May 14, 2020

Tsutsuji (Rhododendron) flowers: Jochi-ji

Tsutsuji (Rhododendron) flowers: Jochi-ji


After going up the worn sandstone steps at the back of the moss-covered stone bridge and passing under the humble San-mon gate (Three Gates of Deliverance), a long, weathered stone staircase leads to the bell-tower gate and the Buddha hall in the quiet and shady grove.

The azalea flowers of various colors vividly decorate the tranquil entrance path to the humble Buddha hall.

In the Buddha hall, the three wooden images of Shakyamuni triad, namely the image of Shakyamuni (Gautama) Buddha flanked by two attendants, are waiting for us.

The framed motto hung on the San-mon gate is saying the zen words of "Housho zaikin" from the Lotus Sutra. This phase means that the nirvana of enlightenment (Housho) is within a stone's throw (zaikin) and you must take it one step further without giving it up.



Yae-zakura (Double-flowered cherry tree) flowers: Engaku-ji

Yae-zakura (Double-flowered cherry tree) flowers: Engaku-ji


A long time has passed since the full-blown cherry flowers disappeared completely like a momentary but beautiful daydream of spring. After those flowers had fallen altogether, various fresh leaves are appearing all at once everywhere, which makes me realize how fast time is passing.

In a corner of the quiet garden of Hyak-kannon (one hundred statues of Buddhist deity of compassion), the pale pink flowers of a double‐flowered cherry tree are in full bloom in the gentle afternoon sunlight of late spring.

The flying-dragon in the auspicious clouds sculptured on the Chokushi-mon Gate (gate for imperial envoys), which was once colored splendidly in the old days, symbolizes the virtue and benevolence of the emperor to be received.


Tsutsuji (Rhododendron) flowers: Jyochi-ji

 Tsutsuji (Rhododendron) flowers: Jyochi-ji


Bright foliage is flourishing vigorously and the rich gradation of greenness entirely surrounds the stone steps to the bell-tower gate.

The flowers of Tsutsuji (azalea) and Shaga (Iris japonica) accentuate the deep stillness tinged with the tender green of new leaves.

Invisible birds of spring are singing merrily somewhere in the shady grove around me.

The worn-out stone stairway reminds me of the long history of this old Zen temple. I wonder how many persons have come and gone on this stairway to seek the path to the place of enlightenment.



Fresh green foliage: Chojyu-ji

Fresh green foliage: Chojyu-ji

Hakuunboku (Styrax obassia) flowers: Engaku-ji

Hakuunboku (Styrax obassia) flowers: Engaku-ji

Sekkoku (Dendrobium moniliforme) flowers: Engaku-ji

Sekkoku (Dendrobium moniliforme) flowers: Engaku-ji

Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers: Emgaku-ji

Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers: Emgaku-ji

Tsutsuji (Rhododendron) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Tsutsuji (Rhododendron) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Shakunage (Rhododendron) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Shakunage (Rhododendron) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Kodemari (Spiraea cantoniensis) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Kodemari (Spiraea cantoniensis) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Yae-zakura (double-flowered cherry tree) flowers: Genji-yama (Kamakura)

Yae-zakura (double-flowered cherry tree) flowers: Genji-yama (Kamakura)

April 16, 2020

Somei-yoshino (Cerasus ×yedoensis) sakura flowers: Engaku-ji

Somei-yoshino (Cerasus ×yedoensis) sakura flowers: Engaku-ji


In a manner befitting to the old Zen temple, the humble cherry blossoms are floating peacefully like thin white clouds in front of the bamboo grove.

The camellia flowers are in bloom as if they were quietly staying close beside this solitary tree to lend a touch of splendor to it. The fresh green leaves and small red flowers of a maple tree are adding the lively colors which make me feel the genuine breath of life in spring.

In the bright sunlight, living things have begun to revive everywhere without knowing a sudden epidemic of human angst and agony in this beautiful season.



Somei-yoshino (Cerasus ×yedoensis) sakura flowers: Engaku-ji

Somei-yoshino (Cerasus ×yedoensis) sakura flowers: Engaku-ji


It was only the other day that the first plum blossom heralded the long-awaited arrival of spring. This flowering season always starts unhurriedly and passes by with very hasty steps.

At a dizzying pace, various flowers bloom and fall one after another to fulfill their roles in the mysterious ritual of pollinating.

Sakura blossoms declare the brief peak of spring and then scatter fleetingly like snowflakes falling in the warm spring breeze.


Shidare-zakura (Prunus itosakura Sieb.) flowers: Engaku-ji

Shidare-zakura (Prunus itosakura Sieb.) flowers: Engaku-ji

Somei-yoshino (Cerasus ×yedoensis) sakura flowers: Engaku-ji

Somei-yoshino (Cerasus ×yedoensis) sakura flowers: Engaku-ji