January 27, 2013

The remaining snow in Kencho-ji

The remaining silvery snow, which deepens the pure quietness of this wintry pond garden, is melting away gradually in the pale sun of this season of decay.

Like an awakened mind, the smooth surface of the pond always remains unchanged and unmoved in the ceaseless turning of the seasons.

The frozen pond in Engaku-ji

The deep monochrome stillness settled over the empty garden after the sudden snowfall.

The flow of time vanished away in this frozen place.

Robai (Chimonanthus praecox) flowers in Engaku-ji

In the nearly colorless garden covered with lingering snow, the vivid yellow flowers of Robai are in full bloom and are diffusing an enticing pleasant aroma into the frosty air.

Robai begins to bloom early in January and comforts us with its noble and fragrant flowers in this flowerless season.

The name "Robai" comes from the figure of its flower which appears to be made of beeswax and resembles the flower of Ume (Japanese apricot).

The remaining snow in Engaku-ji

There was still snow on the shingled roof of the Shari-den (the temple for Buddha's bones).

The pure whiteness of the unmelted snow seemed to convey the souls of the trainee monks who were devotedly continuing their ascetic practices in this small temple.

The remaining snow in Engaku-ji

The remaining snow in Engaku-ji

January 14, 2013

Fuyu-botan (winter peony) flowers in Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

In the depth of winter, the snow-white flowers of winter peony are blooming exquisitely within the straw enclosure which protects these delicate flowers from the biting coldness of January.

Normally Japanese tree peony blossoms gorgeously in May and its magnificent flowers herald the arrival of summer to us.

Winter peony flowers are artificially bloomed with the painstaking cultivation work of years.

These precious flowers are showed as a good luck charm to the New Year's visitors to a temple or shrine who pray for the happiness and prosperity of the new year.

Fuyu-botan (winter peony) flowers in Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

The marbled crimson petals of the flowers are shining softly like fine, flamboyant silk in the pale sunlight of winter.

In classic Chinese poems, the beauty of a peony flower is compared to that of Yang Guifei, who was a woman of peerless beauty for whom an emperor of the Tang dynasty neglected his realm.

The winter sky at Yuiga-hama beach

In the dim beam of the winter sun falling through the thick, bluish-gray clouds, the dark surface of the sea is stirring calmly like one massive creature breathing gently in its long winter sleep.

Fuyu-botan (winter peony) flowers in Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

The hand-woven straw enclosure protects the silky and delicate flowers of winter peony against the snow, frost and cold of this severe season.

A Fuyu-botan (winter peony) flower in Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

A pale-purple flower of peony is gracefully bathed in the soft rays from the afternoon sun which is already getting low in the ash-colored sky.

The winter sky at Yuiga-hama beach

In the slate gray of late afternoon, waves are lapping the sand slowly.

The chilly air of deep melancholy is hovering about this empty beach to present us with the stillness of solitude.

Fuyu-botan (winter peony) flowers in Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Fuyu-botan (winter peony) flowers in Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

January 3, 2013

Manryo (Ardisia crenata Sims) fruit and fern leaves in Jochi-ji

In the wintry garden covered with fallen leaves, the crimson fruit of Manryo and the evergreen fern leaves have grown in the hollows of the decaying stump.

The seasons are turning continually and the wheel of life is rotating without stopping.

May the year of 2013 bring all living things a lot of happiness and joys.

Autumn leaves in Jochi-ji

The faded autumn leaves, which will be scattered soon in the chilly winds, are gleaming flickeringly in the weak winter sun.

Soon these vivid colors, which have delighted the eye until now, will almost disappear from view and the colorless winter will dominate the gardens of Zen totally.

These beautiful leaves will gradually turn to fertile soil, on which many and various living things will grow and bloom when spring returns.

Fern leaves in Jochi-ji

The leaves of autumnal colors are peacefully resting on the feather-like fern leaves before falling to the ground.

Autumn leaves in Tokei-ji

Lit up by a ray of clear sunlight passing through the branches, the golden autumn leaves are glittering quietly in the gloomy grove where the signs of winter grow more noticeable.

Fallen leaves in Jochi-ji

Like the afterglow of the passing but beautiful season, the fallen leaves of gold and crimson are scattered all over the secret path in the empty garden.

The flower buds of Mitsumata in Tokei-ji

The flower buds of Mitsumata are growing steadily in the cold winter garden, which is covered with many fallen leaves.

Early in March, Mitsumata flowers begin to bloom at the very first as if to wait impatiently for spring and announce the arrival of this long-expected season to us.

Autumn leaves in Genji-yama park

In the depth of the shadowy grove, the colored leaves bathed in the gentle sunlight are glowing brightly like dancing flames.