Monday, June 18, 2018

岩船寺 Gansen-ji Temple in the various shades of hydrangea

Japan is in the middle of the one-month rainy season. 
Hydrangeas bloom during this season, coloring the streets, parks, temples
 in the shades of pink, purple, and blue.  
As “hydr-” shows, constant moisture is required to keep the flowers 
blooming healthy and happy.

Gansen-ji Temple (729) located in Kizugawa City, Kyoto prefecture,
 is called “Hydrangea Temple” together with Yata-dera Temple.
Three-storied pagoda (1442) standing with the forest of solemn, massive Japanese cypresses in the back
 welcomes visitors with hydrangeas, when they enter the gate. 

Before strolling around, I prayed to a stone image of Jizo,
which Japanese people call "o-jizo-sama" affectionately.
Known as a guardian of children and travellers,
o-jizo-sama's traditional role is to save people from the torments of living hell.

Stone standing statue of “Fudo Myoo” (Acala, one of the Five Wisdom Kings)
I associate hydrangeas with o-jizo-sama.
Hydrangea's many petals or variety of colors look reflecting o-jizo-sama 
appearing in many different figures to save people.

At the pond edged by hydrangeas, light and wind play around.

Steps leading to the Belfry

"Kaizan-do Hall, a temple hall commemorating its founding or founder beside the pond.

Red lace-cap hydrangeas bloom at the one corner
not to disturb the overall color harmony of the precinct.

Close to the temple gate outside the temple, there is a stone bathtub (Kamakura period: 1192-1333)
in which monks seem to have purified themselves.
This place must have been a bathroom long long time ago
when the temple flourished.

I hope you enjoyed this hydrangea walk at the Gansen-ji.

Linked to Mosaic Monday

“Disaster strikes when you least expect it.”

Barely before 8:00 a.m. today, the next day of my visit to Gansen-ji, I was so scared with the unusually strong quakes. I thought it could be Nankai Trough Earthquake but actually the epicenter is in the northern Osaka prefecture. It is a six-minus on a scale of zero to seven on Japan’s seismic intensity scale. Nara City was five-minus.  As I watch TV, there are numerous kinds of damages like knocked over walls, scattered fires, half or complete collapsed houses, disrupted commute, halted transportation, etc. …..and most sadly victims. As time passes by, more damages are reported and as I write this, I felt three weak tremors as afterschocks, so weak that you don’t notice when you’re in action or in vehicles.  Don't be concerned, dear Friends.  Nara is much less affected that we go on usual  living without any inconvenience.... so far.  Knocking on woods.                                                                                                                                            


  1. It was so calming to walk through the hydrangeas to the temple, I'm sure that I felt my pulse slowing down only to get fest again when I read about the earthquake the next day. I hope that the aftershocks have stopped by now and your daily life continues calmly.
    Happy Mosaic Monday.

  2. Very beautiful. Your photos are alive with such richness of colour and your eye for beauty shines through.

    I've been hearing about the quakes. It's always very difficult to hear the news. I am afraid too because most places are experiencing more and more quakes. I'm glad to hear you are fine in Nara.

  3. Hello dear Yoko,
    We've heard about the earthquakes in the news. I hope that no one get's hurt!! I keep my fingers crossed. Thank you so much taking us with you during your walk at the temples. it's so peacefull.
    Have a wonderful day.

  4. Two feelings on reading your post. First, the peace, beauty and natural charm of these huge and imposing hydrangeas, and the wonderful atmosphere of your photographs. Secondly, the horror of the major earthquake. I did not notice this reported in British press so I googled it and read about it on BBC Asian service. I am so sorry to learn about it and glad that you and other friends in Nara are safe. Nature has so much power, both good and bad for us.

  5. We have not heard about your earthquakes so I'm glad now to know you came through OK and that life goes on, as you say. I was in one long ago when I was young, in California. It's a very weird feeling. Love all the hydrangeas. They are blooming here also, and are such a gorgeous flower. And the photos with that red temple are so enticing and enchanting. This is a most interesting post. Take good care of yourself!

  6. Thanks for taking us on this delight hydrangea walk with you
    Happy Monday


  7. One moment life is all about serenity and the next moment disaster. I was sorry to hear about this serious earthquake, the loss of life and damage. Hopefully things have settled now at this writing. Having been in an earthquake myself I know how terrifying it can be. My thoughts are with all the people effected and very glad to know that you are safe.

  8. Oh Yoko, this is a beautiful place and your photos are lovely. My favourite is the lily pond.
    Wonderful old bell....I'd love to hear it!
    I cannot image what it would be like living earthquakes.

    Wishing you a safe and peaceful week,

  9. Thank you for these serene photos,even cooling images of the beautiful pond,bell,and amazing hydrangeas. I am so sorry to hear about the earthquake. I googled it upon reading your post and it is so terrible. I am glad that you are ok, but am so sad for those in the middle of all that damage.
    Thanks again for the lovely, inspiring photo visit.

    1. Thank you, Mary, for your frequent visit and kind words. Nature has both sides, benevolent and ferocious.

  10. Oh how I enjoyed this post reading it tonight right after dinner. Hydrangeas are my favorite flower. They don't grow well this far South so I don't have any here. Maybe I could grow some in a big pot.

  11. A lovely, serene garden, the sort of place I could linger for hours. I can imagine the earthquakes were quite a 'shock' to your system when in such a state of tranquility … I hope the families of the victims can find some peace.

  12. Thank you for letting us know about how you are. When I saw the news about the earthquake I thought about you and Mikayo, and hoped that you were okay.
    Hydrangeas are some of my favourite flowers. I love the blue ones best. They are beginning to bloom in my garden, but we are having a very hot week and they look wilted by late afternoon. In the morning, though, they are fresh and beautiful.
    Wishing you safe and peaceful days.

  13. Lovely and beautiful photos. Pray everything will be back normal soon.

  14. I was sorry to hear of the earthquake in Japan and hope that your beautiful part of the earth has calmed down now. It would be scary. Love the lush greens in your photos, one month of rains sounds bearable. In Thailand our rains linger longer. Take care.
    Wren x

  15. Gorgeous pictures in Paradise...where sometimes earthquakes shake those beautiful treasure and people...
    Have a lovely day !

  16. Hi!I found you through Anna's blog!Wonderful landscapes!Gorgeous blog!!!Hugs.

  17. Such an interesting Temple building, peeping out of the hydrangeas. I have never seen any architecture like that, only in pictures.
    We do all live very different lives!
    Susan (SpinningStreak)

    1. Thank you for your visit and leaving a lovely comment. I wonder what is one of the characteristics of the landscape in your country.

  18. Japan is really very beautiful country...

  19. I enjoyed your Hydrangea pictures around Gansen-ji Temple a lot.
    Unfortunately Hydrangea are plants which never would grow in my garden. We have no rainy season and it's often dry during summer time.
    Yes, I also read about Osaka earthquake. How good that you live in a safe area, Yoko.

  20. Wonderful, I loved the stone altar

  21. Everything looks so lush. The flowers are lovely. It looks like a beautiful and peaceful place to walk.

  22. こんばんは。京都の紫陽花寺、岩船寺ですか、この時期の紫陽花は、雨の日も、晴れの日も美しいですね。

  23. I have always been fond of hydrangeas because the area where I was born in England is the perfect place to grow them. So many houses have hedges of hydrangea bushes, and when in flower, they are very impressive! I was told that in order to get blue blossoms, iron filings should be added to the soil around the bushes.
    I'm thinking of you and the whole country as you experience yet another sequence of earthquakes and aftershocks. Stay safe!!!!!

  24. Dear Yoko,
    that's a relief that Nara is less subjected to seismic activity. Keep safe!
    As for beautiful hydrangeas, they are rare in our region but rather common in Italy, blooming all summer months. How do they survive in their climate with scarce rains? Must be gardeners' art and care.
    My academic year is drawing to a close, hooray!
    Have a lovely summer, Yoko!
    With best wishes,

  25. Your photos take us into a magical world! So lovely! (And I'm happy to hear you are safe from the earthquake.)

  26. おはようございます。It has been crazy busy.



  27. こんにちわ。 



  28. Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos.
    I'm glad everything is ok with you and there were no problems due to earthquake.
    Kind regards
    Divagar Sobre Tudo um Pouco

  29. Your photos are all so beautiful that they make me want to come visit some day. Thank you for the beautiful tour!

  30. From calm to quake, peace to tremor - life always holds surprises for us. I hope Nara is safe and you and your family are well, my friend. This is the first I've read of the quake. The Hydrangea photos are very gorgeous. My eyes hardly know where to look, there is so much beauty. The red temple framed by the hydrangeas is a perfect picture. I wish you could send some of Nara's rain to Breckenridge. We are too dry and keep hoping for moisture.

  31. Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your weblog posts.


    1. Thank you for your visit and comments. I'm glad to know you enjoyed browsing my blog.

  32. Awesome blog, i always enjoy & read the post you are sharing.Thank for your very good article...!


  33. Undoubtedly I have enjoyed the walk, with my eyes wide open collecting marvels.


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