Friday, September 16, 2016

Changing floral-scape at the ancient Fujiwara-kyo

Early autumn

Around the remains of the old Yakushi-ji Temple in the Fujiwara-kyo (694-710), 
the ancient Imperial Capital of Japan,
mass blooms of Eichhornia crassipes (water hyacinth) are seen from mid-August to late September.

The moody weather with heavy rain clouds and strong wind was a perfect setting
to remind me of the mystery
why a great scale of Fujiwara-kyo was abandoned after only sixteen years
and why the all the structures were burnt down to ashes on year later
 the capital was moved to Heijyo-kyo in the current Nara City.

The pastel mauve fairies at the waterfront.

When patches of blue sky appeared, light shimmered both on the flowers and water.

Fujiwara-kyo site is located at the laid-back countryside 
in the circle of three small hill-like mountains of Yamato province, 
Mt. Kagu, Mt. Miminashi, and Mt. Unebi.

Mt. Unebi in the west
Fujiwara-kyo must have been the total grandeur as was revealed by the recent investigation; 
“it covered an area of roughly 5 km and was surrounded by walls roughly 5 m high. 
Each of the four walls had three gates; Suzakumon, the main gate, stood at the center of the south wall. 
The Daigokuden (Emperor's Audience Hall) and other palace buildings were the first palace structures 
in Japan to have a tile roof in the Chinese style.”

Archaeological excavations was started in 1934. 
The remains of various offices as well as nearly 10,000 wooden tablets 
inscribed with Chinese characters have been discovered.

July 21
From July to mid-August, prior to the blooms of water hyacinth, Lotus flowers bloom 
around the remains of the Imperial Audience Hall. 
As the flower of Buddha’s Pure Land, they look consoling the souls 
sleeping underground which turned to the nature.

Both flowers and leaves rise up from the muddy water to the light.

In 1951 Japanese palae-botanist Dr. Oga discovered three lotus seeds during an archaeological dig.
The seeds turned out to be 2000 years old. 
Dr. Oga germinated the remaining seed to flower in 1952. 
The lotus was named after Dr. Oga and is now widespread throughout Japan. 
One of eleven species flowering at this place is Oga lotus, descendents from the ancient time.

Some hundred meters north beyond the Lotus area lies flowering meadow of yellow summer cosmos.

Mt. Miminashi in the north
Different flowers create different atmosphere.
Bright yellows and oranges look able to counter the scorching summer sun.

With a leaf of "Kudzu", or arrowroot.

The contrast of light and shadow

Mornings and evenings have gotten cooler but it's still sultry in the daytime 
with the hottest temperature about 30 degrees.
As the floral carpet changes with the changing seasons,
 the area will be covered with shades of pink of autumn cosmoses soon.


  1. What a beautiful and interesting place!
    It seems that, the flowers that now it occupy, pay tribute to the place, teaching us that the life is ephemeral, but not for it lacking in the beauty. The history of the walls, it has become condensed in a flower of lotus that sinks his roots many years behind. What was a kingdom of the humans now is a vegetable kingdom that he invites to his contemplation. Lucky me! I can see it with images of great quality, in spite of the distance. Thank you, Yoko.

  2. Hi, Yoko, happy to hear you, safe and sound!
    It looks as if our regions share not only time zone, but weather as well. We’ve had mostly rain lately. Yet this evening the skies opened up to present a huge perfectly round moon. I still hope to inspire you for a moon post)))
    Thank you for a lovely walk! Only lotus areas resemble our region, we have them close from our town. The rest are Japan, beautiful! Especially the first, reflections.
    Take care, dear Yoko and have a great week end!

  3. Beautiful pictures, I love the colors of the reflected flowers.

  4. wow- everything is so beautiful!

  5. I'm swooning over the photos, Yoko. The Lotus look luminous in the light. I love the photo with the buds. How wonderful to see masses of different flowers coming up at different times. I'm wondering if the Cosmos are irrigated in the summer heat? Those golds and oranges remind me of our changing aspens. I especially like that first photo showing the Hyacinth reflected in the water. It is like the beautiful spirit of the flower playing on the water.

  6. What an interesting story about the germination of the Lotus flowers. I would love to see all of those water hyacinths flowering en masse. I had some floating in my own little pool but sadly they do not survive the winter months here.
    Love the first photo - the reflections and colours are beautiful

  7. The reflections of the flowers are beautiful.

  8. Yokoさん

  9. 淡い紫が柔らかな感じを出していますね。


  10. This is such a gorgeous and fascinating, magnificent place! Your photos are very beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing.

  11. Amazing and wonderful,. Nature knows better than man reborn in his time, and offer her flowers so we can cotemplar all its beauty.
    Fantastic photos is a pleasure to recreate looking at them. Thanks for sharing.
    Buen fin de semana.

  12. Such a terrific landscape juxtaposed with lovely flowers, moods and seasons. The reflections are charming and so is the colourfully vibrant floral carpet. My favorite is the one from the Buddha land and how they rise from muddy waters and turn towards the light for growth and inspiration. Always such a delight to travel with you, Yoko.

  13. Hi Yoko!
    Oh, what beautiful flowers.
    I am delighted. Your pictures are great.
    Happy weekend.
    Greetings from Poland.

  14. Hello, greetings.

    Lovely flowers and beautiful scenery took my breath away.

    Best wishes

  15. Lovely as always, stardust! It’s awesome to think we are living with plants that could have existed for thousands, if not even more years. It’s especially hopeful to know that life sleeps in a 2000-year-old seed and can be resurrected, under the right conditions, to bloom again.

  16. Hello Yoko,
    Beautiful post.....and what an interesting story! Your photos are all lovely,especially the first.
    It's wonderful how seeds can germinate after such a long time.....but maybe our perception of time is warped! Thank you for sharing this....

    Wishing you a happy week,

  17. Har aldrig sett vare sig vattenhyacinter eller lotusblomma i verkligheten på bild. så vackra de är.så vackert ni har det. Tack för härliga bilder att njuta av,
    Ha en fin söndag
    Kram Meta

  18. Your blog and pictures are really beautiful !!!! It's always a pleasure for me to visit your blog !
    Thanks for sharing those gorgeous landscape !!!
    Have a lovely early Autumn !

  19. 薬師寺跡のホテイアオイ満開ですね。畝傍山を背に見事に咲き誇り、リフレくションは控えめで可愛い。
    一眼レフカメラを買って初めて撮影に出かけたのは、ここのホテイアオイでした。全く扱いがわからなくて全部、写真は没になったこと思い出しました。See you soon!

  20. Dear Yoko,
    Your flower photos are so beautiful. We have only a flower here a flower there left. Frost is changing things fast and autumn colors surround. Thank you for sharing these beauties.

  21. So incredibly beautiful. It is lovely to see the contrasting colours of the water hyacinth and the cosmos - each does, indeed, have a totally different feel and sets a different mood.

  22. So much beauty in all this photos =) Great job ;)

  23. What wonderful fields full of blossoms, gorgeous! I'm very interested in the 2000 year old seeds that were found in the excavations and the lotus that is now growing everywhere. Living history!
    Every time I look at your photos I think that I really must visit Japan one day.

  24. such beauty, no matter the season.

  25. What a floral paradise and what an interesting place. I would love to visit there and learn more of this ancient area and ancient capital city. I do wonder why those tablets have Chinese characters, though? Thank you for these superb photographs of the beautiful flora.

    1. Good question, Lowell!

      Through the spread of Buddhism, the Chinese writing system was imported into Japan. The earliest texts found in Japan are written in Classical Chinese, but was not read the same with Chinese way but in Japanese method. The wooden tablets found at the ruins of Fujiwara-kyo, which was used as official documents or letters, were written with these Classical Chinese.

      Incidentally, the modern Japanese writing system is a combination of three character types; (logographic) adopted Chinese characters, syllabic hiragana (invented in 9th century), katakana for loan words and foreign names. So Japanese writing system is considered to be the most complicated in use in the world.

  26. you are blessed as you are experiencing the life in heaven ,your photos are truly beautiful and enchanting

  27. The water flowers are splendid, love them very much.

  28. こんばんは。  ホテイアオイ、美しくて見事ですね。藤原京はいつも赤い柱が何本も立っていて、いつも気になっていました。
     里中満知子さんに頑張ってもらいたいですね。 大和三山と綺麗な花々、絵になります。

  29. How impressive these great areas of flowers are. Do they grow wild, or are they cultivated? As always, I like all your pictures, but particularly the first one, in which only the reflections of the flowers are visible, like phantoms hovering above the leaves. t's a mystery about Fujiwara-kyo, and also puzzling why the many tablets of writing don't seem to have given a clue about what might have led up to the catastrophe.

  30. Tenho imenso prazer em navegar pelas tuas fotos, que são espetaculares. As fotos com reflexo estão magníficas.

  31. Lovely flowers.Your post Remember me, my native place kerala.

  32. Olá yoko, lindas as suas imagens.
    Mas gostei muito daquela escultura na pedra e do caminho.
    Boa continuação de mês.


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