My blog, focussed on improving my photography and documenting my travels.

Meiji Shrine

Sony NEX-C3 Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4

Lens: Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm F1.4 Camera: NEX-7, ISO 100, f/1.4, 1/800, Hi-contrast JPEG

My parents arrived in Tokyo a couple of days ago, and I took a few days off work to help show them around whilst they recover from jetlag, and to slowly familiarise themselves with Japan. They were kind enough to bring with them my new toy, a Sony Alpha NEX-7. I've had its predecessor, the Sony Alpha NEX-C3, for little over a year now (thanks Charlie for the wonderful birthday present!), and have committed to the brand through lens purchases after being pleased with the portability and quality of this little camera system. The NEX-7 builds on the C3 in a few key areas. It's got a larger grip, which is useful for using larger lenses, such as the SEL18200LE zoom recently added to my arsenal. It has an electronic viewfinder (EVF), which is similar to the viewfinder on a DSLR, except that it overlays a swathe of information to assist you. It has more menu functions, more dials, is made from magnesium and has a 0.02s shutter "lag". The sensor is still APS-C, but is up from 16MP on the NEX-C3 to 24MP. The ISO range is boosted, and the overall quaility of the camera has a semi-pro feel about it.

So, yesterday I whipped my manual focus, fast Voigtländer lens onto the NEX-7 and took it to Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine. The above photo is of the sake barrels donated to the shrine. The light was peeking through the trees surrounding the path, and reflected strongly off the barrels, giving a stark contrast.

Here's some history of the shrine, ripped from Wikipedia:

After the emperor's death in 1912, the Japanese Diet passed a resolution to commemorate his role in the Meiji Restoration. An iris garden in an area of Tokyo where Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken had been known to visit was chosen as the building's location.

Construction began in 1915 under Itō Chūta, and the shrine was built in the traditional nagare-zukuri style and is made up primarily of Japanese cypress and copper. It was formally dedicated in 1920, completed in 1921, and its grounds officially finished by 1926.[3] Until 1946, the Meiji 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.[4]

The original building was destroyed during the Tokyo air raids of World War II. The present iteration of the shrine was funded through a public fund raising effort and completed in October, 1958.[5]

Meiji Shrine was brought into the flow of current events with the 2009 visit of United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After arriving in Tokyo on her first foreign trip representing the newly elected President Barack Obama, she made her way to this shrine in advance of meetings with Japan's leaders to show her "respect toward history and the culture of Japan."[6]

In January 2010, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle demonstrated the same respect when he concluded his visit to Japan with a visit of the shrine.[7]