Zekkei is a flowery Japanese word that translates to “beautiful scenery,” but the linguistic flair feels justified when you see some of the breathtaking views to be found as you travel around the country. As a matter of fact, there’s enough zekkei in Japan that there’s a whole travel site called Zekkei Japan, which uses amazing photography as the jumping off point for hotel and tour bookings.
Travel is still a dicey proposition these days, but Zekkei Japan wants to give even people who are social distancing a taste of the travel options that are waiting for them once they feel it’s safe to travel again, and so it recently held a Scenic Places We Want to Go to Once the Coronavirus Settles Down photo contest. After sifting through over 1,000 entries, the panel of judges have selected the best of the best, so let’s take a look.
The top honor goes to this radiant picture of Kumamoto Prefecture’s Fufudaki. Located in the town of Minami Ogunimachi, Fufudaki’s name means “husband and wife waterfall,” referencing its location at the spot where two rivers come together.
The earth, sea, and sky all contribute to this beautiful scene on the shore of Sadoshima, an island in Niigata Prefecture. At the ocean horizon, the lights of the Milky Way mingle with those of the shining umihotaru (“sea firefly”), a type of bioluminescent crustacean.
There are shrines with torii gates in the water, and there are shrines with multiple torii gates. Ouo Shrine, though, in Tara, Saga Prefecture, is a are case of multiple torii stretching into the water, and with Ouo meaning “big fish,” it’s a reminder of how coastal communities have long depended on the blessings of marine nature.
Japan’s northeastern Tohoku area is often associated with snowy, mountainous terrain. This photo, though, showing a wildflower covered plateau at an undisclosed location in Iwate Prefecture, reveals another facet to the region’s beauty.
At first glance, this might look like a bird standing on a mountain peak surrounded by early-morning mist, but it’s actually a heron perched on a rock outcropping in the middle of a rapidly flowing river in Fukui Prefecture. The composition brings to mind classical Japanese tapestry painting, and it’s easy to imagine such a scene inspiring an artist of ages past to pick up a brush and capture the moment for future generations to appreciate.
It’s pretty common knowledge among Japan travel fans that the city of Nara has herds of deer that roam freely around the parks and streets of the city center. But the animals also can be found in hiking paths that lead into the nearby foothills, and a stroll up the trails in the late afternoon will allow you to take in the view of the deer, city, and sunset all at once.
Not only are the photos beautiful, their focus on nature and traditional culture is reassuring. International tourism to Japan is still restricted (though hopefully not for too much longer), but once the country is ready to start welcoming visitors from abroad once again, sights like these will be waiting.
Source, images: PR Times
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