December 30, 2013

Winter seashore: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

The late-afternoon sun of December, which is hurriedly descending toward the horizon, has just hidden behind the clusters of thick clouds above the calm surface of the winter sea.

The pale rays of the sun are thinly spreading out into the deep slate-blue sky.

People standing on the sands are silently staring into the open sea, where a faint sign of the evening glow has already appeared.

Winter seashore: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

The bright silvery sunlight is sparkling on the countless ripples of the calm sea.

The gentle winter sky is completely blanketed with the white hazy clouds to let us forget the chillness of the sea breezes for some time.

The dazzling light reflected from the sea is silhouetting the various kinds of life that linger quietly at the water's edge.

Cirrus: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

The silky strands of clouds are drifting high in the bright blue sky.

A black kite is serenely wheeling in the chilly air, keenly overlooking the glistening surface of the winter sea.

The afterglow of autumn: Tokei-ji

The quiet and pale sunlight is falling down through the thick grove of trees to make the colored leaves shine like the burning afterglow of the season passing away.

Soon the cold and colorless silence of winter will dominate throughout this grove for a good while until a hint of spring appears stealthily.

Autumnal foliage: Jochi-ji

The ceaseless current of seasons is inscribed on the worn stone steps leading up to the old temple.

The leaves of blazing colors are softly casting their final radiance of splendor into the crisp air.

Flaming colors: Tokei-ji

In the slanting rays of the afternoon sun, the residual colors of autumn are burning up brightly in the depths of the bamboo grove.

In a moment, these leaves of flame will entirely go off the trees before we know it. Winter is deepening steadily without delay.

December 15, 2013

Autumn leaves: Engaku-ji

In the dry and keen sunlight of early winter, the vividly colored leaves are hurriedly approaching their prime of beauty.

Soon these flamboyant colors will disappear totally from view under the cold grayness of the midwinter sky.

The colors of seasons change forever to impress me with the perpetual beauty of this land of the living.

Autumn leaves: Jochi-ji

These colors of autumnal leaves reminded me of the evening sky aglow with the setting sun.

Autumn leaves: Engaku-ji

The shady downhill path along the white stucco walls led to the bright sunlit garden, which was dazzlingly saturated with the flaming colors of the autumn leaves.

Autumnal colors: Engaku-ji

In the gentle rays of the early afternoon sun coming in through the trees, a full spectrum of autumnal tints are shining brilliantly to fascinate me with their transient but precious beauty.

December 6, 2013

Choushuu-kaku (tea-house named "a hermitage for listening to the sounds of autumn"): Sankei-en (Yokohama)

In the shady grove where early winter has just arrived, the flaming colors of leaves are exceedingly in harmony with the silent simplicity of this old tea-ceremony house.

The snow-white of the shoji paper screens is presenting a graceful contrast with the brightly colored leaves of crimson, vermilion and gold.

The lively songs of winter birds are heard in the cool and gentle winds, that are softly rustling the colorful withering leaves of this passing season.

Autumnal garden: Sankei-en (Yokohama)

The leaves have changed their colors so beautifully as if to know their fate.

Amid the flaming colors of the autumn leaves, this old elegant bridge, which arches over the quiet pond, makes me imagine the past days when this time-honored garden was at its height.

December 1, 2013

Autumn leaves: Tokei-ji

The flaming colors of autumn leaves are deepening still more as the severe cold and pale gloom of winter are increasingly reigning over the gardens of Zen.

Soon these richly colored leaves will reach the height of their beauty and then be scattered suddenly by the bitter blast of winter wind.

I know about the transience of these gorgeous colors, which is the very reason why I am so deeply charmed by these autumnal tints.

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

The lapis lazuli blue flowers of Rindo are blooming like a Hawaiian flower-lei on the green moss-covered ground.

The coral fallen leaves of maple are lying beside these flowers to make an unexpected still-life piece of autumn.

November 28, 2013

Before sundown: Morito coast (Hayama)

A little before sundown, the azure sky above the distant horizon is subtly tinted with many shades of flaming colors.

The clusters of sparkling clouds are drifting high across the sky like a phoenix that has just revived from the ashes.

Soon the darkness of night will embrace this glorious seascape completely and the shining immortal bird will slowly fly away to the other shore.

The evening twilight: Morito coast (Hayama)

In the pale vermilion glow of evening twilight, two girls, who hold their kick-scooters, are going back home from the seawall after short girl talk.

A beam from the lighthouse, which has started just now, is telling them of the coming on of a quiet moonlit night.

November 23, 2013

The setting sun: Morito coast (Hayama)

The setting sun is slowly disappearing beyond the far horizon.

The sky and clouds are colored exquisitely with the pale cinnabar sunlight.

Waves are calmly heaving with their tender sound in the gentle evening glow.

A flight of seabirds are silently returning to their home.

For a moment, the eternity of the sea shows itself secretly before my eyes.

November 21, 2013

Autumnal tints: Engaku-ji

Early winter has just arrived here and autumnal tints are pouring in steadily to brilliantly color the gardens of Zen under the bright and transparent sky of this elegant season.

Soon the flaming colors of autumn leaves will spread like wildfire to give a seasonal tremendous feast for our eyes.

October 30, 2013

Waves: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

The calm waves are endlessly breaking and receding on the sands.

The golden setting sun is making the countless ripples and bubbles shine brightly in the descending dusk.

I am standing still at the water's edge staring at the waves which are lapping the beach eternally.

Setting sun: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

The sinking sun has just appeared behind the thick gray clouds to dimly illuminate the smooth water surface of the sea.

Night is gradually settling down on the beach, where the soft sound of the waves is continuing.

Waves: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

The dry landscape gardens (Kare-sansui) of Zen temples often symbolize the sea and islands with the use of rocks and gravels to subtly imply a state of spiritual awakening.

The sea, the sky and the horizon may be a secret gateway to the distant and infinite universe to where we must ultimately return.

The evening sun sparkling with gold is slowly sinking in the west, where the Pure Land of Buddha is believed to exist.

Waves: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

As the declining sun sinks down moment by moment, the sea and sky continuously change their colors and shapes in subtle ways.

In the transient evening twilight, the rolling waves keep lapping the sand to vanish away in a moment.

Leaves: Kaizo-ji

This old tree is standing still as always like a quiet sage who knows the true meaning of the changing seasons.

Its fresh green leaves grow thick in soft spring breeze. In the dazzling sun of summer, its vivid green leaves shine brightly. As autumn deepens, its leaves turn yellow and red. Then this tree swiftly drop its all colorful leaves to withstand the cold harshness of winter and to prepare for the next spring.

Shumei-giku: Tokei-ji

In the well-tended garden of this small Zen temple, the modest white flowers of Shumei-giku (Anemone hupehensis var. japonica) are blooming gracefully in the pleasant sunlight and crisp air of mid-October.

Jyugatsu-sakura (October cherry): Engaku-ji

A Jyugatsu-sakura (Prunus × subhirtella cv. Autumnalisblooms) tree blossoms twice a year. "Jyugatsu-sakura" means "a cherry tree which blossoms in October."

One-third of the buds of this tree usually come into blossom from about October and the remaining buds bloom in the next spring. The October flowers are said to be somewhat smaller than the flowers of spring.

It was a my great pleasure to again see these delicate and elegant flowers of sakura under such a crystal autumn sky.

Old tenzuiji jyuto ooidou: Sankei-en (Yokohama)

This carved wooden doors belong to the small antique shrine called "Tenzui-ji jyuto ooidou," which was built in Kyoto by Toyotomi Hideyoshi as a resting place for his mother in 1591. This shrine was relocated to Sankei-en garden (Yokohama, Japan) in 1901.

Sankei-en was the private garden designed and built by Tomitaro (Sankei) Hara  (1868–1939), who was one of the most successful merchants and one of the most elaborate collectors of Japanese fine arts at that time.

The heavenly maiden-like creatures in the auspicious clouds, which are carved on these wood panels, are called "Karyobinga." Karyobinga is an imaginary bird in paradise that sings sweet notes, according to Buddhist sutras.

Old tenzuiji jyuto ooidou: Sankei-en (Yokohama)

This photograph shows the front view of "Tenzui-ji jyuto ooidou."

The figure of paulownia's flowers and leaves on the metal fittings and the roof tiles is the family crest of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Rinshun-kaku and Choshuu-kaku: Sankei-en (Yokohama)

This quiet place of Sankei-en comprises the private houses and garden where Tomitaro (Sankei) Hara  (1868–1939) and his family lived.

All of the houses and bridge shown in this picture were relocated to this Sankei-en garden as a portion of his fine collection of Japanese historic buildings.

The slanting sun of late afternoon was brightening up the needles of pine trees finely.

October 7, 2013

Before dusk at Yuiga-hama beach (Kamakura)

Just before the dusk arrives here, the low silver clouds illuminated by the sinking sun are drifting smoothly in the darkish blue sky.

The soft sound of the waves is heard perpetually like the breathing of the calm sea which is spreading out endlessly before me.

In that afternoon at Yuiga-hama beach (Kamakura)

In the dazzling afternoon sun, the magic of the sea reminds us of the forgotten memories of our innocent infancy.

The waving surface of the sea is sparkling brightly in sunlight as if to let us realize the true joy of life once again.

Sunset at Yuiga-hama beach (Kamakura)

A sea crow has glided past high in the amber evening sky.

Like this solitary seabird that flied away in the twinkling of an eye, we all live in a fleeting moment in eternity.

White Higanbana (Lycoris radiata) flowers in Engaku-ji

The Byakuro-chi (white heron pond) of Engaku-ji

Higanbana (Lycoris radiata) flowers in Tokei-ji

Hagi (Lespedeza) flowers in Kencho-ji

The bamboo grove of Kencho-ji

The berries of Murasaki-shikibu (Callicarpa japonica) in Engaku-ji

A Kiageha (Papilio machaon)butterfly and HIganbana (Lycoris radiata) flowers in Tokei-ji

September 14, 2013

A Tsumagurohyomon (Argyreus hyperbius) butterfly (female) in Kita-kamakura

In the lucid sunlight of September which brightens up the beauty of this world, a radiantly colored butterfly is sucking nectar from a thistle flower wholeheartedly.

While gently fluttering from flower to flower, this fragile butterfly lives her short life without any doubt as if she knew her own fate.

Autumn has just arrived here and begun to deepen gradually. When this brilliant butterfly disappears from view, the colorful flowers and leaves of autumn will again appear one after another in the quiet gardens of Zen.

A Tsumagurohyomon (Argyreus hyperbius)butterfly (female) in Kita-kamakura

Hagi (Lespedeza) flowers in Chojyu-ji

The loud singing of countless cicadas has already faded away and the blazing sunshine of high summer has secretly changed into the transparent and cool sunlight of early autumn.

The subtle fineness and nuances of colors and light are recovering slowly but steadily in the garden where a refreshing air is swaying green leaves gently.

Kashiwaba-ajisai (Hydrangea quercifolia)leaves in Kita-kamakura

Flaming autumnal colors are stealthily sneaking up to the gardens where the dazzling greenness of summer reigned a moment ago.

The pond of Engaku-ji

In the bracing breeze of early autumn, the reflection of a large weathered rock is being rippled faintly on the calm water surface of Myoko-ike ("the pond of sweet aroma").

On the water surface which is subtly waving, the mirrored figure of this solid rock is fluidly transforming without cease.

Whether or not we know it, everything is changing forever like the rock on the water.

A Fuyo (Hibiscus mutabilis)flower in Engaku-ji

Just after a light rainfall, the thin petals of a Fuyo flower were adorned with the glittering drops of rain.

A grove in Tokei-ji

The tiled roof of Jochi-ji

The silver gray tiles of the Buddha hall are shining brightly in the liquid sunlight of the azure autumn sky.

The sphere on the apex of the roof is called "Nyoi-hojyu" (the precious orb which grants all our wishes).

This precious orb symbolizes the sublime mercy of Buddha which can realize every earnest wish of all living things and save them from perpetual suffering.

A Cosmos flower in Tokei-ji

A bamboo grove in Tokei-ji

A Ichimonji-seseri (Parnara guttata) butterfly in Tokeri-ji

August 23, 2013

A bamboo grove in Jochi-ji

Through the seasons changing unceasingly, a bamboo grove keeps on growing with single-hearted devotion like an awakened sage who knows the true meaning of life.

The whole body of a bamboo grove is really an individual living organism. One bamboo seedling grows into a dense grove by steadily spreading its subterranean stems and sprouting bamboo shoots one after another.

In the sweltering heat of this high summer, the vital force of living things is shining brilliantly in front of my eyes.