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Finding Fuji-san

Finding Fuji-san

We visited Japan in September 2018, and we were greeted with typical September in Japan weather—overcast and often rainy. Kind of what you might expect when you visit in the latter part of the typhoon season.

One of our goals was to take in some of the spectacular views of Fuji-san, but the weather certainly limited our options. You have to approach this kind of objective with a healthy sense of humour, a dose of persistene, and planning to give yourself the best chance of winning.

In an effort get great views, we booked a few nights at Kawaguchiko, a famous location for views of Japans iconic mountain. Having three nights here meant we had maximum chance of seeing Fuji-san, and we got to stay in a nice Japanese style hotel in a really beautiful part of Japan.

One of our goals was to see (and photograph) the famous vista taking in the Chureito Pagoda,with Fuji-san in the background. Instead we got stunning views of the pagoa against a dramatic sky. Happy with the image, and will have to go back for the iconic view.

Chureito Pagoda

On the second day we took a trip up the Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway more for the experience and views of the lake, not really expecting to see Fuji-san. Happily we were greeted with our first glimpses of the mountain, peeking out from behind the clouds.

First Glimpse of Fuji

On the third day I got up at sunrise and walked down to the Lakeside from the hotel, hoping to see Fuji-san, but expecting to shoot the lake. I was greeted with this view, and worked hard to find a scene that had a beautiful reflection.

Reflections of Fuji-san

One of the keys of landscape photography is the willingness to spend at least a few days at any one location, maximising your chances of getting the shot.

So I was pretty happy with this.

Now its clear that visiting in September means that you are visiting in Autumn, and the iconic snow peaks of Fuji-san are mostly melted, and of course you have higher chances of overcast weather. On the plus side, crowds were small.

Every season has something to offer, and I am very happy with the beautiful reflections of an iconic mountain.

Shuri Castle

Shuri Castle

Shuri Castle - former home of the Ryukyu Kingdom
Shuri Castle is a reconstruction of the original castle of the king of the Ryukyu Kingdom – an independent country (that paid tribute to both China and Japan) until 1879.

This image was made on our trip to Japan in 2005. Although I had lived in Japan for almost two years in the early 90’s, this was my first trip to Okinawa – homeland of karate.

This image is part of my Photos of the Day album, which can be viewed in high resolution at

A Cold War with China? ⟶

A Cold War with China? ⟶

In today’s Australian Financial Review: China rebuffs Australia-US ‘Cold War style’ co-operation (paywall).

…China’s ambassador to Australia, Chen Yu­ming, told The Australian Financial Review there was too much emphasis on the strengthening of military alliances in the Asia-Pacific region and not enough on the pressing economic difficulties which meant countries like the US, China, Europe and Japan had to work closely together.

Has the European Union finally become a country?

China’s relationships with other countries is clearly a touchy subject. Disputes with Japan over ownership of the Senkaku Islands (known as the Daioyu Islands by the Chinese), and other disputes over maritime boundaries in the South China Sea are at least part of the United States’ Pivot to Asia.

But I think it is realistic that the pivot is more about trade, economics and diplomatic relations.