Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Buckwheat flowers in full bloom

Have you ever seen buckwheat flowers? Flowers are white, and green leaves are heart-shaped, as you see in the picture. They were in full bloom and swaying comfortably in the breeze at Kasa-yama in Sakurai City, Nara. It was cloudy yesterday, so the scenery, not colorful but white, shades of green, shades of grey and a little of blue color, was creating a placid atmosphere.   Visitors were few and sparse:  I heard only the sound of wind and buzz of bees.

Buckwheat cultivation started 18 years ago at Kasa area.   As most of buckwheat are produced on the highlands of northern part of Japan, buckwheat is suitable for cool climates, but it grows and ripens rapidly even on poor soils. People of Kasa have succeeded by sowing late in season so that it will bloom in cooler weather.

Buckwheat is a highly nutritious grain. It maintains good health of capillaries and blood vessels, keeps our body resistant to infection, and prevents oxidation of vitamin C inside our body. Nutrition-wise, buckwheat noodle (made from buckwheat flour) is better than udon noodle, as it is said that brown food is better than white one. My husband and I ate buckwheat noodle at a restaurant on the hillside overlooking flowering buckwheat fields.


Last but not least, we paid a visit to Kasa-yama Kojin.   Kojin, or Sanpo Kojin, is a guardian god of Buddhism, a god of fire, hearth, and therefore kitchen, who dislikes uncleanliness. Kojin is originally an evil deity of Shinto (Japanese indigenous religion, nature worship) tradition, but by worshipping it, people has won it over to human's side.


  1. They don't look very beautiful as individual flowers, but a field of them looks quite pretty. The story of Kasa-yama Kojin was interesting: the idea that deities can change character thanks to human intervention. It's usually the other way around, isn't it!

  2. What lovely, serene photos of the buckwheat fields and blossoms framing the high peak! My husband actually had a buckwheat crepe when we went to brunch this past weekend. My mother also favored buckwheat flour. We have a Buckwheat wildflower here in CO, but I don't think it is like the cultivated grain (though the blossom looks quite similar).

  3. Very calm and beautiful scenery!
    My husband and I occasionally drive through Sakurai city, but we have not seen the buckwheat fields. Last night, a reporter on the local TV news was saying that now is the best time to see buckwheat flower blooming in Sakurai city. I noticed that the buckwheat fields is well known as a place to have been succeded in the cultivation of buckwheat 18 years ago.
    You two surely had a good time, overlooking the beautiful fields with the buckwheat noodle1.


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