Monday, August 1, 2011

A large colony of lotus at the Lake Biwa


Along the shore of  Karasuma Peninsula of the Lake Biwa, Shiga prefecture, lotuses are growing  in colonies.   From the late July to the early August, the wild lotuses flowering gregariously is an awesome view.  

Looks like flower fields with Mt. Mikami in the back.

 Actually aqua forest.

In the shade of the lotus leaves, I spotted out a pair of Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), バン in Japanese.  They rest or walk on the lotus leaves.  The lake is designated as a UNESCO Ramsar Wetland and is a home to a number of birds,  small creatures, and plants.  


As there is a cherry blossoms festival in spring, a scarlet maple leaves festival in autumn, there is a lotus flowers festival in summer, where people have a chance to try “zo-bi-hai” (elephant-nose-toast).  Sake is poured into the cup-like leaf and drunk through the hollow stem. 

It is believed lotuses were introduced from India at the same time when Buddhism was imported from India via China and Korea.  The lotus is one of the most important Buddhism’s symbols.  The roots are in the mud, the stems rise up through muddy water, and the flowers bloom in pristine colors wafting sweet fragrance in the sunlight.  This process, from the muddy darkness to the light of the sun, symbolizes a growth of spiritual consciousness, from blindness to the enlightenment.

the view of the lotuses from the Kusatsu Municipal Aquatic Plants Park “Mizu-no-mori”  

Water lilies are also blooming at Mizunomori Acuatic Plants Park close to the lotus colony.  

Mizunomori is an open air park with lake water in three directions.  Visitors can enjoy various types of aquatic plants as well as land flowers through the seasons. 

difference between lotus flowers and water lilies 

In contrast to water lilies or other water plants which bloom above the water, lotuses rise high above the surface owing to the strength of their stem which is hollow to transfer air.  Lotus flowers have distinctive circular seed pod in the center of the flower.  Water lilies come in various colors, whereas the lotus has flowers in hues of white to deep pink.

Click on the photo to enlarge.
While there are numerous ponds with lotus flowers, this is the only place where such a large colony of lotus exists "on a lake" as far as I know.  The colony is expanding year by year along the shore.
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  1. Hello:
    Truly wonderful and absolutely beautiful. What an amazing sight which, through your spectacular pictures, we are able to share. It is perhaps the sheer number of lotus flowers growing together which is so very delightful to the eye and impressive to the mind.

    A lovely way in which to start the week. Thank you.

  2. this is just absolutely beautiful. thank you for pointing out the difference in lotus vs. lilies. hadn't realized that. what a wonderful sight to see! thanks for sharing these!!!

  3. Hi,Stardust.
    Have a great day.

  4. Hi Stardust,
    First of all Thanks for following me, me too following your wonderful blog now!!
    Lotus is the national flower of India and its also very important in Hinduism apart from Buddhism...
    I just love the flowers and the pics are lovely...
    Have a great week ahead:)

  5. "zou-bi-hai" is a new word for me. That sounds interesting; to drink sake flowing from the leaves through stems. It must taste elegant and heavenly.
    Beautiful scenery with a heavy growth of lotus flowers and water lilies!
    Thank you for sharing, stardust.

  6. I didn't know the vast colony of lotus flowers at the Biwa Lake.
    When I saw Egyptian exhibition I found that lotus flower was one of the oldest pattern of design.
    It is interesting to know that ancient people really loved the luminous flowers and they related them to some religious matters.

  7. How beautiful and educational post.I learned a lot.
    I didn't know that the lake is designated as a UNESCO and the lake Biwa is wonderful lake.

  8. Hi, Stardust.
    The heavy growth of lotus locates eastern shore of lake Biwa,doesn't it? So beautiful!
    Cherry,maple,lotus and the other things. Shiga prefecture has big nature.
    Thank you for information.

  9. The distinction between water lilies and the lotus flower is interesting, indeed, and something I had not considered. I love the analogy of the lotus flower to the raising up of consciousness. Japanese thought is often so beautifully poetic as in the “elephant-nose-toast” description. All your captures are wonderful but I particularly like the clouds in the water by the lilies and the lotus forest where birds walk on leaves. Thanks as always for sharing your wonderful world, stardust!

  10. What beautiful photos - thank you for sharing your traditions.

  11. OH, what marvellous shots of the lotus. So peaceful!

  12. Thank you for another wonderful look at your world, Stardust!! Your captures are superb and the lotus are so breathtakingly beautiful! Love the colors. Thanks as always not only for the beauty, but the history and traditions! Have a wonderful week!


  13. What an amazing lake and i understqnd easily why it is protected. I had never realised the difference between lotuses and water lilies as they look so similar. A very interesting post, thank you!

  14. Such clarity in the water lilies. Like Degas dancers in pastel. Such an informative and beautiful post.

  15. Stunning post!!Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River.

  16. The lotus are so delicate and yet can stand above the water on their strong stems. I love the photo with the shadowy Mt. Mikami in the background. We have lilies here at altitude on some of our ponds. However, no vast colonies as you have with these lotus.

  17. lovely photos. very informative post.

  18. That really is a remarkably large lotus colony. It provides a whole eco-system for birds and water dependent animals. Your shot of the moorhens is like an illustration for a children's story about palaces between the layers of leaves and fairies sleeping in the flowers. A wonderful post indeed.

  19. Hello Stardust!
    What a beautiful and interesting place.........sake drunk through a lotus stem,I wonder who thought of that? Lovely photo of the moorhens,I had no idea they were so widespread around the world.Thanks for explaining the difference between the plants and for the links,and of course for sharing your lovely images.
    Maybe we need to make more use of reed beds as water purifiers.

    Enjoy your day..... and week!

  20. Thank you for this very delightful post. The lotus is a gorgeous flower and it is wonderful to see so many superb photos featuring the lotus. And so many lotuses!

  21. What a coincidence - my post is about lotus flowers, too! Lotus is one of my favourite flowers. The sight of a lake filled with blooming lotus is very appealing to me.

    Inside Cambodia

  22. Stardust,
    This is such a beautiful place - thanks for sharing. Ahh, I often wonder about the difference between lotus and waterlilies. I love your photos.

  23. It looks like magic to me, a whole lake full of lotus blossoms!

  24. absolutely stunning photos! i love the bird walking on lotus leaves.

  25. gorgeous, just gorgeous...i love my visits to your blog!!

    magical place, thanks for sharing it with us!!!

  26. A magnificent display. Such beauty.

    I was going to ask about the difference between lotus flowers and water lilies and then you explained. I know a lake full of water lilies in my home in Germany, it too is very beautiful, but I am sure lotus blossom is a miraculous sight.

  27. Kwiaty lotosu są tak piękne, ze dech w piersiach zapiera. Pozdrawiam

  28. Your photos of the Lotus blossoms are the prettiest I've ever seen. The Lotus is so delicate with perfectly shaped and spaced petals. Love the single bloom photo and the one just above it on the left really captured their beauty.

  29. Ah, these photographs feel so refreshing! I like the picture with flowers and a mountain behind, such a contrast.

    I didn't know about lotus festivals in summer. Do you also have any similar festivals in winter? Maybe celebrating of first snow?

  30. What beautiful pics! I love lotus flowers, but they don't grow here in Canada. We do have water lilies.

    I love this post. It has special meaning for me, as just lately I've been drawn both to water lilies and Buddha.
    Thank you.

  31. To Ekaterian

    Lotus festival is not so popular as cherry blossom one, but some parks or gardens with lotus pond have it to attract tourism. You can check it on the searching engine with key words “lotus festival Japan”. In winter...let me see... oh, I remember winter peonies festival. Your idea of celebrating of first snow sounds romantic. I’d love to have a party to celebrate the first snow.

  32. A lake filled with flowers! What a beautiful sight. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos.

  33. WOW! This must be a paradise to photographers!!! What beautiful shots you took of the lotus blooms!Fascinating posting!

  34. Dear stardust, wonderful post, very nice images! Lotuses are very beautiful, but water lilies were always my favourites.

  35. Du zeigst wunderschöne Fotos einer beeindruckenden Landschaft.
    Ich habe mich lange mit viel Freude in deinem Blog umgesehen.


  36. I want to be there right now :)
    This post was very interesting, and intriguing, and beautiful!

  37. You make such beautiful photo's and those flowers are gorgeous, all of them.

  38. pictures tells a thousand words... I love your photos! they are beautiful.

    ~ Jo's Precious Thoughts ~

  39. Simply beautifully captured shots...lovely!

  40. I'm always surprised at the things in your blog, they are so unusual and interesting. I've never heard of a park of aquatic plants. I've always loved them, though. One of my early memories was as a child when I was amazed at the beautiful sight of a lake of water lilies.

    I didn't know about the folklore attached to the lotus, either.

  41. Beautiful images on this post too. The water lilies are fabulous. Mickie ;)

  42. Hi Yoko
    I came back to see your post about the water lilies. They look so beautiful in a natural setting such as this and I found the diagram about the differences between lilies and lotuses very interesting!

  43. Hi, Yoko !

    I love lotus flowers (or water lilies?). Your pictures are beautiful. I even got dizzy watching them. It looks like paradise, Yoko !

  44. Hallo Yoko,
    Your fotographs of the lotusfields are breathtaking. It's great that you give us the background information. In Holland we can only visit them at Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam. We can't grow them here I think because of the cold winters.
    Gr. Marijke


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