May 24, 2022

Botan (peony) flowers: Kencho-ji

Botan (peony) flowers: Kencho-ji


The magnificent flowers of peonies, which are the typical flowers that adorn the gardens with brilliant colors in the latter half of spring, are in full bloom as if to compete against each other for their grace and dignity in their realm.

The peony is a flowering tree native to China, and its noble flowers have been highly praised as the king of flowers there.

The peony is believed to have been introduced into Japan from China during the Nara period (710-794), but according to one theory, it was first brought to Japan as a medicinal plant by Kukai (Kobo Daishi), who was an Japanese envoy sent to the Tang Dynasty and later founded the esoteric Shingon school of Buddhism in Japan during the Heian period (794-1185).

Each of these flowers continues blooming for only a few days, and then their thin fragile petals, which look like luxurious silk crepes, rapidly loose their moisture and fall off one by one as if to narrate the ruin of royalty.


Botan (peony) flowers: Kencho-ji

Botan (peony) flowers: Kencho-ji

 

Botan (peony) flowers: Kencho-ji

Botan (peony) flowers: Kencho-ji

 

Botan (peony) flowers: Kencho-ji

Botan (peony) flowers: Kencho-ji

 

Botan (peony) flowers: Kencho-ji

Botan (peony) flowers: Kencho-ji

 

Kakitsubata (iris) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Kakitsubata (iris) flowers: Kaizo-ji

 

Sekkoku (Dendrobium herb) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Sekkoku (Dendrobium herb) flowers: Kaizo-ji

 

Kakitsubata (iris) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Kakitsubata (iris) flowers: Kaizo-ji

 

Kaede (maple) tree: Kaizo-ji

Kaede (maple) tree: Kaizo-ji

 

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

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

 

Water lily flowers: Ofuna Flower Center (Kamakura)

Water lily flowers: Ofuna Flower Center (Kamakura)

 

Water lily flowers: Ofuna Flower Center (Kamakura)

Water lily flowers: Ofuna Flower Center (Kamakura)

 

Fuji (Japanese wisteria) flowers: Ofuna Flower Center (Kamakura)

Fuji (Japanese wisteria) flowers: Ofuna Flower Center (Kamakura)

 

Fuji (Japanese wisteria) flowers: Ofuna Flower Center (Kamakura)

Fuji (Japanese wisteria) flowers: Ofuna Flower Center (Kamakura)

 

Fuji (Japanese wisteria) flowers: Ofuna Flower Center (Kamakura)

Fuji (Japanese wisteria) flowers: Ofuna Flower Center (Kamakura)

 

Fuji (Japanese wisteria) flowers: Ofuna Flower Center (Kamakura)

Fuji (Japanese wisteria) flowers: Ofuna Flower Center (Kamakura)

 

May 7, 2022

Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Kaizo-ji


Enticed by a flood of blazing colors in the spring sun, I wandered into the humble garden of this old temple and found the old tree of Kaido bearing countless rose-red flowers.

As if to try to inherit the principal role in spring flowers from the gradually declining flowers of Sakura, the Kaido flowers drooping from the slender twigs were in full bloom and were decorating the tranquil garden in such a way as to put rouge on its cheeks.

Kaido is a flowering tree of rose family native to China, and the Chinese people have highly praised its flowers of maidenly grace since very remote times. 

This flower is sometimes called "the broken heart flower" there, according to the ancient legend that, when a girl was forcibly separated from her lover and cried out longing for him, the beautiful rose-red flowers of Kaido appeared in the place where her tears of blood had dripped.



Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Kaizo-ji


The combination of the rosy shades of the flower petals and the vivid green of the new leaves causes the exquisite elegance of these Kaido flowers in the gentle spring sun.

At the tip of the crimson floral axes extending from the slender branches, these bewitching flowers are hanging their heads low like taking a long afternoon nap.

They seem to keep sleeping gracefully like Empress Yang Kuei-Fei of the Tang dynasty who is known as the legendary lady of unmatched beauty in China. She became tipsy and felt into a doze in the peaceful palace garden before the eyes of Emperor Xuan Zong who was deeply enchanted by her.


Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Kaizo-ji


These graceful flowers will soon scatter and vanish completely in the rapid flow of the seasons. The long-awaited flowers of each season bloom for a short period of time and quickly fade away without clinging to the branches. 

In many cases, like Sakura or Ume flowers, as soon as flowers fall altogether, fresh green leaves emerge in a great hurry as if to wipe out the remains of the flowers, which lets me forget the delightful memory that the entrancing flowers were once in full bloom.

Although I know that such is the way of this very transitory world, the swift passage of the seasons often brings on the subtle feeling of melancholy and loss, especially in spring.


Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Kaizo-ji

 

Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers: Kencho-ji

Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers: Kencho-ji

 

Fuji (wisteria) flowers: Engaku-ji

Fuji (wisteria) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Sekkoku (Dendrobium herb) flowers: Engaku-ji

Sekkoku (Dendrobium herb) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Shakunage (rhododendron) and Tsutsuji (azalea) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Shakunage (rhododendron) and Tsutsuji (azalea) flowers: Kaizo-ji

 

Shakunage (rhododendron), Tsutsuji (azalea) and Yamabuki (Kerria japonica) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Shakunage (rhododendron), Tsutsuji (azalea) and Yamabuki (Kerria japonica) flowers: Kaizo-ji



 

Fuji (Japanese wisteria) and Oodemari (Viburnum plicatum) flowers: Engaku-ji

Fuji (Japanese wisteria) and Oodemari (Viburnum plicatum) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Yae-zakura (double‐flowered cherry tree) flowers: Engaku-ji

Yae-zakura (double‐flowered cherry tree) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Tsutsuji (azalea) and Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers: Engaku-ji

Tsutsuji (azalea) and Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Genji-yama park (Kita-kamakura)

Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Genji-yama park (Kita-kamakura)

 

Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Genji-yama park (Kita-kamakura)

Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Genji-yama park (Kita-kamakura)

 

Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Genji-yama park (Kita-kamakura)

Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Genji-yama park (Kita-kamakura)

 

Shiro-fuji (white Japanese wisteria) flowers: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Shiro-fuji (white Japanese wisteria) flowers: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

 

April 26, 2022

Yama-zakura (mountain cherry) flowers and Engaku-ji : Kita-kamakura

Yama-zakura (mountain cherry) flowers and Engaku-ji : Kita-kamakura


The small valley thickly covered with trees, where the temple buildings of Engaku-ji are situated, is finely adorned with the subtle and calm colors and forms of spring.

On the fresh-green hillside, the countless mountain-cherry flowers are blooming and shining in the bright fertile sunlight as if to celebrate this season of rebirth and growth.

The tender chirping songs of birds are echoing throughout the valley to express their joy in the arrival of long-awaited spring. The colorful new leaves of various plants are creating an elegant mosaic ornament to this tranquil landscape.

No matter what is happening in the human world now, every living being earnestly goes on with its life in the ceaseless stream of seasons.



Yama-zakura (mountain cherry) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Yama-zakura (mountain cherry) flowers: Kita-kamakura



The Yama-zakura (mountain-cherry) tree is a general domestic plant variety of Japan and has been long admired by Japanese people since ancient times as the principal object of our Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) tradition.

This native cherry tree has been described in many "Waka" poems (classic Japanese lyric verse), in which its elegant and short-lived flowers are regarded as one of the essential symbols of "Mono no aware."

"Mono no aware" (the pathos of earthly things) is the most typical concept in Japanese aesthetic sense and represents our traditional emotion of finding profound beauty in transience. This sentiment is influenced by Mujo-kan (Buddhist concept of the impermanence of worldly things).

The Yama-zakura tree bears numberless snow-white or pale-pink flowers from March to April. Unlike familiar Someiyoshino (Japanese cherry) tree, its new leaves appear at almost the same time with its flowers. The basic color of the young leaves is rosy, but some leaves may be tinged with various green or yellow colors.


Yama-zakura (mountain cherry) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Yama-zakura (mountain cherry) flowers: Kita-kamakura

 

Sakura (Japanese cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

Sakura (Japanese cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji


The excellence of Sakura flowers becomes apparent when they scatter in the spring breeze. 

After blooming devotedly for a short period, they flutter down gracefully like a snowstorm without any hesitation or attachment, showing no stain of their snowy petals.

When their thin, tiny petals fall to the ground, they promptly return to the soil just as if nothing had happened, like an ephemeral daydream that has faded away rapidly.



Shidare-zakura (weeping cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

Shidare-zakura (weeping cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Sakura (Japanese cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

Sakura (Japanese cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Sakura (Japanese cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

Sakura (Japanese cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Shidare-zakura (weeping cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

Shidare-zakura (weeping cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Sakura (Japanese cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

Sakura (Japanese cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Shidare-zakura (weeping cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

Shidare-zakura (weeping cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Sakura (Japanese cherry), Haku-mokuren (Yulan magnolia), and Kobushi (magnolia) flowers: Engaku-ji

Sakura (Japanese cherry), Haku-mokuren (Yulan magnolia), and Kobushi (magnolia) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Shidare-zakura (weeping cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

Shidare-zakura (weeping cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Sakura (Japanese cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

Sakura (Japanese cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Shidare-zakura (weeping cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

Shidare-zakura (weeping cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Sakura (Japanese cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

Sakura (Japanese cherry) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

April 17, 2022

Sakura (Japanese cherry) flowers: Kencho-ji

Sakura (Japanese cherry) flowers: Kencho-ji


Spring is the season of startling vital expression in all living things.

The full bloom of Sakura flowers notifies the highest stage of liveliness and regrowth, and, in response to their stunning grace, various living things begin to emerge one after another hurriedly to compete for the precious blessings of the spring sun.

Flowering is the brilliant highlight of the tranquil lives of plants and trees. Every flower blooms with all its might, as if to silently explode the vitality having been stored up through the year.


Shidare-zakura (weeping cherry) flowers: Kencho-ji

Shidare-zakura (weeping cherry) flowers: Kencho-ji


According to the law of the universe, the life on the earth keeps circulating and transforming ceaselessly, changing its name and form in various ways without a moment of stagnation.

Flowers bloom and disappear one after another, enlightening us on the constant and rapid transition of the seasons. 

Beside the Hatto (lecture hall) of this temple, an old weeping cherry-tree is once again bearing lots of rose-colored flowers on its thin cascading branches. Soon, these graceful flowers will scatter all together in the spring breeze and countless fresh green leaves will emerge rapidly to erase the memory of these fleeting flowers.


Sakura (Japnese cherry) flowers: Kencho-ji

Sakura (Japnese cherry) flowers: Kencho-ji