May 28, 2019

Waterlily Pond: Ofuna Botanical Garden (Kamakura)

Waterlily Pond: Ofuna Botanical Garden (Kamakura)


Bathed in the bright liquid sun, the pure white flowers and blue-green leaves of Suiren (waterlily) are quietly floating on the surface of the tranquil pond as if to be filled with joy in the inconspicuous beginning of summer.

The ever-changing reflection of the deep blue sky, the violet flowers, and the fresh green leaves is softly glinting on the rippled water.

The subtle and endless transition of sunlight, colors, and shades composes a piece of silent water music for this waterlily pond, which continues flowing harmoniously at an eternal moment.

(As an homage to Claude Monet)



Rose garden: Ofuna Botanical garden (Kamakura)

Rose garden: Ofuna Botanical garden (Kamakura)


Summer has begun advancing steadily, bringing the dazzling sunlight from the blue sky and the bracing wind through fresh green treetops. All living things are vigorously growing to fleetly release all their life-force stored before now.

In this peaceful rose garden, numberless flowers of various colors are blooming with all their might and are jubilantly competing with each other for splendor and aroma.

Like these colorful roses which are in all their glory before my eyes, every flower of each season blooms finely to show the hidden signs and wonders of our evermoving universe.


(Additional photographs of the rose garden are uploaded to my another photoblog, "Like floating clouds and flowing streams.")


Shakuyaku (Paeonia lactiflora) flowers: Ofuna Botanical Garden (Kamakura)

Shakuyaku (Paeonia lactiflora) flowers: Ofuna Botanical Garden (Kamakura)


These Chinese peony flowers in full bloom made me recall the picture entitled "Peony Garden" painted by Monet (owned by National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo).



Utsugi (Deutzia crenata) flowers and Komisuji (Neptis sappho) butterfly: Engaku-ji

Utsugi (Deutzia crenata) flowers and Komisuji (Neptis sappho) butterfly: Engaku-ji


In the secret grassy garden, where birds are warbling delightedly in the grove, I saw a small butterfly with three-striped black wings gently fluttering around the tiny white flowers to seek the floral nectar they give.



Hakuunboku (Styrax obassia) flowers: Engaku-ji

Hakuunboku (Styrax obassia) flowers: Engaku-ji


The elongated flower cluster formed from the separate white flowers open in succession appears like a snow-white cloud floating in the sky, which is the origin of the Japanese given-name "Hakuunboku" (white cloud tree) of this kind of tree.



Peony flower: Kita-kamakura (my garden)

Peony flower: Kita-kamakura (my garden)

Shaga (Iris japonica) Flowers: Engaku-ji

Shaga (Iris japonica) Flowers: Engaku-ji

Peony flowers: Kencho-ji

Peony flowers: Kencho-ji

Peony flowers: Kencho-ji

Peony flowers: Kencho-ji

Peony flowers: Kencho-ji

Peony flowers: Kencho-ji

Peony flowers: Kencho-ji

Peony flowers: Kencho-ji

Sekkoku (Dendrobium moniliforme) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Sekkoku (Dendrobium moniliforme) Flowers: Kaizo-ji

Shakunage (Rhododendron) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Shakunage (Rhododendron) flowers: Kaizo-ji

April 23, 2019

Someiyoshino sakura (Prunus × yedoensis) blossoms: Engaku-ji

Someiyoshino sakura (Prunus × yedoensis) blossoms: Engaku-ji


Over the stone steps leading to the old "Sangedatsumon" gate of this temple, the white cherry blossoms are now fully blooming with all one's might and are shining brightly in the liquid spring sun to celebrate the true height of spring.

By the side of these blossoms, the fresh young leaves of maple have just erupted in a breath to accompany this grand celebration of spring.

The "Sangedatsumon" means "three gates for entering into nirvana" to pass through before reaching the true enlightenment. This gate is symbolically composed of three gates, that is, ku-mon (the gate for awaking us to the emptiness of our realities), muso-mon (the gate for awaking us to the formlessness of our universe) and mugan-mon (the gate for awaking us to the delusion of our desires and passions).


Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) blossoms: Mt. Yoshino (Nara prefecture)

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) blossoms: Mt. Yoshino (Nara prefecture)


I recently visited Mt. Yoshino (Nara Prefecture of Japan), which is the most renowned place for magnificent cherry blossoms in Japan.

Mt. Yoshino is also one of the most important places of mountain worship in Japan, where the ascetic practices of Shugendo (Japanese mountain asceticism-shamanism comprised of Shintoism and esoteric Buddhism) have been continually inherited from the remote past.

Kinpusen-ji temple, which is located in the center of this sacred mountain area, is said to have been founded by En no Gyoja, who was a legendary holy man known for his practice of mountain asceticism during the second half of the 7th century.

For over a thousand years, numberless "Yama-zakura" cherry trees have continued to be planted in this area as the sacred trees dedicated to Zao Gongen which is the principal image of Kinpusen-ji temple and the highest object of worship in Shugendo.

(Additional new photographs of the cherry blossoms of Mt. Yoshino and Kyoto are uploaded to my another photoblog, "Like floating clouds and flowing streams.")