Japan - Jonathan Khee

Jon K. Stoutlager

In the ancient literature there is a description called 'Savikalpa Samadhi'. That means that you see things as you see them with your eyes, but you experience them emotionally and viscerally, as with ecstasy, and a sense of total unity and oneness.


  • Twin Nyan Welcome Mat

    Osaka-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • The Sun's Origin

    I am one of the lucky few. I travel with my muse and together, we watched and photographed as the sun rose from under us and the North Star disappears. Also known as The Land of the Rising Sun. Both Nippon and Nihon literally mean 'The Sun's Origin'. Somewhere over the Pacific Sea, 0623 hrs local time, 2.5 hours bound for Kansai International Airport, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • The Gates of The Yasaka Jinja

    This are the illuminated gates of the Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社 Yasaka-jinja). It was once called the Gion Shrine (祇園神社 Gion-jinja) and is a Shinto shrine in the ever so popular Gion District of Kyoto-shi. The initial construction on the Shrine began in 656 and from 1871 through 1946, Yasaka Shrine was officially designated one of the Kanpei-taisha (官幣大社?), meaning that it stood in the first rank of government supported shrines. The Yasaka Shrine serves as a gateway for thousands of visitors who would pass through the temple on their way to the Maruyama Park for the hanami (sakura viewing) site. This is the perfect place to pass by as you exit the other temples and sites such as the Kiyomizudera as it is on the way to the Gion (Geisha district) street. In case you are wondering, the barrels on each side carry sake. Yasaka Jinja (八坂神社). Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • The Elements of Lake Toya

    The beautiful Lake Toya (洞爺湖) is a volcanic caldera lake in the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. The Japanese pioneers named the lake Toya after the Ainu expression 'To-Ya', which means "Lakeland", due to the island in the center of the lake. Popular with the tourists, besides being a great honeymoon spot to visit for its view, the 2008 G8 summit was held at The Windsor Hotel Toya Resort & Spa. Lake Toya (洞爺湖) Shikotsu-Toya National Park, Abuta District, Hokkaido, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • The Niōmon in a Monocromatic Surrounding

    The niōmon (仁王門) A.K.A. the deva gates. The niōmon is a Buddhist temple gate guarded by two wooden warriors called Niō (lit. Two Kings). Kiyomizudera. Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • A Spring Weekend in a Yukata

    A chance encounter with two very elegant ladies in traditional Japanese summer kimono, also known as a yukata. I first met them in Nijou Castle which was when I took this photograph. I would then later on encounter them a couple more times throughout the day from the Nijou Castle all the way up until the Kiyomizudera Temple. The primary element that caught my eye was not of the elegant yukata, but rather of the crowd of tourists with cameras that they attract. At least, everyone was very courteous and enthusiastic. It is good manners that as the tourist, one should offer the respect of being in the presence in another's country. Nijou Castle, 二条城, Nijo-jo. Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • The Secret Elemental

    Lava, sulfur, steam, clouds, wood, ice and snow...and a snowstorm is acoming. The dome shape of the mountain is a rather rare and distinctive, even amongst volcanoes. "The mountain was created between 1944 and 1945. Initially, a series of strong earthquakes shook the area, and wheat fields were rapidly uplifted. Lava broke through the surface and the current peak was created. The peak is now 398 m (1,306 ft) tall, and still actively smoking. "The name Showa-shinzan literally means "Showa new mountain", as it formed during the reign of Emperor Hirohito, known as the Showa period. When Shōwa-shinzan first appeared, the Japanese authorities were worried that it might be interpreted as an unlucky wartime omen, and its existence was kept secret. Much of the information about peak's formation during these years comes from local postmaster Masao Mimatsu, who kept detailed measurements of its progress." - Taken from Wikipedia. Showa-shinzan, Shikotsu-Toya National Park, Abuta District, Hokkaido, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • The Fashion of Spring

    Remnants of the cherry blossom that are still in bloom within the compounds of the Nijou Castle in Kyoto, Japan. I was lucky to be able to catch the ones in the shade as they are still in perfect bloom. If I am not mistaken, these are the Japanese Hill Cherry (Prunus serrulata). The Japanese are very fond of their seasons. One may study that their culture and heritage to find that it evolves around the seasons and the change that comes with it. Spring marks the restarting and rejuvenation of life. Nothing represents spring in Japan ever more than their annual sakura blooms which is popular worldwide. Nijou Castle. Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Girls In Their Summer Kimonos (Yukata)

    Entrance to the Kiyomizudera Temple, Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • The Honmaru Palace

    Photographed from one of the turrets in the corner of the surrounding walls of the Nijou Castle. Nijou Castle. Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • The Infinite Torii

    These are known as the Torii gates. The function of one acts as a gateway and marks the entrance to a sacred place from the profane world. Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • The Passage of Wishes

    A couple of tourists reading the wishes (gan'i 願意) written on the small wooden plaques (Ema 絵馬) where you write your wishes and leave them hanging at the shrine. This was in the Jishu-jinja, the match-making shrine by the Kiyomizudera Temple. Jishu-jinja (Match-making Shrine). Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • A Lone Micro Snowman on Valentine's

    cute micro snowman was erected right in the middle of the viewing platform/bridge. It feels rather lonely, being by itself in a crowd, on Valentine's, along the 'Lover's Canal'. The perfect time would be in the evening, when the sky has a beautiful glow and the street lamps decided to light the way for you. The Otaru Canal's iconic feature would be the street's Victorian styled gas lamps. Be sure not to miss those while taking photographs. "Otaru Canal (小樽運河, Otaru Unga) was a central part of the city's busy port in the first half of the 20th century. Large vessels were unloaded by smaller ships, which then transported the goods to warehouses along the canal. "The canal became obsolete when modern dock facilities allowed for direct unloading of larger vessels. Thanks to a citizens' movement, a part of the canal was beautifully restored in the 1980s instead of being landfilled, while the warehouses were transformed into museums, shops and restaurants. "The canal makes for a pleasant stroll during the day, when artists present their works to passing tourists, and during the evenings when old fashioned gas lamps are lit and provide a romantic atmosphere. The canal also serves as the main site of the town's Snow Light Path Festival." - Quoted from http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6701.html Otaru Canal (小樽運河, Otaru Unga), Otaru. Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • The Tradition of Purification

    It is a common Buddhist practice for one to cleanse both hands and take a sip from the natural wells provided at the temples before heading in. The practice symbolises one's journey. Kiyomizudera Temple (清水寺). Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Gilco Running Man

    The signature of Dotonbori, Osaka-shi, Japan.

  • The Showa-shinzan from Usuzan

    Took the yellow bentou box up to the windy and chilly Usuzan (Mount Usu) and caught a beautiful and decisive moment of the sun ray hitting the Showa-shinzan. From experience, these moments last from anywhere between twenty seconds to two minutes. Look away and one may just miss out on the shared moment. One may not even know that it was there. Showa-shinzan, Shikotsu-Toya National Park, Abuta District, Hokkaido, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • My Superpower is Stopping A Train

    Photographed along the tracks of the Kyoto Station, Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Full Bloom in Kyoto Spring

    Beautiful petals on a bright sunny day. Nijou Castle. Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Storm the Castle

    A really impressive stretch of ramparts and huge moat to rival many of the castles around the world. On the other side, there is a dry moat for the purpose of spotting any ninja assassins who seek to eliminate the Shogun at that time, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Osaka Castle, Osaka-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • The Midnight Lanterns

    The slightest pause will bring about the greatest effect. In the evening, the line for prayers at this temple was never ending with office workers whom just finished dinner and were on their way home. In Japan, the population concentration in the cities are very high. With these quaint and cozy pockets within the city, one may just be able to take a moment to say a prayer in the quiet. Just off the crowded and busy streets of Dotonbori, there is a Buddhist temple called Hozenji Yokocho. It is famous for its moss-covered Fudo-myo statue, the Mizukake Fudo, where one would douse water over it prior to saying a prayer. This represents the cultured aspect of Osaka. "Cozy and quaint, lined on both sides with small food shops and cafes, it earned instant fame with Sakunosuke Oda’s novel ”Meoto Zenzai” (Sweet Bean Broth for Two)." Taken from http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/search/detail/sightseeing_1879.html Hozenji Yokocho. Osaka-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • The Feast Before The Bath

    A photograph of the 12 course set dinner all prepared before the 'Lou Sang' (overly expensive and extravagant useless Chinese New Year's junk food), but I digress. On the left, you have the seafood fried rice, fresh seafood suki-yaki, grilled oyster topped with cheese, tempura prawns and fresh vegetables with a mixture of wasabi salt and table salt and assorted pickles. Towards the center, there's the fresh salmon with vinegar and chilli on cabbage, shredded crab sticks with kombu, an assortment of fresh vegetables and seafood for self pan frying and chilled king crab. On the right we have the fresh shashimi of salmon and squid, cawanmushi and for dessert, some assorted fruit in smooth cream. Thank you, Yunokawa Hot Spring Resort in Hakodate, one of the oldest onsen areas in Hokkaido, Japan! - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • An Ordinary Dinner

    This restaurant is a regular depiction of where a salary man goes for his dinner. Osaka-shi, Japan.

  • The Lovers' View Involves A Snowstorm

    The legendary night view of Hakodate. I've seen many illustrations and read about it for decades. Here, on this fateful night, a snowstorm picked up at full speed. It is a wonder that they would allow the cable car to operate under these conditions, but they did. Even more to my surprise, they did not close off the top viewing platform and many were welcome to embrace the might of the Hokkaido winter, from a vantage point. Visibility was only 50 meters. Standing against the wind for just 2 minutes is enough to turn me into a full fledged snowman. Hakodateyama (Hakodate Mountain). Hakodate-shi, Hokkaido, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Whatchu Got There?

    This was in the Jishu-jinja, the match-making shrine by the Kiyomizudera Temple. Jishu-jinja (Match-making Shrine). Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Spring. Kyoto. Twilight.

    The pagoda on the left is the 3 story pagoda of the Kiyomizudera and the tower on the far end, close to the mountains, is the Kyoto Tower. Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Osaka Izakaya

    An Izakaya is a restaurant/bar that caters primarily to officer workers on the way home...whom just want to stop by for a beer and not miss out on dinner. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • The Tainted White Amongst The Red

    Pink patches on the white amongst the row of Azaleas at the Nijou Castle, Kyoto. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Kinkaku-ji

    Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺, Temple of the Golden Pavilion), officially named Rokuon-ji (鹿苑寺, Deer Garden Temple), is a Zen Buddhist temple. Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Girls In Their Summer Kimonos (Yukata)

    Entrance to the Kiyomizudera Temple, Kyoto-shi, Japan. Looks like a Canon 5Dm3 - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • The Transient Ardor

    It was a cold and frigid evening on a snowmobile and the only feeling left in my body was the pain from the cold. Hokkaido, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Dotonbori's Signature

    Dotonbori (道頓堀) is the signature of Osaka and is one of the principle tourist hotspots. The Dotonbori street runs parallel alongisde to the Dotonbori canal and lies between the Dotonboribashi Bridge and the Nipponbashi bridge. One of the many key signature attractions of this street is the mechanised crab of the Kani Doraku Crab Restaurant by the main square/intersection. "Kani Doraku Crab [right]: This six and a half meter crab is on the front of the crab restaurant Kani Doraku. It is mechanised, being able to move its arms and eyestalks. Built in 1960, this mechanical billboard soon spawned imitations, including a squid that puffs steam and oni (demons) that light up at night." - Taken from Wikipedia. Osaka is well known as a food capital. Many of its famous key restaurants are located either within Dotonbori or the surrounding area. While one is visiting this area, it is common to hop from one restaurant to the next sampling many of the local delights and internationally well known products. On our first very short evening together with our lovely host, we had some authentic sushi and local delight, kushikatsu, at a sushi speciality restaurant, Portugese egg tarts from Macau, the world famous melt in your mouth Pablo cheesecake (mango) and of course, some world class street food, takoyaki. Dotonbori (道頓堀). Osaka-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Little Yuki-Oni (Snow-Devil)

    This was photographed in front of the house by the Jigokudani of Noboribetsu. The Oni and the Enma are the local guadians of the area, and in this case, the mascot and representation of the souvenirs. Jigokudani. Noboribetsu-shi (登別温泉), Hokkaido, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • The Lonesome Gazebo

    Kyoto city is a city riddled with many ancient and well preserved monuments. The one that I was most keen on during this trip was the Kiyomizudera Buddhist temple again. Just before the main entrance to the temple lies this gazebo and giant stone carved sign. Although it is in plain sight, it is because of how the paths and stairs were opened up and closed off that this particular mini square has significantly less traffic. While exploring, it is always great to take a peek around the corner. You never know of the curiosities that may stumble upon your path. On a side note, the view from this gazebo is amazing. You get a clear and uninterrupted vantage viewpoint of the city of Kyoto...and a perfect angle to the paths that lead up to this hill. It is a wonder as to why this place was not a fort instead. For the life of me, I could not find any detail on this sign. If any native speakers would help me find out the significance of this, that would be great. Kiyomizudera Temple (清水寺). Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • A Whirlwind of Azaleas

    A little bit of in camera multiple exposures of a row of Azalea flowers photographed within the Nijou castle, Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Post-modernisation of the Osaka Castle

    The Osaka Castle grounds is surrounded by one of the most impressive combination of dry and wet moats. The glass box elevator to the raised entrance features a good contrast to the 400 year old castle. Osaka-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Hell Hath Frozen Over

    igokudani, literally translated into 'Hell's Valley'. This particular Jigokudani is located in the city of Noboribetsu-shi, just a little further away from the little onsen town, Noboribetsu-onsen, which we stayed for the night. This is not to be mistaken with the Jigokudani Monkey Park of the Nagoya prefecture which is famous for having the wild Japanese Macaques (Snow Monkeys) bathing in the hot spring during the winter. The Hell's Valley got its name because of this particular hostile and unforgiving scene. The steam rising is due to the boiling water that creeps through the crevices of the rock and soil of the hills. Although it may look barren and frigid during the peak of the winter season, the best time to visit this place would be in the autumn. We were lucky to be greeted this morning with fresh snowfall from the night before. If you are wondering, the smell of the sulfur is mild and rather inviting because it signals and triggers a beautiful and relaxing time at the onsen. With just a 10 minute walk down, you may pray and pay your respects at the mini shrine down below. Jigokudani. Noboribetsu-shi (登別温泉), Hokkaido, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Peace!

    Entrance to the Kiyomizudera Temple, Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Starburst of Arashiyama

    The bamboo growth of Arashiyama, Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Gunpla!

    The view from my hotel's entrance. Yes, I'm those sort of people who are more attracted to the gianto Gunpla billboard than the actual scene. Hotel Hillarys. Osaka, Japan. - 2013 Jon K. Stoutlager

  • The Kiyomizudera Temple in Early Fall

    The Kiyomizudera Temple in the early fall. Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

  • Girls In Their Summer Kimonos (Yukata)

    Entrance to the Kiyomizudera Temple, Kyoto-shi, Japan. - Jon K. Stoutlager

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