August 25, 2019

Kamakura Great Buddha: Kotoku-in temple, Hase

Kamakura Great Buddha: Kotoku-in temple, Hase


As a seasonal event for adorning the end of summer, the colossal bronze statue of Buddha is lit up at night during the final week of August.

Being illuminated by the golden light, the Great Buddha is shining gloriously in the evening darkness, which makes me see the vision of its solemn gilded figure in far distant past. A lot of lamps which symbolize lotus flowers and sacred lights are twinkling gently on the approach to the Buddha.

The sea breeze from the nearby beach is surrounding me. In the calm voice of this warm breeze, I hear the silent prayers whispered by an untold number of past people for salvation.

(Please refer to the link destination, "the Great Buddha and Kotoku-in.")


Kamakura Great Buddha: Kotoku-in temple, Hase

Kamakura Great Buddha: Kotokuin temple, Hase


The Great Buddha of Kamakura is the seated image of Amitabha Buddha. In Buddhism, Amitabha or Amida Nyorai is the supreme deity who has infinite light of wisdom and measureless life to save all people from spiritual darkness and suffering in this transient world.

He is present in the Pure Land in the West and descends from there to greet the souls of the dead and lead them to his pure land.

The worshipers of the Pure Land sect of Buddhism have believed that they can certainly cross over into the Western Paradise after death by continuing to chant "Namu-amidabutu" ("I sincerely believe in Amitabha Buddha") wholeheartedly in this harsh earthly world.


Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji

Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji


According to the Flower Garland Sutra of Buddhism, countless lotus flowers adorn and envelop the pure land where Rushanabutsu (the central deity shining on the whole universe) is sitting. The infinite light of wisdom emitted by this shining one illuminates living things all over the universe to lead them to spiritual enlightenment.

The bright sunlight of the midday sun is making this flower shine radiantly as if a small shining deity inside this flower were emitting the limitless light of wisdom and truth to the world.


Kamakura Great Buddha: Kotoku-in temple, Hase

Kamakura Great Buddha: Kotoku-in temple, Hase

Fuyo (Hibiscus mutabilis) flowers: Eisho-ji

Fuyo (Hibiscus mutabilis) flowers: Eisho-ji

Tsumaguro-Hyoumon (Argyreus hyperbius) butterfly (female): Kita-kamakura

Tsumaguro-Hyoumon (Argyreus hyperbius) butterfly (female): Kita-kamakura

Kanoko-yuri (Lilium speciosum) flowers: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Kanoko-yuri (Lilium speciosum) flowers: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Cast‐off shell of a cicada: Engaku-ji

Cast‐off shell of a cicada_Engaku-ji

Sacred lotus flowers: Kaizo-ji

Sacred lotus flowers: Kaizo-ji

Stone images of Kannon Bosatsu; Engaku-ji

Stone images of Kannon Bosatsu; Engaku-ji

Summer clouds: Yuigahama-beach

Summer clouds: Yuigahama-beach


July 31, 2019

Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji

Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji


During the brief period of only four days, the flower of sacred lotus opens quietly, comes into full bloom splendidly, and then falls apart in just one breath of air.

In the bright glaring sunlight of midsummer, I found a lotus flower which had already finished its role in life and passed its best time of bloom.

Its golden stamens were drooping gracefully around the pollinated receptacle. The bright magenta petals had begun bending gradually, waiting for the time to be scattered in the summer gentle breeze without losing their dignity.


Blue heron: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Blue heron: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu


On the wooden floating bridge lying on the pond, a blue heron is standing still, gazing fixedly at the water surface in search of prey.

The thick green leaves of sacred lotus are flourishing vigorously and covering the water surface almost thoroughly.

Just like the ardent voice emitted by the dazzling sun of high summer, the lively chirping of cicadas is continuing to sound over the pond endlessly.


Summer blue sky: Tsurugaoka-hachimanbu

Summer blue sky: Tsurugaoka-hachimanbu


Summer rainy season had already passed by without a trace. The countless colorful flowers of Ajisai had vanished completely like a fleeting illusion which the rainy sky had let me see.

Now the intense sunlight of midsummer is blazing on oppressively to erase the faintest memories of long rain from the summer sky.

Lush green trees and plants are thirstily absorbing strong sunlight to continue their robust growth with rapture. The rows of solid-white cirrocumulus clouds are firmly suspended in the true blue sky high above me.


Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji

Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji


By the side of the Karamon (Chinese gate) of this old Zen temple, a white silky lotus flower is blooming in a modest and noble manner in the beaming sun of high summer.

A flower of sacred lotus patiently comes up to the surface of muddy water and opens in an untainted and pure figure in the rising sun.

Because of this, in the teachings of Buddha, a lotus flower is regarded as a blessed symbol of the infinite wisdom and compassion which Buddha gives us.


Lily flowers: Engaku-ji

Lily flowers: Engaku-ji

Stone image of Kannon Bosatsu: Engaku-ji

Stone image of Kannon Bosatsu: Engaku-ji

Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji

Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji

Water lily flowers: Kaizo-ji

Water lily flowers: Kaizo-ji

Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji

Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji

Nouzen-kazura (Campsis grandiflora) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Nozen-kazura (Campsis grandiflora) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji

Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji

July 11, 2019

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers: Kita-kamakura


The colorful flower of Ajisai is one of the most precious gifts from this summer rainy season in Kita-kamakura.

The hazy sunlight falls down from the cloudy sky and softly enhances the subtle mixtures and gradations of various colors which Ajisai flowers present.

The humid warm air after a short rainfall lightly moistens the petals and leaves to try to keep them fresh and glossy against the swift passage of time.


Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers: Kita-kamakura


In the long spell of rainy weather, the flowers of Ajisai bloom vigorously one after another and continue changing their colors with the aid of the enigmatic chemistry between rain and soil. 

As rainwater flows into their ornamental petals, the variations and shades of colors spread gradually on the surface of the petals like the pale watercolors for a painting of rain.


Gaku-ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla f. normalis) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Gaku-ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla f. normalis) flowers: Kaizo-ji


After the long rain, the patches of blue sky have just appeared through breaks in the thick clouds unexpectedly.

The vivid blue flowers of Ajisai are shining brightly in the momentary summer sun to let me remind that dazzling high summer will soon arrive and dominate here in company with the unclouded deep azure sky.


Gaku-ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla f. normalis) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Gaku-ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla f. normalis) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Gaku-ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla f. normalis) flowers: Engaku-ji

Gaku-ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla f. normalis) flowers: Engaku-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers: Chojyu-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers: Chojyu-ji

Gaku-ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla f. normalis) flowers: Engaku-ji

Gaku-ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla f. normalis) flowers: Engaku-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers: Chojyu-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers: Chojyu-ji

June 20, 2019

Iwatabako (Conandron ramondioides) flowers: Tokei-ji

Iwatabako (Conandron ramondioides) flowers: Tokei-ji


The summer rainy season has just arrived here to bring abundant merciful rainwater for further fertilizing all living things which continue growing vigorously now. Plants are flourishing steadily and increasing their bright greenness as if to show an ambition to fully cover this world with their shades of green.

On the moist rock face, where moss and fern grow densely, countless lively leaves of Iwatabako spread thickly. Its star-shaped violet flowers protrude quietly one after another from beneath these shiny leaves to greet the rainy season of growth graciously.


Kaiu (arum lily) and Kakitsubata (Iris laevigata) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Kaiu (arum lily) and Kakitsubata (Iris laevigata) flowers:  Kaizo-ji


Rain clouds are starting to gather thick above this garden.

At the water's edge of the quiet pond, the white silky flowers of calla and iris are blooming secretly without being noticed.

The gentle sunlight is descending from the cloudy sky and is caressing these dainty flowers tenderly before it starts raining.


Iwatabako (Conandron ramondioides) flowers: Tokei-ji

Iwatabako (Conandron ramondioides) flowers: Tokei-ji


The flowering period of each Iwatabako flower is only three or four days.

This little pentagram flower falls without scattering and lies on the wet ground in its flowering figure like a violet shooting star which has just fallen to the earth.

In the woods where summer birds are singing merrily, the flowers of Iwatabako are timidly gazing at me from the high rock face and I feel as if that I heard their secret whispering about the beauty and mystery of our universe.



Iwagarami (Schizophragma hydrangeoides) flowers: Tokei-ji

Iwagarami (Schizophragma hydrangeoides) flowers: Tokei-ji


The interlacing stems and branches of Iwagarami are clinging on the rough rock face behind the Buddha hall of this temple. Its numberless small flowers are blooming modestly in the green‐hued shade to fulfill their own duties for life and growth devotedly.

The pure-white ornamental flower, which resembles a single teardrop petal, is decorating the cluster of cream-colored flowers and is reflecting the pale sunlight from the overcast sky like a clear mirror to notify insects of the inconspicuous flowers.

Garden pond: Kaizo-ji

Garden pond: Kaizo-ji

Ajisai (Japanese hydrangea) flowers: Engaku-ji

Ajisai (Japanese hydrangea) flowers: Engaku-ji

Bamboo grove: Jochi-ji


Bamboo grove: Jochi-ji

Ayame (Iris sanguinea) flowers: Tokei-ji

Ayame (Iris sanguinea) flowers: Tokei-ji

Ajisai (Japanese hydrangea) flowers: Chojyu-ji

Ajisai (Japanese hydrangea) flowers: Chojyu-ji

Baika-utugi (Philadelphus satsumi) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Baikautugi (Philadelphus satsumi) flowers: Kaizo-ji

May 28, 2019

Waterlily Pond: Ofuna Botanical Garden (Kamakura)

Waterlily Pond: Ofuna Botanical Garden (Kamakura)


Bathed in the bright liquid sun, the pure white flowers and blue-green leaves of Suiren (waterlily) are quietly floating on the surface of the tranquil pond as if to be filled with joy in the inconspicuous beginning of summer.

The ever-changing reflection of the deep blue sky, the violet flowers, and the fresh green leaves is softly glinting on the rippled water.

The subtle and endless transition of sunlight, colors, and shades composes a piece of silent water music for this waterlily pond, which continues flowing harmoniously at an eternal moment here.

(As an homage to Claude Monet)



Rose garden: Ofuna Botanical garden (Kamakura)

Rose garden: Ofuna Botanical garden (Kamakura)


Summer has begun advancing steadily, bringing the dazzling sunlight from the blue sky and the bracing wind through fresh green treetops. All living things are vigorously growing to fleetly release all their life-force stored before now.

In this peaceful rose garden, numberless flowers of various colors are blooming with all their might and are jubilantly competing with each other for splendor and aroma.

Like these colorful roses which are in all their glory before my eyes, every flower of each season blooms finely to show the hidden signs and wonders of our evermoving universe.


(Additional photographs of the rose garden are uploaded to my another photoblog, "Like floating clouds and flowing streams.")


Shakuyaku (Paeonia lactiflora) flowers: Ofuna Botanical Garden (Kamakura)

Shakuyaku (Paeonia lactiflora) flowers: Ofuna Botanical Garden (Kamakura)


These Chinese peony flowers in full bloom made me recall the picture entitled "Peony Garden" painted by Monet (owned by National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo).



Utsugi (Deutzia crenata) flowers and Komisuji (Neptis sappho) butterfly: Engaku-ji

Utsugi (Deutzia crenata) flowers and Komisuji (Neptis sappho) butterfly: Engaku-ji


In the secret grassy garden, where birds are warbling delightedly in the grove, I saw a small butterfly with three-striped black wings gently fluttering around the tiny white flowers to seek the floral nectar they give.



Hakuunboku (Styrax obassia) flowers: Engaku-ji

Hakuunboku (Styrax obassia) flowers: Engaku-ji


The elongated flower cluster formed from the separate white flowers open in succession appears like a snow-white cloud floating in the sky, which is the origin of the Japanese given-name "Haku-un-boku" (white cloud tree) of this kind of tree.



Peony flower: Kita-kamakura (my garden)

Peony flower: Kita-kamakura (my garden)

Shaga (Iris japonica) Flowers: Engaku-ji

Shaga (Iris japonica) Flowers: Engaku-ji