I probably don't have to explain to anyone that Japan is a beautiful country, especially during winter. Snowfall differs across the country's regions during the winter months and hardly seems to occur at all in certain areas. According to currentresults.com, Northern areas like Hokkaido receive significant snowfall throughout the year, while the southern island of Kyushu sees almost none.

That said, if you’re lucky enough to encounter a winter wonderland scene in Japan, make sure you have you camera ready. For intrepid adventurers, you may encounter remote mountain villages tucked under a cover of snow, Nagano igloo restaurants alit under a starry night, or even spring cherry blossoms weighed down during an unseasonal cold spell.

Sure enough, the list goes on and on.

Kifune shrine in the snow

Located in Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kifune shrine is effortlessly iconic. It is one of the highest-ranked government supported shrines, and for a good reason. The shrine is surrounded by wildlife and nearby rivers. It also bears worship to Shinto spirits related to water. Overall, Kifune shrine is easily recognizable owing to its many red lanterns.

Recently, photographer Usadanu (@usalica) posted striking pictures of the shrine on Twitter. Usadanu’s photoshoot took place shortly after December 15th, the first snowfall in the area. As you can see, the shrine's majestic facade is even more amazing when covered in snow.

Reproduced with permission from Usadanu (@usalica)

Reproduced with permission from Usadanu (@usalica)

Reproduced with permission from Usadanu (@usalica)

Reproduced with permission from Usadanu (@usalica)

"It snowed at Kifune shrine, and I could witness a magical Kyoto snow scene at dusk.

Indeed, Usadanu's photos were striking. They are lush, and they highlight the sense of warm mysticism emanating from Kifune shrine. Naturally, the post was popular among others. It received nearly 72k likes.

Other winter photo shoots

Fortunately for fans, Usadanu is well-versed at capturing such snow-covered vistas. The photographer's Twitter feed showcases several other such images like these:

"I am fascinated by this snow-covered shrine."

A more rustic shrine environment. It makes me think of winter in the countryside mountains.

Nevertheless, this one might just be my favorite:

“The reflection of a shrine covered in the snow.”

And finally, the solemnity of this shrine tucked deep within a forest:

"A shrine that sits solemnly among the snow covered trees.”

Indeed, Usadanu has quite an eye. If you like these photos, you can see much more images that cover a variety of themes on the aritst's Twitter feed and Instagram. Enjoy!

By - Luke Mahoney.