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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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Arashiyama, kyoto, sagano bamboo forest, location feature, photo feature,

Arashiyama’s Bamboo Forest

In the Arashiyama (嵐山) district of Kyoto, Japan, is the jaw-dropping Sagano Bamboo Grove. The forest was the setting of Japanese novelist and poet Lady Murasaki Shikibu’s acclaimed novel, "The Tale of Genji." There is a walking path that cuts through the bamboo grove and makes for a photogenic trek as light filters through the stalks. The bamboo in the grove is still used to manufacture cups, boxes, baskets and mats in the area.

To view more photos and videos of the bamboo forest, be sure to visit the 竹林の小径 (Kitasaga Bamboo Grove) location page.

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mount fuji, photo feature, Location Feature,

A Pilgrimage to Mount Fuji (富士山)

Mount Fuji (富士山 or “Fuji-san”) stands 3,776.24 meters (12,389 feet), making it the tallest mountain in Japan and one of the country’s most recognizable symbols. The cone-shaped mountain is an active stratovolcano—a volcano built up by many layers of hardened lava, tephra, pumice and volcanic ash—and is located 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Tokyo. Fuji-san last erupted in the early 1700s. Following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami many feared Mount Fuji would erupt again.

Despite those recent concerns, Fujisan remains an international destination for tourism and mountain climbing. Hundreds of thousands of people make the 8-hour summit each year during peak season in July and August. Most climb the mountain at night in order to catch a glimpse of goraikō (御来光 or “arrival of light”), the special name for a sunrise on Fuji-san.

To view photos and videos from Instagrammers who have made the trek, visit the 富士山 (Mt.Fuji) and 富士山 最高点 剣ヶ峰 標高3776m location pages as well as the #御来光 hashtag.

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Whirling Dervishes, Mevlevihane, turkey, video feature, photo feature,

The Dance of the Whirling Dervishes (Mevlevihane)

To view more photos and videos of the Mevlevihane, visit the Galata Mevlevihanesi and Hz. Mevlana Türbesi location pages as well as the #Mevlevihanesi and #WhirlingDervish hashtags.

For visitors to Turkey, a glimpse of the Whirling Dervishes or "Mevlevihane" is a must for any sightseeing list. The Dervishes, whose name means ”those who have chosen the road of suffering,” begin each dance by greeting their master then removing a black coat, a symbol of the earthly world, to reveal a white dress that symbolizes purity or "safa." They start to whirl like the planets around the Sun, raising their right hands to the heavens and pointing their left hands to the earthly world.

The best place to witness the Whirling Dervishes is in the city of Konya, at the tomb of Sufi poet Celalatin Rumi who is said to have invented whirling when he first spun himself into trance there in the 13th century. In Istanbul, the Galata Mevlevihanesi is the most famous Mevlevi Whirling Dervish hall. Performances are held there every Sunday evening.

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photo feature, artthursday,

#ArtThursday: Katharina Fritsch at the Fourth Plinth

Welcome to another #ArtThursday! This week’s edition takes us to Trafalgar Square in London. The famed square has a plinth, or platform, at each of its four corners. But there’s a problem: one plinth intended to hold a statue of King William IV atop his horse remained bare for over 150 years due to insufficient funds.

The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) began the Fourth Plinth Project in 1998 to fix that. Temporary artworks were commissioned from three contemporary artists—Mark Wallinger, Bill Woodrow and Rachel Whiteread—to fill the plinth. The project went so well it became an ongoing series run by the Greater London Authority. Katharina Fritsch’s 4.72-meter- (15.5-ft-) tall high blue sculpture of a cockerel, “Hahn/Cock,” has occupied the space since July 25, 2013. It is intended to symbolize "regeneration, awakening and strength" and will be displayed for 18 months.

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Location Feature, photo feature, loch ness, loch ness monster,

Instagrammers Search for the Loch Ness Monster

Tucked away in the Scottish Highlands is what may be the world’s most famous lake: Loch Ness. Although notably deep, wide and quite scenic, the loch is best known as the home of the Loch Ness Monster. “Nessie” was first brought to the world’s attention in 1933 after two alleged sightings and a few prominent photographs. The monster is formally described as a cryptid, a creature or plant whose existence has been suggested but is not recognized by scientific consensus.

Curious Instagrammers have made their way to northern Scotland to hunt for Nessie, some choosing to cruise the lake in hopes of a sighting. To view more photos and videos of Loch Ness and search for Nessie yourself, visit the Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle location pages.

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photo feature, solar eclipse, eclipse,

Instagrammers Capture “Ring of Fire” Solar Eclipse

See more photos from the eclipse by searching #eclipse and #solareclipse.

The first annular solar eclipse of 2013 took place yesterday. The passage of the moon directly in front of the sun made it appear as though there were a “ring of fire” in the sky.

Instagrammers from Australia and the islands of the Southern Pacific Ocean—the only places where the eclipse was visible—shared photos of this spectacular sight.

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Photos of You, photo feature,

Portraits on Instagram

Yesterday we launched Photos of You, and today we’re highlighting four exceptional portrait photographers. Be sure to visit their feeds for great examples of people in the Instagram community who are taking beautiful portraits and adding the people in them to their photos.

  • Ravi Vora (@ravivora) — Filmmaker from Los Angeles, California
  • Emily Call (@emilycall) — Photographer from Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Simone Bramante (@brahmino) — Art director from Bologna, Italy
  • John Keatley (@johnkeatley) — Photographer from Seattle, Washington

To learn more about Photos of You, check out the Instagram Help Center.

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photo feature, current event, cherry blossom, sakura,

Cherry Blossoms Bloom Around the World

To see more cherry blossoms in bloom visit San Francisco’s Japantown, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Kyoto’s Maruyama Park (円山公園) and Tokyo’s Chidorigafuchi (千鳥ヶ淵).

Cherry blossoms are tiny pink and white flowers that bloom en masse and grow from the branches of the Japanese Cherry tree. As many cities around the world celebrate with festivals, picnics under the sakura and flower-viewing parties, Instagrammers around the world are capturing beautiful photographs of the short-lived blossoms.

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coachella, current events, photo feature,

Instagrammers Capture Coachella 2013

Want to see more photos? Check out Coachella’s location pages: Coachella, Coachella Music Festival Car Camping, Main Stage, Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival.

Last weekend and again this weekend, music lovers will flock to Indio, California, for three sunny days of music and art at the Coachella Valley Festival (@coachella). This 14-year-old festival draws upwards of 75,000 people to the desert each weekend with a large number of attendees camping on site. To follow along with this weekend’s performances and events, be sure to follow a few of the bands and singers who will be performing:

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photo feature, thatsftree,

San Francisco Instagrammers Say Farewell to #thatSFtree

San Francisco mourns the loss of the iconic tree atop Mt. Davidson: #thatsftree

In cities across the world, certain places become pilgrimage sites for Instagrammers. New York has the Brooklyn Bridge, Los Angeles has Griffith Observatory, and San Francisco had #thatsftree.

The tree, a long-deceased tree atop Mount Davidson, San Francisco’s tallest hill, became a place for the city’s Instagram community to come together. The tree’s pale color and slight lean perfectly framed views of downtown San Francisco or the Sutro Tower atop Twin Peaks. Sadly, the tree came down in unusually strong winds on Sunday night. Many traveled to tree last evening to pay respects.