May 30, 2014

Suiren (water lily) flower: Kita-kamakura

The colorful flowers of spring, which once dominated this world entirely, have vanished away almost completely.

The gentle hills of Kita-kamakura are thickly covered with rich green of lively trees and plants.

Insects and birds are moving about hurriedly to prepare for the approaching of the rainy season.

The migratory birds of summer are now arriving here from the south.
Their sweet songs of courting can be heard here and there in the fragrant air of the jade green hills.

Again this year, water lily flowers bloomed on the water surface of a small basin in my garden.

Bamboo grove: Jochi-ji

A bamboo tree grows up rapidly at the speed of one joint per day in its full-scale growth period.

In the bright sun of May, the thin straight bodies and shiny green blades of bamboo trees give me the impression of esoteric life force, especially when the gentle wind keeps swaying them lightly to make a pleasant quiet sound.

Siran (Bletilla striata Reichb. fil.) flowers: Engaku-ji

In the grassy place of the garden where various joyful twitters of birds are heard, the light purple flowers of Shiran are maidenly blooming shoulder to shoulder like the flower sprites of this garden.

Jizo bosatsu: Tokei-ji

Bamboo grove: Eisho-ji

Botan (peony) flower: Kencho-ji

Fern leaves: Kaizo-ji

Maruba-utsugi (Deutzia scabra) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Garden: Kaizo-ji

May 16, 2014

Botan (Paeonia suffruticosa) Flowers: Engaku-ji

The vital force of spring has already reached its climax and the sky and the earth have begun to become full of every conceivable living creature.

In the bright but mild sun of this particular season, spring Botan flowers are blooming gorgeously like royalty in the quiet gardens which are richly greened with various trees and plants.

Soon these silky flowers will disappear from sight and an early forerunner of the rainy season will arrive here stealthily.  

Bamboo grove: Jochi-ji

Basking in the bright sun, bamboo trees are growing abundantly towards the sky.

Botan (Paeonia suffruticosa) Flowers: Kencho-ji

Spring bees visited the pure white flowers of Botan to collect floral nectar and sprinkled gold-dust pollen on the thin flower petals.

Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers: Jochi-ji

In the leafy shade of the garden, Shaga flowers are blooming modestly as if to enjoy the blessings of spring quietly.

Although I cannot hear it, these delicate flowers must be softly singing their songs of joy together.

Spring garden: Kaizo-ji

I found a garden of assorted beauties of spring.

Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers: Jochi-ji

Seiyo-jyunihitoe (Ajuga reptans) flowers: Tokei-ji

Shakunage (Rhododendron) flowers: Engaku-ji

Spring grove: Tokei-ji

These beautiful gradations of fresh green can only be seen in this time of year when the new leaves come out in abundance.

May 3, 2014

Hana-matsuri (the anniversary of the birth of Buddha): Tokei-ji

In Japan, on April 8, the "Hana-matsuri" (flower festival) is held in Buddhist temples for celebrating the birthday of Buddha.

In the tiny shrine called "Hana-mido" (flower shrine) decorated with beautiful flowers, a small basin, which is called "Kan-butsu-oke" (the tub for bathing Buddha), is filled with "Ama-cha" (sweet hydrangea tea). A small image of the newborn Buddha is placed in this basin and, after sutra-chanting, monks and worshipers pour "Ama-cha" tea onto the Buddha's image with a "Hishaku" (scoop) to celebrate his birthday.

This ritual of pouring sweet tea is based on the legend that the nine dragons of heaven poured pure rainwater onto the newborn Buddha to bless him.

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

Shidare-zakura (Prunus pendula f. pendula.) blossoms: Tokei-ji

The pale pink blossoms of a weeping cherry tree are floating motionlessly over the moss-covered gate to the tea house.

Otome-tsubaki (Camellia japonica) flowers: Kencho-ji

Yama-zakura (Cerasus jamasakura) blossoms: Kita-kamakura

Like monks in silent meditation, the buildings of Engaku-ji are standing still in the thick grove on the wooded hill, which is finely colored by the blossoms of Yama-zakura and the young leaves of spring.

Yama-zakura (Cerasus jamasakura) blossoms: Kita-kamakura

Shidare-zakura (Prunus pendula f. pendula.) blossoms: Tokei-ji

Yama-zakura (Cerasus jamasakura) blossoms; Kita-kamakura

The white blossoms of an aged Yama-zakura tree are blooming in full glory on the sunny steep hillside.

The vivid reddish brown of the new leaves, which grow together with the blossoms, are coloring the full-blown white blossoms exquisitely.

White heron: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

The fallen petals of cherry blossoms are afloat quietly on the faintly rippled surface of the pond.

A snowy heron is perching still on the wooden post, gazing at the water surface to hunt her prey.

Yama-zakura (Cerasus jamasakura) blossoms: Kita-kamakura

In the mild spring sunlight, a colorful mosaic of innumerable blossoms and leaves is seen over the hillsides of Kita-kamakura.

Sakura (Japanese cherry) blossoms: Tokei-ji

Mitsumata (Edgeworthia chrysantha) flowers: Kencho-ji

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) blossoms: Kencho-ji