Monday, June 18, 2018

岩船寺 Gansen-ji Temple in the various shades of hydrangea

Japan is in the middle of the one-month rainy season. 
Hydrangeas bloom during this season, coloring the streets, parks, temples
 in the shades of pink, purple, and blue.  
As “hydr-” shows, constant moisture is required to keep the flowers 
blooming healthy and happy.

Gansen-ji Temple (729) located in Kizugawa City, Kyoto prefecture,
 is called “Hydrangea Temple” together with Yata-dera Temple.
Three-storied pagoda (1442) standing with the forest of solemn, massive Japanese cypresses in the back
 welcomes visitors with hydrangeas, when they enter the gate. 

Before strolling around, I prayed to a stone image of Jizo,
which Japanese people call "o-jizo-sama" affectionately.
Known as a guardian of children and travellers,
o-jizo-sama's traditional role is to save people from the torments of living hell.

Stone standing statue of “Fudo Myoo” (Acala, one of the Five Wisdom Kings)
I associate hydrangeas with o-jizo-sama.
Hydrangea's many petals or variety of colors look reflecting o-jizo-sama 
appearing in many different figures to save people.

At the pond edged by hydrangeas, light and wind play around.

Steps leading to the Belfry

"Kaizan-do Hall, a temple hall commemorating its founding or founder beside the pond.

Red lace-cap hydrangeas bloom at the one corner
not to disturb the overall color harmony of the precinct.

Close to the temple gate outside the temple, there is a stone bathtub (Kamakura period: 1192-1333)
in which monks seem to have purified themselves.
This place must have been a bathroom long long time ago
when the temple flourished.

I hope you enjoyed this hydrangea walk at the Gansen-ji.

Linked to Mosaic Monday

“Disaster strikes when you least expect it.”

Barely before 8:00 a.m. today, the next day of my visit to Gansen-ji, I was so scared with the unusually strong quakes. I thought it could be Nankai Trough Earthquake but actually the epicenter is in the northern Osaka prefecture. It is a six-minus on a scale of zero to seven on Japan’s seismic intensity scale. Nara City was five-minus.  As I watch TV, there are numerous kinds of damages like knocked over walls, scattered fires, half or complete collapsed houses, disrupted commute, halted transportation, etc. …..and most sadly victims. As time passes by, more damages are reported and as I write this, I felt three weak tremors as afterschocks, so weak that you don’t notice when you’re in action or in vehicles.  Don't be concerned, dear Friends.  Nara is much less affected that we go on usual  living without any inconvenience.... so far.  Knocking on woods.                                                                                                                                            

Monday, May 28, 2018

Wind fragrant May, 2018

May is going to be over in a couple of days.
May is said 風薫る五月 in Japanese literally meaning "wind fragrant May,"
because of the sweeter, fresher air of it.
May is usually very pleasant; breezy and sunny with occasional rain,
not cold or hot, just right weather.

This May, however, I used either heater or air conditioner some days.
Temperature difference was so big; daytime highs varied from lower 10s to lower 30s Celsius, 
morning lows from single digit to nearly 20s Celsius, like late March or early July respectively.

On the 1st of May, Y turned 5. 
He's an active boy with a gentle, cheerful, and curious heart.
Currently, his most favorite pastime after kindergarten is pedaling around a park 
when weather permits. 

These are the fruits of the June-berry which was planted 
to commemorate his birth five year ago. 

Another event was a ballet recital where F (seven-year-old) 
and another Y (five-year-old) performed.

The right photo is from the last year.

Throughout May, my garden has been colorful; crimson, pink, blue, white, purple, yellow…
The air is all subtle perfume.


Violas and Gymnaderia savatierti

Dahlberg daisies and their reflection on the wet deck

Roses, young and old
Hydrangeas, the floral symbol of Japan's rainy season, have already started blooming much earlier than usual.
Rainy season will set in soon with the parting with May.

Linked to Mosaic Monday

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

好古園 Koko-en Gardens by the Himeji Castle

The Garden of the Lord's residence

Japanese garden “Koko-en” was opened in 1992 to celebrate 100th year anniversary of Himeji City
 at the exact site of Nishi-Oyashiki (Lord’s West Residence) with Himeji Castle.
The archaeologically excavated site of samurai houses and roads was utilized
 and the gardening techniques of the Edo period (1603-1868) was used. 
The 3.5 hectare garden is composed of nine separate walled gardens designed in different style.
This post covers some of them.

The comfortable sound of water leads visitors to the Garden of the Lord's Residence,
which is the biggest garden in Koko-en.
There are about 250 colorful Koi carp in the large pond.

Seasonal flowers bloom one after another.

During the hanami season when I visited Himeji Castle
cherry blossoms were the most eye-catching,
giving grace and beauty to the Flatly Landscaped Garden.

The photo below; Japanese Quince
One month later in May, dominant colors are refreshing shades of green.

Bamboo fences separate the garden from the outside and are decorative.
Bamboo is strong, yet flexible, which allows for a great variety of designs.
 When it is exposed to sun and rain, it is relatively short-lived weathering sooner, 
but it ages gracefully. 

These bamboo fences below subdivide the garden.

In the Tea Ceremony Garden, inside and outside of the architecture becomes one
with big windows wide open.
I like this integration of interiors and exteriors.

At the authentic sukiya style teashouse, Souju-an, Green powdered tea is served.

Drinking a cup of rich frothy green tea;
a moment of pause and reflection,
to finish the gardens tour or to have a rest in between.