Monday, May 26, 2014

Japanese Kimono Shoot in Danshui

Last weekend, Mei and I decided to do a Japanese-themed shoot. There are many types of kimonos, and they each have their own protocol for when they are appropriate to wear.  The colour, pattern, material, and make are all considerations when selecting the appropriate kimono for the occasion. She has a few kinds of kimonos and chose a yukata for this shoot at a Japanese house and garden in Danshui.

Asian woman wearing a yukata and holding an umbrella in Japanese
Oriental Woman in Kimono in Japanese Garden
© Photographer: Imagesbykenny | Agency:
A thousand years ago, Japanese nobility wore bathing gowns called yukatabira. Over time these evolved into the yukata (literally "bathing clothes" in Japanese) in its modern form, a light, unlined kimono worn for casual summer events and relaxing at home. The patterns are dyed on the cloth using the same process as for the komon. The yukata (浴衣)  should never be worn in formal situations. A standard yukata outfit consists of a juban, yukata, obi sash, bare feet or geta sandals, a foldable hand fan, and a kinchaku bag.


Asian woman wearing a kimono in front of Japanese wooden windows
Asian Woman in Kimono Holding Fan by Japanese Wood Frame Windows
© Photographer: Imagesbykenny | Agency:

In general, men wear dark solid colors, young people wear bright, vivid colors with bold patterns, older people wear dark, matured colors and dull patterns, and children wear multicolored prints. Since Mei is a beautiful young woman, we went with a bright floral print.

Asian woman wearing a yukata in front of Japanese style windows
Oriental Woman in Kimono in front of Japanese House
© Photographer: Imagesbykenny | Agency:

Putting a yukata on is quite a process and Mei went to a studio in Banciao that specializes in hiring out Japanese garments and helping people dress in them. The way it is put on is the left side of the yukata is wrapped over the right side and fastened with an obi sash. The excess of the obi is tied in a bow at the back.

Asian woman wearing a kimono in Japanese garden
Woman in kimono in Japanese Garden
© Photographer: Imagesbykenny | Agency:

Stock photos of Japanese people and culture on Shutterstock

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Taiwan Confucian Temple

The Taiwan Confucian Temple (台灣孔廟; also called Tainan Confucian Temple, 台南孔廟 or 台南孔子廟)
I've been to Tainan a few times and every time I go there I visit the Taiwan Confucian Temple. The temple is not highly decorated temple like the more ornate temples I have seen around Taiwan, but it has a wonderful calming atmosphere which exudes the grace of traditional Chinese culture.

Bonsai trees in row outside temple
© Photographer: Imagesbykenny | Agency:
I was in Tainan again a few weeks ago while working with a film crew on a short film. I didn't think there would be time to go sightseeing due to the deadlines we had. But we had an unforeseen break in the shooting schedule right in the middle of the afternoon and it turned out the shoot location was two blocks away from the temple.

Row of bonsai trees  outside temple
© Photographer: Imagesbykenny | Agency:
The Tainan Confucius Temple was built in 1665 by Zheng Chenggong as a school for teachers to offer lecture and cultivate intellectuals. It is one of the most historically important buildings in Taiwan, as it is one of the oldest buildings and Taiwan's first official school. These days, the temple preserves ancient Confucian ceremonies and is a popular as a tourist attraction and a park where the locals like to relax.

Wall of Chinese Style House
© Photographer: Imagesbykenny | Agency:
In the middle is the Dacheng Hall with a double-eave round hip roof. It is surrounded by an enclosure of halls. In front there is the Dacheng Gate and the main courtyard. There are also two ceremonial gates—the Li Gate and the Yi Path—which symbolize the main disciplines of Confucianism.  Next to Dacheng Hall is the Hall of Edification, where you can see beautiful calligraphy. In the corner behind the Minglun Hall is the Wen Chang Pavilion, a three story pavilion dedicated to the literature deity, Wen Chang. The area is surrounded by big red walls with two gates allowing access—the East Dacheng Gate on Nanmen Road and West Dacheng Gate.

Wall of Chinese Style House
© Photographer: Imagesbykenny | Agency:

Across Nanmen Road is the Pan Gao Stone Arch, which leads into a pedestrian street with lots of vendors and small restaurants. This is defiantly the place to go for lunch if you take a trip to the temple. There are also many other sites within walking distance.


The official website for the temple is

To learn more about interesting places and sights to visit in Taiwan, check out my list of Places to see in Taiwan