Monday, October 1, 2012

萩 Hagi, iconic flower of autumn, at Mt. Rokko

萩 (Hagi), or Japanese bush clovers, start to bloom at the end of August when mornings and evenings get cooler in spite of the sultry daytime.  It would be the first autumn flower as a sign of autumn.  As its Chinese Character 萩 shows “autumn grass”, it has been one of the iconic flowers of Japanese autumn. 

at Mt. Rokko

Different from other symbol plants of seasons like Ume (Japanese apricot blossoms), Sakura (Cherry blossoms), Shobu (Irises), or Momiji (Maple leaves), Hagi are difficult to spot out when they bloom wild in nature.  They often bloom unnoticed mingling with wild grasses on the roadside.

Hagi/Bush clovers along the way to Yagyu

萩の小径, Paths of Hagi, at Mt. Rokko, is mass of Hagi flowers.  I hadn't seen blooms of Hagi in such a grandeur before.

I was always surrounded by Hagi and enjoyed treading on and on to the small paths while admiring Hagi.  I was careful so as not to get lost because there was no one around me and my cell phone had no reception in the mountains,

They were swaying freely and continuously in the breeze.  They have the strength of wild grass.  Whenever they are cut back to short shrub, they grow back soon.

 The overhanging branches bent in the rain or scattered petals are evocative.

Hagi appears most frequently (over one hundred times)  in Manyoshu (Ten Thousand Leaves) Anthology compiled in the 8th century.    In older times, Hagi must have been one of the most familiar grasses growing wild in the fields or mountains. We see them mostly in the temple gardens or private gardens at present.

Toin Garden at Heijyo Palace ruins

Hagi also has been a favored motif of art.  I’ll close this post with this collage-painting by my loved deceased aunt of my husband.   (I used this photo in the last year's post Hagi and signs of autumn at Koetsu-ji, Kyoto, too.)  Japanese people customarily offer Hagi and Susuki (Japanese pampas grass), another iconic plant of autumn, to 中秋の名月, the harvest moon.  Yesterday's full moon was hidden by the thick rain clouds.  How will be the sixteenth-night moon tonight?

(Click on the photo to enlarge.)
a collage-painting made by sticking pieces of colored Japanese paper and cloth onto paper
(without frame)


  1. Hello Yoko:
    The Hagi is indeed a very pretty sign of Autumn. Its graceful habit and charming flowers really do look wonderful as you have shown them growing wild in the countryside. And, the Chinese character for the plant is beautiful in itself. The free spirit of the plant is conveyed by its Chinese character, what a wonderfully descriptive language this is.

    The painting by your husband's aunt also has a great sense of movement like the Hagi which it depicts. The colour wash is so delicately done and captures the pastel tones of the flowers wonderfully well.

  2. Dear Yoko - I love the depiction of the Hagi by your husband's aunt, so sensitively created from tiny cut out leaves and flower buds enhanced by the soft colour wash. It must be a pleasure for you to own it.
    I do not know the Hagi plant, its flowers seem to resemble the legume family.

  3. How lovely and elegant they are those Hagi flowers. I simply love the fifth picture of the Hagi where the light pink flowers are swaying in delicate bundles across the path - and I would like to walk there among them. I wonder if they have a fine scent.
    Thank you Yoko.
    And for showing us the fine painting on porcelaine. It is very beautiful.

    Grethe `)

  4. Hi,Stardust.

  5. I love the beautiful and delicate collage painting. It looks almost to me as if it was meant to be made into a fan, although I suppose it would be too fragile. Oh, it sounds wonderful to be in the mountains, surrounded by flowers and with no mobile phone reception. To escape from the world...

  6. もう萩の季節なんですね。たった10日フランスに行ってる間に季節がころっと変わったようで、浦島太郎になったように感じます。萩がこんなにたくさん咲いてるときれいでしょうね。叔母様のコラージュの萩もとても雰囲気がありますね。

  7. I don’t know anything in my world quite equivalent to the Hagi flower, although we have ground clover in spring that is somewhat similar. There must be a nice feeling of timelessness when walking through these offspring bushes with blooms that also swayed along the paths of ancestors centuries ago. That is such a pretty replica and precious treasure your husband’s aunt made of this delicate yet sturdy plant!

  8. they are really beautiful. delicate looking.

  9. I was struck by the idea of the lovely Hagi "blooming unnoticed." Such lessons Nature teaches. On this day, alone in the mountains, you were blessed with resplendent Hagi sharing their grace and beauty. To be reminded of a loved aunt is very special, too. A wonderful post, Yoko!

  10. Można się faktycznie zagubić spacerując wśród tych jesiennych, ślicznych kwiatów. Wyglądają na bardzo delikatne. Malowane też są piękne. Pozdrawiam.
    You can actually get lost wandering among the autumn, pretty flowers. They look very delicate. Painted too are beautiful. Yours.

  11. It sounds like those wonderful flowers were your only guide and companion all along the mountain trail. That feeling to walk on small paths filled with a special flower of autumn with no one around and no connections to the outside world must be enchanting. The beautiful collage painting with cloth and paper by your husbands late aunt is a priceless possession! Wish you lovely days ahead, Yoko!

  12. Those flower petals collecting on top of the wood are so beautiful together....purples, pinks all mixed together. What a wonderful carpet of color on the ground after the plants sheds the petals.

  13. "the free spirit of the plant", resilience, white・・・(ここではピンクの萩ですが)これを繋いでいくとやはりハリコットさんのブログにあった与謝野晶子さんに結びつきそうですね。いい季節になってきているのになんだかんだあって、ゆっくりと外の空気が味わえていない感じがします。でもこれからですね。十六夜の月はとてもきれいでしたね。

  14. That fifth photo, the one of the path, is my favourite. I think it's really difficult to take good photos of hagi, but that photo shows you exactly what it's like to walk past (or through?) it.

    It must have been a wonderful walk, experiencing the flowers and the solitude. I'm just glad you didn't get lost! ^^

    The collage painting is just as beautiful as the flowers themselves.

  15. What gorgeous blooms - so subtle and joyful.

  16. Hi Yoko,

    with Japanese bush clover (Lespedeza) it's the same as with Japanese crape myrtle: This is a species we do not find in our corner of planet Earth (= Central Europe).
    But of course the beautiful little blooms of your species of clover look similar to the types we have here in Germany as well.
    I know that it's not that easily to take a good close-up photo of such a herbaceous plant, but the third and fourth photo from the bottom are my favourites of your collection of Japanese clover photos. That's how I take photos of a motif as well: Try to find the most interesting angle of views, take a lot of different photos of your motif - and select the best out of your numerous shots.
    Great work!

  17. 萩は知らないうちに咲いているのもあれば、花期になってもまだだったり、、、。結構丈夫な種だというのはわかります。そうそうお月見のお供えも子供の頃は見ていましたね。だんだん、風習が影をひそめてゆきます。押し絵、ポストされていたの思い出します。

  18. Sencillez y belleza conseguidos en estas flores pequeñas. Bss

  19. Beautiful sights and sentiments in your post, Yoko. Would have loved to walk those lovely paths through the Hagi with you. The aunt's creation is a lovely possession and depicts such a lovely tradition.

  20. Another lovely post with wonderful photos! Those Hagi flowers are beautiful and delicate with pretty soft colors - I really like them very much! Have a good time Yoko! :-)

  21. Yokoさん こんにちは。

  22. What a lovely symbol of autumn - so delicate in colour and form. The collage-painting is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

  23. La luna es fascinante!!! me encanta el collage... divino!

  24. こんばんは。 萩の花の美しいブログですね。 萩と言うと筆の軸に使われていてなじみ深いものがあります。十六夜と言うと満月の次の日に、少し躊躇して顔を出すのが遅れた月の事を意味したという説が有ります。
     十六夜の次の月は、立待ち月、次が居待ち月、その次が寝待ち月。 昔は情緒が有りました。
     ブログをBlogger に変更中です。 Stardust 様のような美しいブログになるのはいつの日か分かりません。 宜しくお願い致します。

  25. We don't have Hagi flowers though I live in the Far East of Russia, which is not far away from Japan. Does ledum bloom in your region? Generally this amazing bush breaks into blossoms in spring. And I took pictures of its bloom last Sunday. I guess climatic changes have become a universal problem, haven't they? Your husband's aunt's work is lovely!

    1. I didn’t know “ledum” and checked it. It doesn’t grow in my region (western Japan) but in northern Japan where temperature is cooler. Blooming period is June to July.

  26. Very interesting to read about Hagi. It has a completely different color than the autumn colors in Norway. They are all colors on both sides of yellow. Last Sunday I went outside just to enjoy and get some shoots that I have added to my blog.
    Thank you again for all your lovely pictures and intersting text.

  27. I see a similarity in the flower heads to wisteria and wild sweet pea blooms.The plant look delicate yet strong.The artwork is lovely,it's always special to have pieces around which connect us to loved ones.
    Yoko,thanks for sharing your mountain walk with us.

    Happy weekend!

    1. It is no wonder that the Hagi flowers resemble pea blooms, because Hagi is legume family.

  28. Great post as always, Yoko!
    Beautiful photos.
    Love the collage-painting.
    Hope you're having a great weekend.


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