December 19, 2010

Carps and maple leaves in Nanzen-ji (Kyoto)

The season of splendid colors has gone away at last, leaving behind the lingering trace of vivid autumnal tints on the quiet surface of the pond.

The cold stillness of winter begins to dominate over the gardens of Zen steadily.

Beneath the waveless surface of water, which reflected the ash-colored clouds and the gloomy afternoon sky, the gold and silver carps were gently swimming around as if to know the arrival of a harsh winter and the coming of feathery snow.

Autumn leaves in Nanzen-ji (Kyoto)

Autumn leaves in Kodai-ji (Kyoto)

Just after a sudden passing shower, the colored leaves glistened brightly in the radiant sun bursting through the clouds.

Autumn leaves in Kodai-ji (Kyoto)

Fallen leaves in Chion-in (Kyoto)

Autumn leaves in Chion-in (Kyoto)

The San-mon (mountain gate) of Kennin-ji (Kyoto)

December 14, 2010

December 10, 2010

Autumn leaves in Ao-komyo-ji (Kyoto)

I made a brief tour of Kyoto to seek the final flaming beauty of the late autumn which is surely ending.

The bitter coldness of a long winter has just begun to reign over this ancient noble city and forcefully urges once-colorful autumn leaves to scatter in its chilly wind.

Soon fresh snow will come down over the dried fallen leaves to lightly cover them with its pure whiteness.

A Zen garden in Kennin-ji (Kyoto)

Fallen leaves in Kodai-ji (Kyoto)

Bamboo grove in Kodai-ji (Kyoto)

I saw the blazing scarlet of autumn leaves sparkling in the bamboo grove.

December 1, 2010

Autumn leaves in Kencho-ji

I found these colorful leaves near a bamboo grove.

Autumn leaves brilliantly turn their colors before they are shed from trees into the earth.

The cycle of life is repeated unceasingly and subtly.

Autumn maple in Genji-yama park

Sazanka (Camellia sasanqua) flowers in Genji-yama park

Sazanka flowers begin to open one after another when autumn is about to end and winter is just ahead.

The delicate beauty of these flowers gratifies our eyes for a time in the almost flowerless season which has already come here.

Autumn leaves in Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

The flaming autumnal colors are beautifully matched with the glossy pitch-black and the dim copper color of Shiro-hata-jinjya (white-battle-flag shrine).

This shrine commemorates Minamoto no Yoritomo (Yoritomo of Minamoto) and his samurai family. Yoritomo (1147-1199) was the founder and the first shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate of Japan.

The gilt emblem of Rindo (Gentiana scabra var. buergeri) flower and bamboo grass, which is marked on this black-lacquered shrine, is the crest of the Minamoto family.

They unfurled their white battle flag on the battlefields.

November 26, 2010

Autumn leaves in Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Autumn may be the most beautiful season of year because its gorgeous colors of leaves are so short-lived and its serene bright sky is so transient.

Too soon the flamboyantly colored leaves are scattered and swirled away by a bitterly cold wind.

Too soon the clear blue sky of this gentle season transforms into the thick ash-colored canopy of coldness.

A Karugamo (spotbill duck) in Byakuro-ike pond of Engaku-ji

A Karugamo duck was gently gliding away on the calm surface of Byakuro-ike (white-heron pond) on which countless fallen leaves floated.

Autumn leaves in Engaku-ji

November 24, 2010

Autumn leaves in Engaku-ji

A steep fall in temperature and a rapid decline in moisture trigger off the vivid coloring of the leaves.

Winter is just around the corner now.

Trees silently tell us about the story of the changes of the four seasons.

Autumn leaves in Engaku-ji

November 18, 2010

Autumnal tints in Tokei-ji

Autumnal tints have begun to brilliantly color the quiet gardens of Zen in Kita-kamakura.

The leaves, which have played supporting parts quietly until now, are emerging as leading roles in the flamboyant coloration of the gardens.

Soon the flaming colors of leaves will flood in and provide a splendid feast for our eyes just before chilly winter.

Autumnal tints in Engaku-ji

Tsuwabuki (Farfugium japonicum) flowers in Engaku-ji

In a sunny place, I saw a small orange butterfly settling on a vivid yellow flower of Tsuwabuki (Farfugium japonicum).

Winter is approaching surely. We have to wait until next spring to see such a butterfly fluttering about joyfully among colorful flowers.

Autumnal tints in Engaku-ji

Trees shed their leaves to survive dark and harsh winter.

The flaming autumnal colors closely resemble the brilliant blazing colors of the afterglow.

Autumnal tints in Engaku-ji

A Sazanka (Camellia sasanqua) flower in Engaku-ji

The garden of Engaku-ji