, it's very peaceful there at that time, but from 9am onwards it's one of the most crowded sites in Kyoto.
This photo was taken with a Nikon D700 and an AF Nikkor 50 f/1.8D lens. It was captured as a RAW (.NEF) file and post processed in DxO Optics Pro 11. I made following adjustments:- Default camera and lens corrections applied; DxO Smart Lighting Applied (25%); Highlights -15%; Shadows +10%; Blacks +10%; DxO Clear View Filter Applied (50%); Contrast +50%; Microcontrast +25%; Vibrancy +25%; Saturation +15%; and PRIME Noise Reduction Applied.