Seishi Nagatsuka, the Photographer at the foot of Mt. Fuji

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

I visited the Nagatsukas at their home, Maple House in the Asagiri highlands. This area is located to the west of Mt. Fuji, between the mountain and Lake Kawaguchi, which is one of the five lakes that surround it.

The previous day a powerful typhoon had passed by. I was amazed to see this beautiful photo taken by Mr. Nagatsuka.

The typhoon did not leave the Asagiri area until almost midnight. Mr. Nagatsuka couldn’t sleep that night so he went out. He has a beautiful huge garden in front of his house with unimpeded views of Mt. Fuji, not even an electrical line in the way. He caught this spectacular scene with the reflection of the moon, Mt. Fuji and clouds around it. The skies having been being swept clear by typhoon winds, the stars twinkled brightly. He said that it was not very easy to take this photo but he really wanted to share this wonderful scene with other people.

His wife Noriko Nagatsuka put this photo on her Face Book. Then many people inquired about who took the photo. Mr. Nagatsuka is a great photographer and he is a very friendly and nice person. I really like him. From professional to beginner, photo lessons are available. Anyone who would like to try, please contact me.

The Photographers meet in Asagiri

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

I took an American photographer to my photo teacher’s studio.  We had already planned many times to go out to take photos of Mt. Fuji in February and March but each time the weather wasn’t very convenient for us. Since the cherry blossoms had started to bloom we decided to try again.



She enjoyed taking photos of the people and cherry blossoms. I was curious how and what she takes and kept observing her. On that day we couldn’t see Mt. Fuji,  though. She has a very good camera so I asked her to take my photos. When I faced her Hubble telescope type of camera I was a kind of scared. I like her photos so I tried to steal her skills but it was not easy.


My photo teacher’s place is located in deep Fujinomiya. It’s a very nice place but that day was a cold day.  My American friend and my teacher got along very well. Since my teacher has visited many American National Parks to take photos they talked a lot about the places or technical things to do with photography. Since my teacher takes photos of Kabuki actor Ichikawa Kamejiro, we talked about Kabuki, too. We had many more things to talk about but it started to snow !  I’m not used to driving in the snow and my winter tires had  just been  replaced with normal ones. We had to leave soon. We hope to visit them again and see a huge and beautiful Mt. Fuji from their garden.

 The following morning, I took a walk around my neighborhood  and saw Mt. Fuji. I think if you really want to see Mt. Fuji you must stay longer around here. But people are too busy these days. Those who are too busy to stay around can read Noriko’s Diary Noriko san is my photo teacher’s wife and in her blog people can learn about their beautiful life.





At the foot of Mt. Fuji

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

I organized a day tour in Fujinomiya. Takasago sake brewery. This brewery has been making good sake for about 180 years using mild and delicious water from Mt. Fuji. We had a tour of the brewery and even tasted new sake.

It tasted fresh and delicios. Some of it is bottled and can be enjoyed immediately as new sake. The rest is put aside to age.


Look at this cedar ball. This is called ” Sugidama ” in Japanese. When this green fresh cedar ball is at the door of the shop or warehouse, it means new sake is ready. It’s said that cedar kills germs.

They have some Buddhist statues carried down from the top of Mt. Fuji.

In the Meiji Era, the Japanese government suppressed Buddhism for mainly political reasons and they ordered people to break the statues. But some people saved them secretly, including the ancestor of this brewery, who kept some stutues hidden. Anyway after tasting some kinds of sake, we walked to Fujinomiya  Hongu Sengentaisha.

It was founded around 806 , over 1200 years ago to pacify Mt. Fuji. At that time the Mt. Fuji was a very active mountain.This shrine has been the head shrine for more than 1,300 Sengen shrines throughout Japan.

For lunch we ate buckwheat noodles. I tried them cold and placed welish onion and wasabi on the noodeles with a dipping sauce. Many other people tried hot soba.Their tempura was good,too. I love this noodle shop, it’s inexpensive considering it’s good quality. The people are friendly and attentive.


Then we headed for our photo teacher’s house. Seishi Nagatsuka is a famous photographer. He showed us his work and related many interesting things. For me, just looking around and sitting in his place teaches me a lot. His wife Noriko makes a great garden. That day was cloudy but Mt. Fuji can be seen like this when the weather is nice. This photo was taken by Noriko Nagatsuka.

We didn’t see Mt. Fuji , so that means we have to visit there again ?!



I tasted different types of sake at the sake brewery in Fujinomiya and learnt how they made sake.  I  really appreciated Yumi’s transalation.  I was able to understand everything the man said.   It was a great experience. After that we went to a famous shrine in Fujinomiya.  It was very impressive.  I liked hearing about the history of the place.  We also did a quiz on what we learnt, it was fun.  After the shrine, we went to a nice little soba shop.  We had a very delicious meal, and I slurped my noodles in the traditional way, it was embarrassing for me but it was fun to experience!  Lastly we went to a famous Japanese photographer’s (Mr. Nagatsuka) house.  We saw some excellent photographs and took some photos of the landscape around his house.  It was beautiful.  Of course at the end of the day I was tired, but I was happy that I experienced a day in Fujinomiya.


Yumi was kind enough to organise a tour around Fujinomiya for us. It was really fun. Firstly, we went to a Sake brewery where we saw how sake is made and got to taste test three different kinds of sake. Even though it was only around 11:30 in the morning and I thought it was kind of strange to drink alcohol that early it was good to try the different types of sake and compare them. After that we went to Fujinomiya shrine. Yumi-sensei tested us on trivia about the shrine with the reward of chocolate for every correct answer. For example, did you know that Fujinomiya city owns the top part of Mt. Fuji above the 8th station. I didn’t…
Finally we went to a famous photographer’s house. He was kind enough to give us pointers on how to improve our photos and show us around his property.
Overall it was a very nice, informative day!

Mt.Fuji, Zazen, Hakuin

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

I joined the Sunday Zazen meeting in Hara ( numazu, Shizuoka). I got up early and drove to the temple.

On my way to the temple I saw a beautiful sunrise illuminating Mt. Fuji splendidly so I pulled over my car and took some photos of the mountain. I wanted take some photos of the sunrise too, but I didn’t have enough time to do that.

People say ” The early bird catches the worms.” And I think it’s true. I often sleep late on Sundays and I feel bad having done so. Particularly in winter because daytime is shorter so getting up late only emphasises this. I hate my lazyness. But I feel happy tody. I did zazen and became totally refreshed.


The people at the meeting are all nice and calm. The priest told me not to think when I do zazen. But it’s not easy for me. I have a lot of things in my mind. To have peace in the mind I have to make it clear and empty.It may takes ages for me to accompliah it. The priest recommended me the book ” Wild Ivy ” written by Zen master Hakuin and translated by Nrman Waddell. We are going to have a reading class on this book in English. If you are interested in this study meeting feel free to ask me.

I heard the basketball player, Michael Jordan practices zen and it makes him happy. Why don’t we try,too ?

Mt. Fuji Winter DayTour

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

We are going to have the tour on December 13th.

Please see the entry of Sep.15 for details.

We are really happy to know that many people showed an interest and several people have already decided to join the tour. If you are interested in it , please contact us. We have this tour from December to February.

We are really looking forward to seeing everyone.