December 24, 2011

Fallen Autumnal tints in Tenryu-ji (Kyoto)


The fallen colorful leaves of maple are quietly piling up on the ground covered with dark green moss.

These brilliant tints in the garden are creating the colorful mosaic of this fading-away season.

Soon the white flakes of the first snow will lightly fly down to this garden to cover the fallen leaves with pale whiteness.



May the Joy and Peace of Christmas be with you now and throughout the new year.

Autumn leaves in Tenryu-ji (Kyoto)


Like a bright sunset grow, the leaves of autumn are calmly flaming in the declining sun.

Autumn leaves in Arashi-yama (Kyoto)


The various autumnal colors are elegantly covering the gentle hillside along the Katsura River.

After winter goes, the countless spring blossoms of Sakura will beautify this hillside spectacularly.

The garden of Zen in Shokoku-ji (Kyoto)


This renowned garden of Zen is called "the garden of Ryu-en-sui."
 "Ryu-en-sui" means "the water of the abyss where a dragon lives."

This garden is one of the great gardens designed by Muso Soseki in the 15th century. This garden is located in front of "Kaizan-to" (the founder's hall) of this Zen temple.

The colored wood statue of Muso Soseki is enshrined in this Kaizan-to as the great founder of this temple.

The stone-built ditch outside the Kare-sansui rock garden was once filled with clear running water.

December 18, 2011

Bamboo trees and autumn leaves in Tenryu-ji (Kyoto)


Kyoto is the eternal capital of beauty in our country.

The gardens of Zen are elaborately composed of natural elements to aesthetically symbolize the spirituality of Zen and the tea ceremony, which puts the highest value on harmony, respect, purity and tranquility.

The evergreen Bamboo trees, the flaming autumn leaves just before their falling and the weathered plaster wall are portraying an elegant and memorable scene, which tells us about the eternal moment in the time passing away so swiftly.

Autumn leaves and Sazanka flowers in Tenryu-ji (Kyoto)


In the front garden of the Hojo hall of Tenryu-ji.

The colorful leaves of maple and the purplish red flowers of Sazanka (camellia) presented such gorgeous patterns as delicate printed silk of Kyo-yuzen.

Autumn leaves in Tenryu-ji (Kyoto)


When I saw this scene from far away, I was momentarily seized by the illusion that huge blaze was silently rising into the air.

The blazing red of the autumn leaves contrasted well with the cold silver of the tile roofs.

The pond garden of Tenryu-ji (Kyoto)



This beautiful pond garden of Tenryu-ji is esteemed as one of the best masterpieces in the art of landscaping in Japan.

This Zen garden was originally designed by Muso Soseki in the 15th century so as to artistically represent the state of enlightenment (Satori) which a Zen monk finally experiences.

This pond is called "Sogen-chi," which is derived from the Zen word "Sogen no itteki sui" which means that a droplet of water finally makes the vast ocean.

The arrangement of rocks in the back is presenting the landscape of a waterfall, which symbolizes "Toryu-mon" of Chinese legend.

Toryu-mon means "a gateway for changing into a dragon."   A carp can become a dragon by climbing over this towering waterfall.

December 10, 2011

Autumnal Momiji leaves in Tofuku-ji (Kyoto)


A monk meditates his way into a state of bliss and enlightenment sitting still on the corridor of the Buddha hall fronting a beautiful garden.

The garden of Zen is a living picture on a sacred theme, which is composed of earth, air, sun, water and seasons.

Autumn leaves in Tofuku-ji (Kyoto)


Beside the gallery to Kaizan-do hall (the founder's shrine of this temple).

Autumn leaves In Tofuku-ji


In front of the Aizen-do Hall of Tofuku-ji.

This vermilion octagon shrine is sacred to Aizen-myoo or the Buddhist deity of love.

Autumn leaves in Tofuku-ji (Kyoto)


In the soft slanting sun of late afternoon,  the garden was ablaze with autumnal colors.

Autumn leaves in Tofuku-ji (Kyoto)


Tsuten-kyo bridge corridor and the red gold autumnal leaves of trefoil maple trees.

"Tsuten-kyo" means "the bridge which is built across the sky."

Autumn leaves in Tofuku-ji (Kyoto)


I saw the silver tile roofs and white walls of the Hojo (abbot's chamber) and Shoin (study) buildings across the flaming leaves.

Autumn leaves in Tofuku-ji (Kyoto)


Looking down into the ravine called "Sengyoku-kan" which is decorated brilliantly with colorful autumnal tints.

 "Sengyoku-kan" means "water for washing jade."

December 8, 2011

Autumn leaves in the Sogen-chi garden of Tenryu-ji (Kyoto)



I made a brief trip to Kyoto to appreciate the exquisite autumnal leaves in the gardens of Zen.

Fortunately, the weather was good and the flaming autumnal colors remained at peak.

The breathtaking beauty of the gorgeously colored gardens produced the illusions in my mind that I was standing in the Pure Land of Amida Buddha.

Tenryu-ji is the head temple of the Tenryu branch of Rinzai Zen Buddhism. This elegant pond garden is one of the great achievements of Muso Soseki, who was the first chief priest of this temple and is reputed to be the most eminent Zen garden designer in Japan.

Autumn leaves in Tofuku-ji (Kyoto)


December 7, 2011

The Sogen-chi garden of Tenryu-ji (Kyoto)


This magnificent pond garden is one of the greatest masterpieces in the art of landscaping of Japan.

This Zen garden was created by Muso Soseki in the 15th century so as to represent the state of Satori (enlightenment) which a Zen monk seeks.

This pond is called "Sogen-chi," which is derived from the Zen word "Sogen no itteki sui." This  means that a droplet of water finally makes the vast ocean.

Autumn leaves in Hogen-in of Tenryu-ji (Kyoto)


This garden is called Shishiku-no-niwa, which means "the garden where a lion roars."

December 2, 2011

Autumn leaves in Engaku-ji


Time is passing by so rapidly before our eyes and the year is drawing to a close.

The stream of time waits for no man. The seasons calmly revolve moment by moment.

The bitter chill of winter has finally arrived here to make the maple leaves turn to vivid red and yellow just before their falling.

A Tsubaki (camellia) flower in Tokei-ji


A Tsubaki flower blooms in the gray coldness of winter and lends a precious touch of color to the wintry gardens of Zen just like a crimson flame.

This flower falls flawlessly without scattering its petals and remains in full glory on the cold ground for some time.

Autumn leaves in Engaku-ji


Momiji (maple) leaves in Tokei-ji


November 14, 2011

Tsuwabuki (Farfugium japonicum) flowers in Jochi-ji


The vivid yellow flowers of Tsuwabuki are at best in the Zen gardens where countless leaves are beginning to flutter to the ground.

The transparent and cool sunlight is growing sharper and the brilliance of the autumnal colors are increasing still more.

I heard that the first snow had fallen in far northern provinces today.

Jyugatsu-sakura (Prunus × subhirtella cv. Autumnalis) flowers in Engaku-ji

Rindo (Gentiana scabra var. buergeri ) flowers in Kaizo-ji

A autumn sky in Jochi-ji

Fallen leaves in Jochi-ji

Shukaido (Hardy begonia) flowers in Jochi-ji

Susuki (Japanese pampas grass) spikes in Jochi-ji

November 6, 2011

A stream in Kencho-ji


Water goes on flowing without interruption.
Like a stream of water, all things are in a state of flow.

Everything is changing without end.
We are changing in the eternal cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

Shumeigiku (Japanese anemone) flowers in Tokei-ji


Shumeigiku flowers bloom flamboyantly in the depth of autumn.

In the gardens of Zen in Kita-kamakura, a colorful variety of autumn flowers is blooming in full glory.

The leaves of trees have already begun to turn red and yellow and will soon reign over these gardens totally with their flaming tints just before the arrival of winter.

A cool autumnal breeze is softly swaying these elegant flowers and tall flower stalks as if to stroke them tenderly.

Kashiwaba-azisai (Hydrangea quercifolia) leaves in Tokei-ji


The leaves of Kashiwaba-ajisai have taken on a deeper crimson color to hint us of the gradual approach of winter.

In the rainy season of early summer, this Kashiwaba-ajisai beautifies the wet garden elegantly with its white silk-like flowers.

In summer, its fresh green leaves quietly endure the trials of the blazing sun.

Winter is moving towards this garden of autumnal tints with stealthy steps.

Kogiku (chrysanthemum) flowers in Engaku-ji


In the quiet garden of a late afternoon, I found a bouquet of white chrysanthemum flowers being illuminated by the gentle sunlight.

October 29, 2011

A stone image of Bodhidharma in Kencho-ji


A granite stone image of Bodhidharma was gleaming brightly in the clear and pure sunlight peculiar to late October.

Each time I stand in front of this solemn stone image in the quiet bamboo garden, I have the illusion that I can hear the sudden deep shout of Bodhidharma which he gives to waken and disillusion us from earthly passions and delusions.

Iwatabako (Conandron ramondioides) leaves in Tokei-ji


As autumn deepens abruptly, these thick summer leaves of Iwatabako will begin to fall after fulfilling their duty.

The kanji text carved on the stone plate tells about the great mercy and wisdom of Soyen Shaku (1860-1919), who is one of the most notable Zen monk in modern Japan and is the first to introduce the philosophy and word of "Zen" in the West.

Hototogisu (Tricyrtis hirta) flowers in Tokei-ji


In Kita-kamakura, the purple polka-dot flowers of Hototogisu are presently blooming in full glory in the every garden of Zen temples.

This adorable flower is one of the precious seasonal gifts which autumn delivers to us stealthily.

Jyugatsu-sakura (Prunus × subhirtella cv. Autumnalis) flowers in Tokei-ji


Although spring sakura flowers bloom splendidly with the happiness of victory, the flowers of Jyugatsu-sakura blossom inconspicuously as if trying to avoid being seen.

"Jyugatsu-sakura" means the sakura which blossoms in October.

In the silent garden where the tints of autumn deepen moment by moment, I appreciate the modest and fragile beauty of this pale pink flower of October.

Sacred lotus in Tsurugaoka-hachimangu


The leaves of sacred lotus, which once covered this pond lively and densely in summer, have died calmly.

The seasons turn and the wheel of life goes round and round.

October 20, 2011

Sion (Aster tataricus) flowers in Kaizo-ji


The light blue of the afternoon sky, the green and red of leaves of trees and the pale purple of Sion flowers created a brilliant and complex mosaic of autumn.

The full-blown flowers of Sion were quietly facing toward the the declining sun in the modest garden where a faint hint of winter could be felt in the air.

Fallen flowers of Kinmokusei in Kaizo-ji


An enormous number of golden Kinmokusei (fragrant olive) flowers had been scattered all together in a very short time by the sudden night rain.

These small flowers were still staying on the glossy green leaves of Tsuwabuki (Farfugium japonicum) and the moss-covered ground to beautify this garden of autumn magically.

A Tsumagurohyomon (Argyreus hyperbius) butterfly in Kaizo-ji


In the afternoon sun, I saw a Tsumagurohyomon butterfly fluttering lightly among vivid Sion flowers.

I felt that this butterfly was the last I found in the gardens of Zen in this year.

October 14, 2011

Higanbana (Lycoris radiata) flowers in Kencho-ji


The Higanbana flowers, which are lit up by the afternoon sun shining into the bush, are glittering like deep crimson flames.

The clear and soft sunlight peculiar to early autumn can work magic on the gardens of Zen to reveal the essential beauty of this world.

Before long, leaves of trees will begin to take on vivid autumnal reds and yellows. The crimson of these flowers may be the advance notice of the coming season of these brilliant tints.

A Komaruhanabachi bumblebee in Engaku-ji


In the soft afternoon sun of October, I saw bumble bees buzzing busily from flower to flower to collect pollen and nectar.

Until the end of their lives, they go on carrying out their last duties absorbedly for leaving offspring.

When long and bitter winter is over, I will find their noisy offspring buzzing diligently around flowers in the warmth of spring.

The Kara-mon (Chinese-style gate) of Kencho-ji


High white clouds are slowly floating in the azure sky.

The golden gate is softly sparkling in the clear autumn sun.

October 11, 2011

Kinmokusei (Osmanthus fragrans var. aurantiacus) flowers in Tokei-ji


The small golden flowers of Kinmokusei (fragrant olive) trees suddenly bloom all at once and emit a delightful aroma of autumn everywhere about here.

The spectacular blooming of these fragrant flowers is one of the most evident and graceful manifestations of the start of autumn in Kita-kamakura.

When a sudden rain falls, these flowers scatter simultaneously and decorate the ground surfaces splendidly with their gold petals.

October 9, 2011

Calm twilight at Morito coast


Countless fleecy clouds are gently floating high up in the air. The evening sun has just sunk below the horizon.

The dim afterglow, which is a precious and transient gift from the setting sun, is subtly coloring the quiet sky violet and scarlet to let us sense the fineness of our universe at this very moment.

The waves are softly lapping the shore with pleasant sound as if to wash away the pain and distress of all living things in this peaceful twilight.

Water lily leaves in Tsurugaoka-hachimangu


The declined sun of early October is tranquilly shining on the rippled water surface covered with water lily leaves.

Soon these leaves will disappear into the muddy water for their long winter sleep and lively rebirth in the coming spring.

September 25, 2011

Fuyo (Hibiscus mutabilis) flowers in Engaku-ji


Beneath the sky of deep cloudless blue, the white flowers of Fuyo, which have beautified the very end of summer, are blooming lively as if to heartily rejoice in the precious bright sunlight still staying behind after the end of summer.

The clear serene air of early autumn refines the azure of this sky to the utmost.

The blazing sunlight and intense heat, which have long reigned over here, are fading away being aware of the time of their withdrawal.

Miyagino-hagi (Lespedeza thunbergii) flowers in Kaizo-ji


The countless small magenta flowers of Miyagino-hagi have begun to bloom in concert for notifying us of the long-awaited arrival of beautiful autumn.