Image search results - "white"
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Entrance to Iimoriyama Hill, site of the Byakkotai "White Tiger" Battalion gravesite. In 1868, a unit of teenage warriors called Byakkotai (White Tiger Battalion) fought against the Emperor-backed Imperial forces encroaching their domain of Aizu
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The Byakkotai were outnumbered and forced to retreat. Twenty of them escaped to Iimoriyama Hill where they saw what looked liked a burning Tsurugajo Castle. Photo: Pay a small fee to take the escalator up the hill. Or climb up the steps for free.
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In despair, the boys decided to kill themselves rather than die in the hands of the enemy. Photo: Escalator to go up Iimoriyama Hill.
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Escalator to go up Iimoriyama Hill. Their tombstones are on this hill near where they killed themselves. Their story has become legend.
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Byakkotai Gravesite. It is on a flat area which also has several other Byakkotai monuments including those from other countries.
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Approach to the Byakkotai gravesite.
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Graves of the 19 teenage Byakkotai warriors who killed themselves with their own swords.
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Byakkotai Graves
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Byakkotai Graves
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Byakkotai gravestones. Each one shows the name, age, and method of death called "jijin" (died with one's own sword 自刃).
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This has become a national shrine, almost as important as Sengakuji where the 47 masterless samurai are buried.
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On the right side are more gravestones. These are 31 Byakkotai members who died in battle. 戦死
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Tombs of those Byakkotai who died in action.
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Tombs of those Byakkotai who died in action.
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Their names, age, and "senshi" 戦死 (died in battle) are engraved on the stones.
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Monument for teenage samurai who died in battle.
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Names of Byakkotai members, all 14 to 17 years old.
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On the left of the gravestones, there is a monument for a poem composed by Lord Matsudaira Katamori, the last Aizu lord and whom the Byakkotai died for. 幾人の 涙は石にそそぐとも その名は世々に 朽じとぞ思う幾人の 涙は石にそそぐとも その名は世々に 朽じとぞ思う
Ikutari no namida wa ishi ni sosogu tomo sono na wa yoyo ni kuji to zo omou
"No matter how many people pour their tears on these stones, these names will never fade from the world."
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A short walk away is the grave of Iinuma Sadakichi, the only Byakkotai survivor who had slit himself, but was rescued by a villager passing by when everyone else had killed themselves.
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Grave of Iinuma Sadakichi, the only Byakkotai warrior who survived and told the story of this valiant teenage group.
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Grave of Iinuma Sadakichi (Sadao) (1854-1931). His grave was built here in 1957 for the 90th anniversary of the Byakkotai's demise. 飯沼貞吉
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About Iinuma Sadakichi (later changed his first name to Sadao)
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Slope where they committed seppuku (hara-kiri). 自刃の地
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Site where they committed seppuku (hara-kiri). 自刃の地
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A recent addition is this statue of a teenage samurai looking at Wakamatsu Castle.
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Statue of a teenage samurai looking at Wakamatsu Castle.
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Statue faces Tsuruga-jo Castle which can be seen in the distance.
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Arrow points to Tsuruga-jo Castle.
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Byakko Kannon statue
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Monument from Rome, Italy, given in 1928 by Mussolini. The column is from the ruins of a palace in Pompeii.
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Monument message in Italian. After WWII, the US Occupation authorities wanted this monument removed. But all they did was remove the engraved message (later restored).
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About the monument from Rome.
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Monument from a German, Hasso von Etzdorf (1900 - 1989).
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Another monument
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Opened in 1956, the Byakkotai Memorial Museum has numerous artifacts related to the Byakkotai as well as the Shinsengumi. Photography inside is not allowed. Admission 400 yen.
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Verse 2 Lyrics (Omatsu/Omi-Maiko) 二番の英訳(雄松"Pine trees are very green, on sands very white.
Omatsugasato is, a young maiden's home.
Bush of red camellia, hides her teary face.
She's weeping o'er a lost love, much too short to last.

松は緑に 砂白き
雄松が里の 乙女子は
赤い椿の 森蔭に
はかない恋に 泣くとかや
Matsu wa midori ni, suna shiroki
Omatsugasato no, otomego wa
Akai tsubaki no, morikage ni
Hakanai koi ni, naku toka ya

Omi-Maiko is still famous for white sand beaches and pine trees. In summer these beaches are cluttered with people trying to get a tan.

See more photos of Omi-Maiko here.
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Byakkotai statue outside the Byakkotai Memorial Museum
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"Pine trees are very green, on sands very white." Omi-MaikoSee more photos of Omi-Maiko here.
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White sands of Omi-Maiko (Omatsu), Otsu, Shiga
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Ripples lap white sands of Omi-Maiko.
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Pine trees at Omi-Maiko
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Kyoto University Rowing Club arrive at Omi-Maiko in Aug. 2006 during their annual Lake Biwa rowing trip.
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Omatsu "Famous Place" marker
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It soon snagged a baby carp from the pond. Poor innocent fish. It must be traumatic to be caught in a bird's beak and be swallowed whole.
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White Heron Dance (Shirasagi-no-Mai) was performed three times in Asakusa on April 13, 2014. Their second performance was held here on the roof of Matsuya Dept. Store at 2:30 pm.
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The Shirasagi-no-Mai White Heron Dance is performed in Asakusa on the second Sunday of April, mid-May for the Sanja Matsuri, and on Nov. 3.
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There are eight white heron dancers. The dance originated at Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto about 1,000 years ago to ward off epidemics and pray for good harvests.
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Bird feeder on the left sprinkled some colorful pieces of paper as bird feed. They dance to music played by 19 musicians.
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The local Asakusa tourist association resurrected the dance in 1968. A picture scroll showed that it was performed in 1652 at Sensoji.
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Be sure to see my video of the White Heron Dance held on April 13, 2014.
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For their third and last performance at 3:30 pm on April 13, 2014, they they walked/danced through the Nakamise mall leading to Sensoji temple in Asakusa. The man is the baton twirler, followed by the bird feeder and the dancers.
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Tourists make way for the white heron dancers along Nakamise mall in Asakusa.
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Passing under Hozomon Gate in front of Sensoji temple. Gotta watch their head.
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A gasp of amazement from spectators could be heard when the dancers spread their wings.
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So elegant.
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White heron dance in front of Sensoji temple.
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White Heron Dance, Asakusa
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White Heron Dance, Asakusa
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A short break after the dance.
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Tourist posing with a dancer after the dance.
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White herons are a common sight in Japan. They do like to feed on rice fields.
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The white heron dancers bow before Sensoji temple before leaving.
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These guardian children headed the procession. They come from Sensoji Kindergarten. 守護童子
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The dancers leave Sensoji.
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White heron dancer on a mural at Asakusa Station.
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I also saw the White Heron Dance in April 2010. It was slightly different. My YouTube video of the White Heron Dance in April 2010.
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The Shirasagi-no-Mai White Heron Dance is performed in Asakusa on the second Sunday of April and on Nov. 3. On April 11, 2010, I found them on the main road at around 2 pm. The mans holds a banner reading "Shirasagi-no-Mai."
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This is on the main road in front of Kaminarimon Gate (giant red paper lantern). The procession occupied one lane of road as they headed for Kaminarimon Gate.
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The shirasagi white heron dancers. There are eight of them. They were to perform the dance at 2:30 pm in front of Sensoji (Asakusa Kannon) temple.
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The procession, headed by chigo children, pass through Kaminarimon Gate.
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There are various characters in the White Heron Dance contingent. This is the baton twirler (bo-furi 棒ふり) in orange pants followed by the bird feeder.
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The bird feeder (esa-maki 餌まき) holds a nice box containing pieces of colored paper.
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The Shirasagi-no-Mai white heron dancers pass through Kaminarimon Gate in Asakusa.
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I'm not sure how they keep the tall bird head and neck on their heads.
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Shirasagi-no-Mai dancer at Asakusa.
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Their costume is quite elegant whichever way you look at it. Shirasagi-no-Mai White Heron Dance, Asakusa.
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This is the umbrella holder (ogasa 大傘). He doesn't really shade anyone.
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Toward the end of the procession is a group of musicians, 19 of them (楽人). Some of them walk while the others ride a float.
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Musicians float. They are playing music all the while.
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Once in a while, the shirasagi dancers spread their wings and do a few dance steps along the narrow Nakamise shopping arcade.
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If you look at their white heron costume, you can see that it's quite ingenius, the way it functions and the way it looks.
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Also see my video at YouTube.
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They head toward Sensoji temple as the crowd make way for them along Nakamise.
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The contingent pass through Hozomon Gate which is right in front of Sensoji temple.
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These guardian children lead the way. They come from Sensoji Kindergarten. 守護童子
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They walked to the area in front of the 5-story pagoda.
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Bird feeder and umbrella holder. 餌まき,
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There are also three warriors who never did anything. 武人
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The White Heron Dance originated in Kyoto over 1,100 years ago to purge the city of an epidemic.
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At around 2:30 pm, they started dancing.
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The eight shirasagi dancers formed two groups of four with the umbrella holder between the two groups.
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The dance started with the baton twirler running around the dancers.
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The bird feeder then sprinkled small pieces of colored paper above the white heron dancers.
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The shirasagi dancers then spread their wings and started to dance.
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Immediately, I noticed the great shadows the dancers were casting. Proof of how good the costumes are made and how well they are posed.
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White Heron dancers were silent and sang nothing as the musicians played.
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Shirasagi-no-Mai White Heron Dance at Asakusa.
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I was told that they practice the dance only a few days before the performance. Apparently, it's not that difficult to master. It also seems that different dancers do it each time.
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Most of the dancers seemed to be high school age, although I noticed a few older women as well.
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Another shirasagi shadow.
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Shirasagi dancers spreading their wings.
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Fingers fastened to the wings control the wings.
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Close-up of the heron head.
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It looks like they are feeding.
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The bird feeder sprinkles more food for the birds.
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Also see my video at YouTube.
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I guess the birds are happy with full stomachs.
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At the end of the dance, they bowed.
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Then there was a rush of people to pick up the "bird feed" which were small colored pieces of paper. I didn't know what was going on, but I rushed in too and grabbed two of the pieces of paper.
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This is what the "bird feed" was. Colored pieces of paper with the kanji characters for "good fortune" and "long life." No wonder people were rushing to pick these up. Well, I guess I'll live a long and prosperous life..
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During a brief break, people gawk at the dancers. This was when I talked to one of them.
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After the dance, they proceeded back to where they came from.
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Looks like the bird feeder still had something left in her food box.
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Each shirasagi dancer bowed to Sensoji (being renovated) before heading back to Nakamise.
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Shirasagi dancers proceeding back to Nakamise.
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Shirasagi dancers along Nakamise after passing through Hozomon Gate.
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The baton twirler does his thing as the crowd gathers around.
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Also see my video at YouTube for the April 2010 performance.
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Information on the date/time when the dance is held is posted at e-asakusa.jp. Note that the time may vary. Last year they started at 3:30 pm instead of 2:30 pm this year.
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Clearing the way down Nakamise. On the way back, they turned right into another temple and did not go all the way down Nakamise.
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The procession was led by the White Heron Dancers (Shirasagi-no-Mai).
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This is the baton twirler (bo-furi 棒ふり) in orange pants followed by the bird feeder.
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The bird feeder.
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The bird feeder.
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White Heron Dancers.
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White Heron Dancers. They didn't dance during the procession.
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White heron and cherry blossoms.
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White heron and cherry blossoms.
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Grey heron and cherry blossoms.
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Heron finds a snack.
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Grey heron
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Love Toyooka's bag bus.
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Hyogo Park of the Oriental White Stork has a few buildings amid large rice paddies and mountains.
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Huge rice paddy within Hyogo Park of the Oriental White Stork.
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Rice paddy has a high nesting platform. The nest still intact.
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Spider web.
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Kounotori can also mean "bird bringing happiness." Sculpture related to the bird of happiness. Makes people happy especially when the stork delivers your baby.
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White stork mail box at Oriental White Stork Park in Toyooka, Hyogo.
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Basic map of Hyogo Park of the Oriental White Stork. Only one building on the left is open to the public.
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Gate to Hyogo Park of the Oriental White Stork. Open: 9:00 am–5:00 pm, closed Mondays (open if a national holiday and closed the next day instead), December 28th–January 4th.
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The building in the middle is the University of Hyogo Graduate School of Regional Resource Management.
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On the right is the park's administrative building.
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On the left is the Toyooka Kounotori Bunkakan or Oriental White Stork Culture Center.
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Inside the Oriental White Stork Culture Center. Walk through this building to the other side of the building to see the open cage.
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Toyooka Oriental White Stork Culture Center's open cage for Oriental white storks. It includes paddies used for feeding. The cage is "open" because it only hasa fence and no roof.
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Toyooka Oriental White Stork Culture Center's open cage for Oriental white storks. There are about nine storks in the open cage. Their wings have been clipped to they cannot fly.
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So if you go to Hyogo Park of the Oriental White Stork, you can see real Oriental white storks.
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About the Oriental white stork open cage.
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Around 9:30 am to 10 am, they feed the storks. This is the best time to visit the park. And the best chances of seeing storks flying around.
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They are throwing small dead fish into the paddies.
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The storks are carnivores, feeding on fish, frogs, snakes, rabbits, mice, etc.
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The Oriental white stork has black and white wings and a black bill.
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The Oriental white stork is a big, beautiful bird often mistaken as the Japanese crane. Wingspan is 2 meters.
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Once found all over Japan, the Oriental white stork ("kounotori" in Japanese) became extinct in the wild in Japan in 1971 despite preservation efforts since 1955.
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Toyooka was where the last living Oriental white stork in Japan died in 1986. Pesticides in rice paddies (where they feed) and other environmental problems caused their demise.
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In 1985, six wild Oriental white stork chicks from the USSR (Khabarovsk) were acquired to be raised in Toyooka. From 1989, the birds from Russia started to breed successfully in captivity in Toyooka every year.
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From 2005, the park started releasing Oriental white storks into the wild in Toyooka, which was a great celebration. The birds then started to breed and reproduce in the wild.They've been releasing only a few birds (fewer than 5) almost every year.
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As of Oct. 2018, Japan has over 140 Oriental white storks in the wild. They are also successfully breeding in Tokushima, Shimane, and Kyoto Prefectures. It's still an endangered species, with only slightly over 2,000 of them in the Far East.
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I didn't expect to see the storks flying around, so I was thrilled when a few of them flew overhead while I was in the park. They flew in during feeding time.
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They make a loud clacking noise with their bills.
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White stork landing in the paddy during feeding time.
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Feeding time for the storks also attracts unwanted birds like black kites. They swoop in and steal a fish, then don't come back.
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Grey herons also drop by, but they are always fighting each other.
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Crows also drop by.
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Storks swallow the fish whole.
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Oriental white stork eating a fish.
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Landing on a nesting platform.
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Two Oriental white storks on a nesting platform. Each nesting platform has a video camera monitoring it 24/7 especially during the egg-laying and hatching season in spring.The park is likely crowded during this time until the babies leave the nest in June/July.
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Oriental white stork nests are large, about 2 meters diameter, made of tree branches and straw.
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Back inside the Oriental White Stork Culture Center. On the left is the European white stork with a red bill, on the right is the Oriental white stork with a black bill. Very similar.
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The hanafuda card with the "crane" is actually an Oriental white stork. It actually looks like a cross between the two birds...
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Exhibits.
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