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Michael Yamashita

Michael Yamashita

Michael Yamashita is an award-winning photographer who has been shooting for National Geographic magazine for more than 30 years. He specialized in Asia after spending seven years in the region following his graduation from Wesleyan University.

The old steam train

Pay just five Chinese yuan ($0.73) and you can ride one of the last regularly operated passenger steam trains in China. The six villages it connects in the Jiayang Mining Region of Sichuan Province have no roads between them, so the train makes four crowded trips a day.
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Earthen structures

The Chuxi tulou town in southeast China’s Fujian Province has a group of earthen structures known as tulou. The buildings, rural dwellings of the Hakka people, date back to the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).
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Mountain pass

Juyong Pass, a mountain pass located about 31 miles from central Beijing, was one of the nine mountain passes during China’s Warring States period (403–221 B.C.). The Great Wall of China passes through here.
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Heading home from school

A group of students are heading home after school in Jiangsu Province, a coastal province north of Shanghai. With its capital in Nanjing, Jiangsu is one of the leading provinces in manufacturing electronics and apparel items.
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The lone guard

A guard keeps watch in front of the portrait of Chairman Mao in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. While most are familiar with the Forbidden City, which lies beyond the guarded Tiananmen gate, the defensive structure itself is regarded as a national landmark, as it has a history dating back to the early 15th century.
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Food of the southwest

A chef prepares a regional food at a hotel in Tacheng in southwestern Yunnan Province. As the province is one of the most ethnically diverse areas in China, Yunnan cuisine has a wide variety of flavors.
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Bad air in Beijing

A couple on the street wear masks to protect themselves from air pollution. The smog has recently engulfed many major cities across China, including Beijing, Tianjin, and Xi’an. Beijing has responded by launching an environmental police force to crack down on polluters such as open-air barbecues and garbage incineration.
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Mountain fog

Fog shrouds the Jeduo Pass, the gateway to Tibet on the Ancient Tea Horse Road in Sichuan Province. About a thousand years ago, mule caravans carried tea and salt on this important trade path linking southwest China, central China, and Tibet.
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Flags in winter

Prayer flags are flying in Jiuzhaigou National Park, located on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. According to Tibetan tradition, it is best to hang the flags on sunny but windy days. They are used as symbols of peace, compassion, and wisdom.
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Waterfalls from glaciers

Crystal waters fed from glaciers cascade down in a series of waterfalls in Jiuzhaigou, a nature reserve and national park located in the north of Sichuan Province. The park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.
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The frozen river

The Mekong River is covered with ice and snow near its headwaters on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai Province. From the Tibetan Plateau, the world’s 12th-longest river runs through multiple Southeast Asian countries, including China, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.
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Milking yaks

A Tibetan woman at Heitushan Pass in Sichuan Province takes care of morning duties: milking the yaks, handling calves, stoking the fire and making yak butter tea and biscuits.
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The pillars at Wulingyuan

The Wulingyuan Scenic Area is located in Zhangjiajie City in northern Hunan Province. Designated as a World Heritage site in 1992, it contains 3,000 sandstone pillars that are shrouded in mist much of the time, making them classic features of Chinese landscape painting.
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Yaks in snow

Yaks graze during a snow flurry in Sichuan Province’s Yalong River Valley. In the traditional Tibetan nomad economy, one’s wealth was valued by the number of yaks that they owned. Each part of the animal is useful, such as the skin for clothing and the milk for cheese.
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Winter reflections

Snow-covered trees are reflected in the pristine waters of Five Flower Lake. The lake is located in Jiuzhaigou National Park in Sichuan Province.
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