Sunday, May 15, 2022

A verdant garden of 天授庵 Tenjyu-an

Tenjyu-an is a sub temple of Nanzen-ji Temple, Rinzai Zen sect, built by the disciples 
as a private hermitage to think of the late Mukan Fumon, a founder of Nanzen-ji Temple.
Despite being next to the crowded San-mon Gate of Nanzen-ji, 
Tenjyuan is a quiet oasis.
I spent serene time at one of the two gardens of the temple, Shoin South Garden.
This is a gate to the Japanese stroll-garden with two ponds.

Some key elements of a Japanese garden include ponds, bridges,
paths, moss, moderately pruned trees, plants and rocks.

On entering the gate, a Shoin-style architecture appears.
 The garden spreads in front of this sturucture on a little lower ground.

There is a timber bridge on the smaller pond.

Due to the simplicity with no artificial ornaments, our senses are opened up
to the details of nature of the surroundings.

Differently designed pathways and bridges weave around the ponds.
What would be there at the end of this path along the bigger pond?

Bamboos are prominent trees in Japanese gardens together with Maples.

Zigzag stepping stones.

I walked leisurely along the carefully constructed passways 
in the soft light through green leaves under the cloudy sky.

A small decayed timber bridge connecting central island is off limit.

A structure next to Shoin

Layers of reflections, aqua plants, and ripples made by carp always fascinate me.
I almost forgot where I was.

Suddenly it got brighter and carp were swimming in the blue sky.


On the other side on a little higher ground, 
there stands that Shoin architecture surrounded by green maples.

Now, we are back to the timber bridge....

.... and the gate.

The gate is at the end of Dry Landscape Garden, another garden of this temple.
Visitors can sit on the veranda to taste the dry landscape 
before or after circling around the Shoin South Garden.

Visitors are not allowed to enter the Shoin.
From the entrance, I could see what the inside was like.

The red foliage outside the window is Nomura maple, Acer palmatum cv.sanguineum,
which has purplish red leaves from spring to autumn.

The Shoin seen from the garden
A part of Shoin seen from the entrance

Linked to Mosaic Monday

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Camphor tree at this time of year

I came across fluid art on water created with fallen leaves and 
reflections of trees with sprouting leaves at Sansha-ike Pond, Kasugano-enchi, Nara Park.

What do you think these colored leaves are?

They are old leaves shedded from Camphor trees.
The evergreen Camphor trees have yellowish, reddish, and green leaves
in early spring.

Camphor trees shed old reddish leaves to grow new leaves.
Baby leaves are also red with purplish hue which turn quickly to fresh green.

The fallen leaves were gathering around a real branch of some tree
which was spreading low on water.
The branch looked like a fall tree on water canvas.

Carp joined the art show.

Camphor tree, "楠or樟 Kusunoki”, is native to China and Japan.
It is loved for its sprawling form on massive bark, thick and contorted branches, 
and grossy evergreen leaves. 

Camphor tree has spritual and cultural importance in Japan.
In Japanese folklore and Shinto (nature worship) tradition, massive aged trees 
can be a home to divine spirit.
"Totoro", a guardian of forest only visible to children, lives in a gigantic camphor tree.
The tree below is so large but no comparison with the one where Totoro lives.

One week later at the grove of Kasuga, a gigantic camphor tree had splash of mauve color.
Wisteria was blooming on the tips of veins which coiled up the tree.
Wild Wisteria

Wisteria came into bloom much earlier than usual.
Their clusters were getting longer and longer.

Cultivated Wisteria at Kasuga Grand Shrine

In late April, small white flowers of Camphor tree bloom imcomspicuously but profusely.
They mingle with the fresh green leaves and contrast to the massive dark bark.

Bottom right; buds of Camphor flowers

My grandson Y turned 9 today.  Happy Birthday!
He's gotten more focused, diligent, and skillful on "what he likes".
He loves soccer as well as painting and is sometimes earnest in practicing
I enjoy watching over how he grows a seed within him in each season of his life.

Left top; Inu-washi, Aquila chrysaetos, Golden eagle

Linked to Mosaic Monday

Sunday, April 17, 2022

桜 Sakura Season, 2022

A flurry of snowflakes one and half months ago turns to that of Sakura petals.
Pink Sakura (cherry blossoms) petals cover the ground like a newly fallen snow.
Every year, Sakura come and go enchanting us with their ethereal beauty.

- Nara Park -

The site of the East Pagoda, where a five-story pagoda once stood.

Sagi-ike Pond

At the Sagi-ike Pond, branches with flowers hang low over the water 
to cast pink shimmering reflection

Nara National Museum Buddhist Art Library

There are more than one hundred Sakura tree varieties in Japan. 
The large majority of them have been cultivated for decorative use in gardens and parks.
染井吉野 Someiyoshino, Prunus x yedoensis, with five light pink petals,
is most widely planted.

紅豊 Beniyutaka,Cerasus Sato-zakura Group 'Beni-yutaka', has deep pink 
multiple-petaled blossoms.

山桜 Mountain cherry, Cerasus jamasakura, is one of a few varieties native to Japan's mountains.
Green or coppery brown leaves appear at the same time with blossoms.

紅枝垂れ Beni-shidare is a cascading tree with deep pink double-petaled blossoms.

八重桜 Multiple-petaled Sakura

I was standing marvelling at each sight.

   - Along the Saho River before sunset - 

Sakura burst into bloom so intensely and disappear from sight so briskly 
 that even a moment of being in awe last long in heart ....
probably until we finally leave this world in accordance with the will of Nature 
like Sakura.

河鵜 Kawau, Phalacrocorax carbo

Lunch at the restaurant Tekisui located right across from the Sagi-ike Pond.

Sakura at Koriyama Castle Ruins, another Sakura post this year.

Linked to Mosaic Monday