November 17, 2009

An autumn leaf in Jochi-ji temple

I saw a beautiful autumn leaf lying still on the web of thin green twigs.

The autumn, which was going away step by step from the garden, showed me this delicate and pleasant combination of colors as its elegant fond farewell.

Yatsude (Fatsia japonica) in Engaku-ji temple

I sensed a strong and calm life force when I saw the twisted sturdy roots of the large tree and the partly yellowed leaves of Yatsude.

"Yatsude" means "a shrub having eight-fingered leaves" and the shapes of its leaves remind me of the small hands of lively children.

Sazanka (Camellia sasanqua) flowers in Tokei-ji temple

The pink feathery flowers of Sazanka are blossoming gently and genuinely in the inconspicuous places.

These autumnal flowers appear to be beautiful corsages for the quiet garden of this particular season.

The setting sun at Yuiga-hama beach

On the beach, three local boys were absorbingly playing with sands in golden evening sunlight.

It seemed to me that the blessed glow of the setting sun was graciously beaming on these innocent boys.

Maple leaves in Engaku-ji temple

The zen gardens of Kita-kamakura begin to be flooded with autumnal colors.

The subtle gradation in color, which can only be seen in the initial stage of this season, is especially picturesque and reminds me of the beautiful "Bokashi" (gradation) representation of Ukiyo-e.

This splendid celebration of colors will reach a climax at the beginning of December here.

Sazanka (Camellia sasanqua) flowers in Engaku-ji temple

There was a flower blossoming secretly and solitarily.

Maple leaves in Engaku-ji temple

Nature must realize the exquisite beauty of colors.

Kanzeon Bosatsu statue in Engaku-ji temple

The small scarlet fruits of "Senryo" (Chloranthus glaber) seemed to be humble but sincere offerings to this god of mercy.

Autumn leaves in Engaku-ji temple

Beside the "Senbutsujyo" of this temple, I saw beautiful autumn leaves floating in the air like a trail of flaming cloud.

"Senbutsujyo" means "a hall for selecting Buddha or a founder of sect." This hall is actually used as a training place for Zen meditation.

November 11, 2009

Fallen Tsubaki flowers near Kencho-ji temple

A Tsubaki (Camellia japonica) flower falls gracefully as a whole from its calyx instead of scattering into separate flower petals.

The gorgeous flowers of Tsubaki have been loved by Japanese people since old times. These flowers blossom flourishingly from winter to spring and delight us with their lovely colors during the dark wintertime which is very poor in beautiful flowers.

This magnificent flower of Tsubaki is called "the queen flower of tea ceremony." In the cold wintertime, almost all of the "Tokonoma" (alcoves for decoration) of tea rooms are decorated with such Tsubaki flowers.

The autumnal garden of Tokei-ji temple

The cool and clear sunlight unique to autumn might be playing the leading role in the calm beauty of this simple but elegant garden.

The bunch of small toy-like flowers of wild chrysanthemum and the vivid red fruits of Manryo (Ardisia crenata) are tasteful and pleasant ornaments added to this scene of quiescence.

November 8, 2009

At a corner of the garden of Tokei-ji temple

I found small crimson leaves waiting for their falling quietly at a corner of the garden.

The Butsuden (main hall) of Tokei-ji temple

The fortuitous combination of the brownish red of the autumn leaves and the quiet green of the bamboo produced an especially brilliant view under the serene sky of this particular season.

The "Nyoi-houjyu" (cintaamaNi in Sanskrit)--namely the tapered globular ornament on the roof--is "the sacred gem which can grant all our wishes after our own hearts." This ornament symbolizes the profound wisdom of Buddha.

A spider web in the grove of Tokei-ji temple

A large web woven by a female "Jyoro-gumo" (Nephila clavata) spider was shining sliverly in the afternoon sunlight.

The name "Jyoro-gumo" means "a spider which is beautiful like an eminent court lady." This beautiful female spider dies after having laid her egg case on the trunk of a tree or on the undersurface of a leaf in late autumn or early winter. In the next early summer, a lot of her precious offsprings pop out from this egg case one after another.

Autumn leaves in Tokei-ji temple

The true beauty of autumnal nature may consists in the tasteful combination of delicate colors such as that of these simple autumn leaves.

A Tsubaki (Camellia japonica) flower in Kencho-ji temple

A young Tsubaki flower was in bloom solitarily under the shade of trees.

Yatsude (Fatsia japonica) flowers in Kencho-ji temple

"Yatsude" flower clusters begin to blossom in late autumn and attract various famished insects with their alluring odor of nectar.

The shape composed of the white flower clusters and the straight stalks seemed to be an elaborate piece of modern artwork placed for ornament in this zen garden.

In Kencho-ji temple

The undergrowth was illuminated by the mellow sunlight dropping down through the bamboo grove.

November 5, 2009

White Sazanka (Camellia sasanqua) flowers in Engaku-ji temple

A humble but beautiful "Kake-hana-ire" (hanging flower container) is hanged on the wall of "Kyudojo" (the training hall of Japanese archery) which is adjoining "Keisho-an" hut of this temple. Two white Sazanka flowers are inartificially placed in this Kake-hana-ire.

These two Sazanka flowers are displayed in order to symbolize the current season on the basis of the manners of Japanese tea ceremony.

This Kake-hana-ire seems to be hand-cafted with use of an old broken bow and a bamboo pipe.

A blue heron in Byakurochi pond of Engaku-ji temple

The garden and Hojyo of Engaku-ji temple

Baikatsutsuji (Rhododendron semibarbatum) leaves in Engaku-ji temple

The garden of Engaku-ji temple

Sazanka (Camellia sasanqua) flowers in Tokei-ji temple

Sazanka flowers are beginning to blossom here and there in Kita-kamakura as a colorful indication of the approaching winter.

November 1, 2009

Susuki (Japanese pampas grass) in Jyochi-ji temple

The crystal clear sunlight of late autumn can vividly reveal every beauty of nature. The shining spikes of "Susuki" grass are swaying peacefully in a mellow wind in front of the bell tower of this quiet temple.

"Susuki" is one of the "Aki-no-nanakusa" (seven typical kinds of autumnal plants in Japan) which are the traditional subjects for Japanese classic fine arts.

Hototogisu (Tricyrtis hirta) flowers in Tokei-ji temple

The little flowers of "Hototogisu" were illuminated brightly by sunlight streaming through the bushes of the garden.

The term "Hototogisu" originates from a bird name. A "Hototogisu" (Cuculus poliocephalus) bird, which has a chest with a beautiful polka-dotted pattern, sings a courtship song passionately in the midnights of early summer. This bird is traditionally considered as a poetical material for Japanese classic literature.

The flowers and leaves of this plant have a polka-dotted pattern similar to that of the bird and, because of this similarity, this plant is called "Hototogisu".

Manryo (Ardisia swartz) in Jyochi-ji temple

"Manryo" blossoms in summer and bears its ruby-red fruits in late autumn and winter. A touch of winter is appearing in a stealthy manner in this garden.

In the woods of Tokei-ji temple

The bright sunlight passing through trees was drawing a shadow picture of leaves on the trunk of a tree.

Sazanka (Camellia sasanqua) flowers in Tokei-ji temple

"Sazanka" flowers begin to blossom flamingly from late autumn and continue to flower persistently one after another until the end of midwinter.

During the gloomy wintertime that is poor in colors and vitality of nature, these "Sazanka" flowers relieve us from gloominess charitably with their splendour and beauty.

Tsuwabuki (Farfugium japonicum) flowers in Engaku-ji temple

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

The colorful autumn leaves of "Kashiwaba-azisai" are a superb feast for the eyes in this particular season.

Hototogisu (Tricyrtis hirta) flowers in Engaku-ji temple

I found small "Hototogisu" flowers blossoming unnoticeably beside a "Chozu-bachi" stone bowl in the garden of "Ou-bai-in" (yellow plum hut.)

A "Chozu-bachi" is typically a stone hand-washing bowl set in the "Roji" (front garden) of a "Cha-sitsu" (tea arbor.) In order to symbolically wash away and purify mundane impurity and dirtiness, the guests who attend a "Chanoyu" (tea ceremony) should wash their hands according to the "Saho" (manners) of tea ceremony before entering into a "Cha-sitsu" which has to be free from spiritual dirt or impurities.

In this garden, the "Chozu-bachi" is placed near its entrance gate. Visitors to this sacred garden wash their hands for purifying their spirits.

Himetsurusoba (Persicaria capitata) in Engaku-ji temple

"Himeturusoba" is a evergreen perpetual which is native to Himalayas. Its stalks creep around over the ground and its tiny pinkish flowers bloom almost all year around forming small ball-shaped clusters on the tips of its twigs. Besides, its small leaves turn vivid red in autumn.

In Kita-kamakura, blooming of this "Himeturusoba" reaches its best time in late autumn and I find the beautiful carpets made of the pink flower-balls and reddish leaves of this plant in many places.