April 21, 2013

Haru-botan (spring peony) flowers in Kencho-ji

In the true height of spring, the magnificent flowers of Haru-botan are blooming in a dignified manner as the queen of flowers in the clear and brilliant sun.

Their thin elegant petals seem to be made of finest sheer silk and the transient splendor of these flowers fades as rapidly as every earthly glory.

After this short blooming season of spring peony, the long spell of rainy weather will approach here to suggest that summer is almost upon us.

Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers in Engaku-ji

The white small flower of Shaga is one of the most typical wild flowers of spring in Kita-kamakura.

Shaga flowers bloom one after another in almost every short bush to announce the climax of spring together with the sweet songs of bush warblers.

The thin petals of this flower are illuminated brightly by the soft ray of sunshine which is falling through the flowering bush.

Tsubaki (Camellia japonica) flowers in Engaku-ji

This kind of Tsubaki is usually called "Kamakura Shibori." The word "Shibori" of this name originates in the traditional tie-dyeing of fabric and stands for a tie-dyeing-like spotted pattern on a flower petal.

Like cute little girls wearing flowery tie-dyed kimonos, these gorgeous bicolored flowers are lending an innocent and cheerful charm to the bright but quiet garden of spring.

The decoration for Hana-matsuri (the anniversary of the birth of Buddha) in Tokei-ji

As one Buddhist practice of Japan, on April 8, the "Hana-matsuri" (flower festival), which is also called "Kan-butsu-e" (the festival of bathing the new-born Buddha), is performed in almost all Buddhist temples for celebrating the birthday of Buddha.

A tiny shrine called "Hana-mido" (flower shrine) is provided and is decorated with various beautiful flowers. A small basin called "Kan-butsu-oke" (the tub for bathing Buddha) is put in this Hana-mido shrine and filled with "Ama-cha" (sweet hydrangea tea). Inside this Kan-butsu-oke, the image of the newborn Buddha is placed and the worshipers pour Ama-cha tea onto this Buddha's image with a "Hishaku" (scoop) for celebrating his birthday. 

This practice of pouring Ama-cha is derived from the legend that the nine dragons of heaven poured pure and clean rainwater onto the newborn Buddha to give him a his first bath.

This newborn Buddha is standing in his symbolic pose in which he is declaring that he is his own Lord throughout heaven and earth (Tenjyo-tenge-yuigadokuson) by pointing his finger at heaven and earth.

New Momiji (maple) leaves in Tokei-ji

The bright sunlight of spring is shining through the branches of trees to light up the vivid green of the new leaves in the grove.

When next late autumn arrives, these green leaves of maple take on flamboyant reds and yellows to mark their finale splendidly.

Tsutsuji (azalea) flowers in Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

The long entrance path to Tsurugaoka-hachiman Shrine is decorated brilliantly with the innumerable colorful flowers of Tsutsuji which have just come into full bloom all at once.

A blue-heron in Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

A blue heron is standing still in deep silence on the watch for a prey in the water.

The passage of time has been stopped in this eternal moment.

A Haru-botan (spring peony) flower in Kencho-ji

A flower falls too soon and time flies too fast in this life.

This magnificent flower should know the truth and will begin to wither away rapidly just after it comes into full bloom.

Hananira (Ipheion uniflorum Ipheion) flowers in Kita-kamakura

In the low bush beside the small stream, I found this exquisite still life composed of the green weeds, the small white flowers and the mellow light of spring.

A Haru-botan (spring peony) flower in Kencho-ji

Yae-zakura (Prunus lannesiana Prunus) flowers in Kencho-ji

Haru-botan (spring peony) flowers in Engaku-ji

April 12, 2013

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) flowers in Genji-yama

The period when the Sakura trees are in flower is very short.

Their white flowers bloom elegantly in the air all at once like bright fleecy clouds and flutter down all too soon like snowflakes of spring in the gentle wind.

The charming but fleeting spectacle of Sakura flowers is the essence of this season of growing and always make us feel the transience of life and the swift turning of the seasons.

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) flowers in Genji-yama

The pure-white flowers of Sakura are shining brightly in the deep blue sky.

In the same manner as these full-brown flowers, I will also heartily rejoice in the golden days of spring.

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) flowers in Kita-kamakura

On the woody hillside of Kita-kamakura, together with the fresh green leaves, the blooming flowers of Yama-zakura are making up an especially colorful mosaic which can only be seen in this delightful season.

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) flowers in Kita-kamakura

In the balmy sunshine of April, the temples of Engaku-ji are nestling quietly in the green hillside which is exquisitely adorned with the flowers of Yama-zakura and the new leaves of mid-spring.

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) flowers in Kita-kamakura

In the bright but mild sun of spring, the gentle hillsides of Kita-kamakura are delicately colored like a pastel landscape by the countless young leaves and full-blown flowers appearing in quick succession.

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) flowers in Engaku-ji

Like unseasonal white snow in the warm spring sunshine, the flowers of Yama-zakura are shining brightly in the woods behind the silvery tiled roofs.

Sakura (Prunus × yedoensis) flowers in Kencho-ji

The pale pinkish flowers of Sakura are at their best in front of the old temple gate and overwhelm visitors with their stunning beauty.

Sakura (Prunus × yedoensis) flowers in Engaku-ji

When I saw these delicate petals of Sakura on the cloudy day in the cherry blossom season, they seemed so fragile that they were about to be scattered suddenly even in a puff of the slightest breeze.

Sakura (Prunus × yedoensis) flowers in Kencho-ji

The flowers of Sakura are in full bloom in the height of their season as if to remain splendid eternally.

The magenta flowers of magnolia behind this Sakura tree are also at their best and are enhancing the beauty of this precious blooming season.

April 2, 2013

The flowers of Hana-kaido (Malus halliana) in Kaizo-ji

In Kita-kamakura, April is the very month when various colorful flowers and fresh young leaves appear suddenly with one accord.

Every garden becomes full of life and joy below the bright sun in the middle of spring.

These endearing flowers of Hana-kaido seem to silently tell me a story of joy about their blooming with beauty in this wonderful season of flowering.

Bamboo trees in Kencho-ji

The fresh green leaves and stems of bamboo are growing skyward vigorously in the golden spring sunlight.

The subtle hues and gradations of green of these bamboo trees are revealing the fresh and austere beauty peculiar to this lively season.

The flowers of Boke (Chaenomeles speciosa) in Engaku-ji

The crimson and pink flowers of Boke are blooming in a string like a gorgeous floral wreath of spring.

The vivid colors of living things are surely beginning to come to life again in the sunny gardens where the twitters of birds sound merrily.

The flowers of Mitsumata (Edgeworthia chrysantha) in Engaku-ji

The flowers of Mitsumata are floating in the air like an enormous number of small bouquets of yellow.

These brightly colored flowers proclaim the approach of spring first of all and disappear quietly in the height of this flowering season.

The flowers of Kawazu-zakura (Cerasus lannesiana Carrière, 1872 'Kawazu-zakura') in Engaku-ji

Basking in the warm spring sunshine, the pale pink flowers and fresh leaves of Kawazu-zakura are shining brilliantly.

The dark shade of the eaves of the small shrine is relieving this moment of beauty strikingly.

The flowers of Kibushi (Stachyurus praecox) in Engaku-ji

The austere green flowers of Kibushi, which look like the strings of Buddhist prayer beads, are hanging down from the thin branches and swinging slowly in the mild spring breeze.

These odd but elegant flowers make me feel that the climax of spring is close at hand now.

The flowers of Yama-zakura (Cerasus jamasakura) in Genji-yama

The pure white flowers of Yama-zakura ("mountain sakura") have just started blooming to gracefully ornament the low hills of Kita-kamakura where fresh green leaves are coming out rapidly one after another.

Unlike a Yoshino cherry which is the most common cherry in Japan, the new leaves of a Yama-zakura appear in concurrence with flowering and adorn the white flowers with their dazzling green.

The background of this scene is embellished by the vivid red of the late-blooming Tsubaki flowers.

The flower of Otome-tsubaki (Camellia japonica f. otome) in Engaku-ji

It is difficult to find an intact flower of late-blooming Tsubaki because its petals fade very quickly in the warmth of spring.

Beauty fades fast. The flowers of Tsubaki bodily throw themselves down off the branches without being scattered as if to avoid being seen withering shabbily.

The flowers of Haku-mokuren (Magnolia heptapeta) in Engaku-ji

The large white flowers of Haku-mokuren are blooming delightedly high up in the blue sky.

These gorgeous flowers open all at once as a clear sign of the coming of spring and gracefully vanish from view almost a week after that.

The flowers of Yamabuki (Kerria japonica) in Engaku-ji

The vivid golden yellow of Yamabuki flowers suddenly arrested my eyes in the quiet garden.

These flowers are said to bloom in late spring. Although we should be just now in the height of spring, these flowers may notify beforehand that this beautiful season will end soon.

The flowers and new leaves of Momiji (Acer japonicum) in Engaku-ji

The small red flowers and bright green leaves of Momiji are be in harmony with the pleasant stillness and austere beauty of the small grove of spring. 

These palm-shaped leaves will take on reds and yellows flamboyantly when winter approaches this grove.