8月 August in Kanbayashi

The heat of August is intense, except the wonderful first hour after daybreak. But kayabuki, the traditional thatched house comes into its own, remaining cool and dark under its dense, heavy roof.

Produce strung from bamboo poles hang from the kura to dry. School children play in the river and catch insects during their long summer break. It’s a slow, lazy month as it’s just too hot…

This completes my year of life and the seasons in Kanbayashi, north Kyoto Prefecture. Compiling these images each month has made me notice and experience more and has been a very special experience.

I really do miss this landscape.

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7月 July in Kanbayashi

After the monsoon rains the humidity and heat soars, the cicadas shrill during the day while the frogs chorus through the night. Dragonflies dart through the rice fields which have grown tall and green.

Summer evenings are filled with festivals: spectacular fireworks or thousands of lanterns floating down the river. Here in Kanbayashi shrines and temples hold smaller festivals with local food and taiko drumming. Children don their yukatta, summer kimono, and light fireworks.

10月 October in Kanbayashi

October has been a month of sunny days with chilly nights that leave a heavy dew in the morning that is lit up as the sun streams through though the valleys. The leaves are starting to turn and persimmons are ripening on the trees. Rice straw is left to dry in bundles on bamboo poles or fences.
 
There are many festivals to give thanks and appreciation for the rice harvest. Local shrines hold mochi (dried rice balls) throwing events where locals scramble to catch mochi tossed by shrine maidens and priests, and come away with brimming bags full.