One of the great joys of exploring Japan’s beautiful temples and gardens for me is the sheer wealth of little details I can find.

Miniature torii made as votive offerings, Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto

Some are part of the art and architecture, and some are natural — or should I say, engineered natural, being a result of cultivating certain trees, shrubs, or mosses in that place. They’re fun subjects to photograph, and looking closer can be a refreshing change from competing with other photographers and tourists for the big picture. In fact some of these detail shots were taken while waiting for the crowd to clear from somewhere nearby.  I’ve come to enjoy it so much that I’ve begun packing a macro lens on our trips to Japan.

Maple leaves frozen in a birdbath, Jingoji, Takao. One of my all-time favorite macro shots.
Camellia and plum blossom petals on moss, Jonangu Shrine, Kyoto
Some kind of guardian figure, Jingoji, Takao
Inscriptions on stone, Jingoji, Takao
Wood-ear mushrooms, Gioji, Arashiyama. This temple has a great moss garden.
Rakan statue with coin offerings, Otagi Nenbutsuji, Arashiyama
Found in a monastery …

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