Monday, June 21, 2021

Hannya-ji Temple in early summer

July, 2020

Hannay-ji Temple is a charming little temple in the northern part of Nara City, famous for lovely flowers.
Although  it is called "Cosmos Temple" for the autumn flowering cosmoses, Yamabuki (yellow roses) in spring,
Hydrangeas in summer and Narcisuses in winter are are all so lovely.
When I visited last July, mostly Hydrangeas in the deep greenery.
In early June this year,  summer cosmoses were with hydrangeas.
I heard it's difficult to make cosmoses into bloom at this time but the temple staff did it nicely.

June, 2021

 I focused on flowers on the water on this visit.

Cosmos flowers were floating in the water-filled "tsukubai", or water-basin.
To pour water over "Mizukake-Jizo", or Watered Jizo,  is a custom.
The believers throw water full of ladle over the statue of diety and watch it dripping down,
wishing their soul be purified and their wish be fullfilled. 
Tsukubai is not used for that purpose during the pandemic.

Flowers in a bowl.

Hydrangeas in glass cubes.

This Jizo statue was found  in the mountain on the eastside.
According to the engraved epitaph, a cotton maker of Nara Machi had it sculpted for 
his ancestors' soul in 1754.
The rectangular tsukubai basin made of granite was  contributed to the temple between 
1673 and 1680.

"絵馬 Ema", or votive tablet, on which people's wishes are written, is another "charm" of this temple.
It is "pleasant and attractive" to see and have "magic power" to make people's wishes come true.

I love various different designs according to time and occasion.
The tablet of ox with sun-rise and auspicious pine tree and Plunus mume blossoms is for the New Year 2021
and the one with Sakura (flowering-cherry) is for the success of entrance examination.
The start of academic year is Sakura-blooming April in Japan.

"Ema" literary means "picture of a horse."
In the ancient times, it was believed that gods travelled to human realm on horseback.
People donated horses to temples or shrines with their earnest wishes but horses are too expensive.
People started to use a horse figure made of wood, clay, or paper,  and then a wooden plaque
with a horse picture on it.
 The history of ema is  here.

Hydrangeas in front of the old earthen walls give me retrospective feeling 
that this temple has been through the raging waves of long history since its foundation.
The exact foundation time is unclear, but the roof tiles excavated in the precinct was made in 
Nara Period (710-784) and the name Hannyaji appears in the Documents of Shosoin (742).

The simple but refreshingly impressive show of  summer flowers is reported to be
 the idea of the vice-head priest of this temple to make people's visit more enjoyable.

Linked to Mosaic Monday


  1. The beautiful colorful blooms are beautiful floating in the water. And I'm glad you shared some of the customs and beliefs. We are all a part of this big beautiful world and it's nice to understand each other better. Sweet hugs, Diane

  2. What a beautiful spot, the flowers are gorgeous. I really love that photo of the flowers in the water!

  3. Dear Yoko - I love the Cosmoses flower heads floating in the water and the Hydrangeas in glass cubes - I have never seen that done before. We have just, rather late, planted some Cosmos seeds which are now sprouting. I am really hoping that they will soon fulfil our hopes and bloom for us.

  4. Thank you for that insight into the beauty and history of your country. I know of just one churchyard in England which is covered with Cosmos flowers, it's quite a sight.

  5. Your photos of cosmos in a bowl are sublime, stardust. What wonderful patterns they would make for a bedspread or summer dress. Your explanations give special meaning and depth to visiting this place. The surroundings are steeped in history and good wishes that could, otherwise, be viewed simply as pretty. I made a wish, even from a distance. :)

  6. Me encantan las hortensias. Esas flores de agua están preciosas. Lllega el verano con mucho color y vida nueva. Gracias por compartir Yoko.
    Buena semana. Cuídate.
    Un abrazo.

  7. Hi Yoko, such beautiful blooms and your photos have really done them justice. I enjoy all your nature photos and lovely garden and park photos. Enjoy the summer.

  8. Yoko - so beautiful, in every way. I like the idea of "prayers" being publicly displayed - we can all join in voicing them and bringing them power. I have had cosmos in my flower pots for the last two summers - they are simple and yet elegant. Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!

  9. Thank you for the very interesting post. I love the Cosmos in the water

  10. Gorgeous always...There is poetry in your post...
    Thanks for sharing !
    Have a nice day !

  11. 昨年はじめて般若寺に咲く彼岸花を見に行きましたが、四季折々の花が咲くお寺なのですね。

  12. dear Yoko i am speechless sitting front of this mesmerizing beauty you shared here !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    i always say you live in heavenly part of land and i want to visit it once in life but as i see these irresistible views i want to fly to your world right now :)

    this Temple is decorated with cosmos flowers so beautifully indeed !
    you capture everything so perfectly specially the shot of flowers in water is stunning !

    thank you for the history glimpse too . thank you for delightful treat to my soul friend!
    more shower of blessings upon you and loved ones!

  13. Hi Yoko,
    A place of extraordinary beauty and tranquility, so well captured through your wonderful photos.
    Have a great weekend

  14. Have you left your wish tablet, Yoko?) I do not expect an answer, just wondering. Lovey idea with flowers in water basins, looks like Nature and Man working in tandem. Summer is blooming in glorious Nara, I wish you leisurely walks, Yoko. Take care, dear friend.

  15. Those flowers in a bowl are just gorgeous!

  16. Πανέμορφη ανάρτηση! Οι φωτογραφίες δημιουργούν πολλά υπέροχα συναισθήματα. Πολλούς χαιρετισμούς από την Ελλάδα.

  17. So lovely to see the symmetry of the flowers displayed so beautifully. The ema votive tablets are especially interesting, and I enjoyed the history you provided.


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