Friday, November 4, 2016

Earth laughs in cosmos flowers at Ikaruga

The Three-Storied Pagoda (National Treasure), the only original remaining structure of Hoki-ji, from the 8th century
About twenty minutes’ drive from my home takes me to Hoki-ji Temple in Ikaruga.
Ikaruga has been a focal point of Japanese Buddhism since its entry to Japan in the 6th century.

On a sunny, crisp mid-October last year, I went to see cosmos flowers in mass 
around the Three-Storied Pagoda of Hoki-ji Temple. 
Farmers have utilized their fallow fields for cosmos for the tourists
 who stroll around the town of Ikaruga.

I borrowed the popular quote “Earth laughs in flowers.” by Ralph Waldo Emerson to this post.
 When I learned the full lines of the poem later, the message sounded serious
and different from the simply happy, peaceful image of the one-sentence-quote.

Japanese word '自然 (shizen, or jinen in ancient times)' is translated to 'Nature' in English, 
but the connotation  is different in a strict sense.
 "The basic, etymological meaning of the Japanese 'shizen/jinen' is
 'the power of  spontaneous self-development and what results from the power'. 
It is rather a mode of being than a natural order. "
We humans are not opposed or superior to the nature but part of it.

We enjoyed being there immersed in cosmoses in all the directions.

This year at the end of October, I went there again with the same family members .
 Shades of pink cosmos were swaying in breeze like last year 
though it was a hot day with summer clouds unlike last year. 

The little boy has grown to be more confident and independent physically and emotionally.

The lovely pink or red cosmos flower reminds me of a little girl dressed in kimono
 for Shichi-Go-San, which literally means "Seven-Five-Three." 
It is a traditional ritual and celebration of passage of life in Japan 
for three and seven-year-old girls and three and five-year-old boys.
It is held annually on November 15. 
As it is not a national holiday, it is generally observed on the near weekend.
My son celebrated her second daughter Y in late October 
before the winter chills of November.

It’s a hard and busy day for the little children to get dressed in kimono, dress, or suits and tie, 
be photographed, walk to the shrine to have a rite, and have dinner at the restaurant. 
The photo below was taken at my son’s favorite photo studio,
where five-year-old F accompanied her younger sister.
I’m amazed with the cameraman who always capture the moment
when all people are smiling naturally no matter how many the people are.

The three-year-old boy Y also had his Shichi-Go-San commemorative photos taken already
and will visit shrine soon in November.  
Recently the studios that capture natural expression of children have gotten popular. 
Unposed expressions and gestures are captured in many different combinations.

Children are not only ours but also Earth's.
Children will grow to bloom nurtured by Earth.
Wish all the children of the world their healthy growth and bright future.


  1. There's an old, much neglected churchyard near here where they've solved the problem of the untidy and forgotten graves by planting Cosmos in among the stones. They have of course self-seeded everywhere and now make an unforgettable display every summer. I've never senn a whole field of them though. I join you in wishing the little children a bright and happy future, in spite of the mess which they inherit from our generation.

  2. Amazing photos !!!! So beautiful !!!!
    And those kids are so cute !!!!!!!
    Thanks for sharing !!!!
    Have a nice weekend !

  3. This is such a beautiful post, filled with the glory of nature and our oneness with it. The cosmos flowers are gorgeous ... I can see why one would want to sit in the middle of them and allow their beauty and grace to flow through one's body. I'd like to see more of that ancient temple some time.

    But the kids take center stage. They are adorable. And the photographer did a superb job of capturing their joyous essence.

    I hope this finds you well and that you continue to get out, enjoy nature, and take lots of photos!

  4. What a beautiful place! Your photos are gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing this lovely tour! :)

  5. Such lovely photos of your grandchildren. They look full to of good spirit and cheer.
    Your flower photos are a joy to see. I see an occasional flower now and then, it surprises me that one has survived the weather we have had. Lovely autumn to you.

  6. So lovely and touching post about nature and children! Lots of beautiful blossoms and info about the historical place, also. Best regards in november!

  7. I love the photos of the pink and red Cosmos, but then when I saw your grandchildren dressed in their traditional kimonos it made me smile - what beautiful children they are - they must bring you all lots of joy and happiness.

  8. Beautiful place. The first time I see fields of blooming cosmos.
    Wonderful flowers and their colors enchanting.
    Children charming, sweet. Great pictures.
    Greetings from Poland.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Only to twenty minutes where from you live! What a marvel! You have left us in this blog precious images and reflections, after contemplating the laugh of the land in the flowers. And, since the happiness is contagious, and furthermore if it comes from the land and is preceded of the memory of the celebration of the growth and development of the children, I go away happy after having visited your blog. But not before adding to your desire, now that so next is the universal day of the infancy.

  11. Lovely post. Cosmos make a beautiful massed display.

    Ms Soup

  12. ad smarta bönderna är som planterar så vackra blommor till er ära att se på.Jag har den blomman med på kolonin men tyvärr så blev det inte så många blommor i år. Det är sånt man inte rår på. Så söta små barn i kimino som du har det kan du verkligen glädjas åt och njuta av. Jag tycker att er kimono är så fina . hos oss har vi ju bygdedräkter i de olika landskapen men oftast inte till barnen.
    Nu önskar jag er alla en fin och bra tid fram till Advent. Tack för alla dina njutbara bilder.
    Kram Meta

  13. Beautiful shots of the children and the flowers!

  14. Your last photo is especially pretty as are the children who are as pure and fresh as the flowers. It is nice to see them uphold traditions that give roots and a sense of history and security. If only all the children of the world were nearly as fortunate, the earth would breathe a sigh of relief.

  15. Beautiful flowers, beautiful grandchildren, beautiful traditions. What more can I say? Perhaps beautiful photographs too.

  16. Beautiful pink around you, and the pagoda, LOVE IT.

  17. precious and adorable grandchildren. :) love the cosmos fields. and the pagoda is gorgeous, too.

  18. I love to learn about your traditions from you. Your grandchildren are so cute - and the flowers so beautiful. When I lived in a house I had cosmos in my garden, but I have never seen a whole field of cosmos like this. Just BEAUTIFUL

  19. Very touching and profound, I love it. Emerson's quote works as a leitmotif to underline the link between Nature, kids and Cosmos. Thank you for the link to the poem. We used to study Emerson in Literature classes. Not any more since the change of the program to my regret.
    Do you know that Y has your eyes? He takes after you more than the girls, I think. Take care, and reappear!

  20. もうコスモスの時期なのですね。毎日慌ただしくて、最近は季節の移り変りも忘れてしまいそう。法起寺のコスモスを見に行ってから」3年くらいたったかもしれません。三重の塔の屋根の上のパッチワークが気になって、カメラを持ってうろうろ歩いたのを思い出しました。洋子さんいい角度から撮られましたね。ほとんど目立ちません。可愛いお孫さんたち皆さんどこか洋子さんに似ています。Have a good day!

  21. Beautiful Yoko photos. The flowers are very cute. Great memories of your kids when they were little. Great family day. Over here is autumn full of handsome colors :))
    Te deseo un buen domingo, amiga.

  22. Hello Yoko, what a wonderful way to use fallow land. Here such farmland is sometimes just left to nature and I'm often surprised to see a natural wildflower meadow take over. Your grandchildren are beautiful...thank you for sharing your traditional customs and lovely photos.

    Wishing you a happy week,

  23. Wow! I've never seen that many cosmos all together! What a fantastic sight!

  24. This post is another real treat, like a walk into graceful pink. The children are beautiful and perfect, there outfits little pieces of art.
    The last photo of the flowers is so delicate, it is my favorite! :-)

  25. these amazing sights are so delightful
    you named them so well dear .
    it really seems that earth is smiling so deeply with abundance of joy and peace

  26. Cosmos lift the spirits, and I love how they are always grown with several shades of pink mixed together. How beautiful your granchildren are. You showed me some of the pictures in Japan but not the one of Y's beautiful hairstyle. I think English needs a word that means the same as 自然 The nearest I can think of is "life force." (OK, that's 2 words!)

  27. Well, I had tears in my eyes at the end of your post. I wish the same blessing as you for all children, for your beautiful grandchildren and for mine, and for all around the world perhaps not lucky enough to have a loving, supportive family. The delicate cosmos mirror the sweet beauty of your grandchildren. Seeing them in their traditional dress is wonderful. Two of my grandchildren whose mother is Korean are sometimes gifted traditional clothes by an aunt in Korea. They wear them for portraits and also have worn them for our annual family holiday dinner at a fancy restaurant. I think the children feel very special when wearing these garments. A lovely post of bright flowers and smiling children, Yoko!

  28. i don't find any difference between these delicate lovely flowers and these soul freshening smils of your adorable grand kids .they are most precious thing you have

  29. Lovely lovely post, Yoko. I am feeling so inspired and nourished right now - the earth of my soul wet and watered in many many pretty smiles!

  30. Such beautiful flowers and your photos are gorgeous! What a cute little boy :)

  31. ✿゚ه° ·.
    É impressionante a bela desse jardim!!!
    Essas flores são preciosas!!!

    Bom fim de semana com tudo de bom!
    ╰⊰✿⊰ه° ·.

  32. Such beautiful flowers and fantastic photos !!
    Happy Sunday !

  33. こんばんは。情緒がありますね。お孫さんたちも和服に着飾って、古都の息吹を感じさせてくれます。いつもながら写真の素晴らしさに魅入られました。

  34. Yoko, olá, boa tarde!
    Espero que tudo esteja bem com você e sua família e um feliz 2017!
    Aqui sempre contemplo fotos espetaculares, flores, paisagens e crianças lindas. Penso que são seus netos. Eu tenho uma netinha, de 2 anos, Mariana é o seu nome.
    Gostei das palavras sobre a natureza, que estou de pleno acordo.

  35. i revisited this post and what a treat it proved for me that refreshed my soul at once dear Yoko :)

    your grand children must be grown now ,there photos are treasure ,i too will give credit who preserved the natural beauty and innocence in these clicks .
    both look absolutely cute and lovely !
    i just noticed you holding your grandchild i think ,it was good feeling to see you ,you are a lovely lady indeed !


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