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Frost flower of Shimobashira, Keiskea japonia

Keiskea japonica/ シモバシラ/ 霜柱、霜華

Frost flower is blooming from stems of Keiskea japonia, Japanese name Shimo-bashira, which belongs to sage family.

Keiskea japonica/ シモバシラ/ 霜柱、霜華

Keiskea japonia blooms cluster of white flowers in autumn, turn into winter, live roots supply to stems and thin layers of ice are extruded from stems in cold early morning.

Keiskea japonica/ シモバシラ/ 霜柱、霜華

Keiskea japonica/ シモバシラ/ 霜柱、霜華

Keiskea japonica/ シモバシラ/ 霜柱、霜華

Keiskea japonica/ シモバシラ/ 霜柱、霜華

Frost flower can be seen only early morning in cold winter. I found them in Shakujii park. These flowers were vanished just after sun rise.

Keiskea japonica/ シモバシラ/ 霜柱、霜華

Keiskea japonica/ シモバシラ/ 霜柱、霜華

he plant is loved by Showa Emperor, who was also a botanist. This flower is an endemic species of Japan and named by famous Japanese botanist Prof. Keisuke Ito.

Keiskea japonica/ シモバシラ/ 霜柱、霜華

Keiskea japonica/ シモバシラ/ 霜柱、霜華

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First visit to my guardian shrine and Meiji shrine

Meiji shrine and my guardian shrine (1 January 2021)

Tokyo has a gentle and calm New year’s day.

Attracted by Japanese apricot’s fragrance, I visited my guidian’s shrine first.

I always enjoy this early blooming red double Japanese apricot.

It seemed fewer visitors than usual year.

Then I went to Meiji shrine where much fewer than usual year. I passed the first Torii gate very smoothly.

Very fewer people on the approaching way than the last year.

Walking speed became slower after south god’d gate, but much much smoother than average year!

There were not so much people at Shibuya scramble crossing.

I wish this year become much better year than last one.

Please click here to know the Meiji shrine more, here.

 

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Winter scene of Koishikawa Korakuen Garden

Koishikawa Korakuen Garden (25 December 2020)

I heard bad news that almost all metropolitan garden or park including Koishigawa koranken garden would be suddenly closed from 26 December to January 11 2021 because of rapid spread of COVID19 in these days.

Good combination of Japanese and Chinese style of Garden in late autumn and winter was there.

And I watched newly reconstructed Karamon gate (Chinese style gate) from Naitei (Inner garden).

I found early blooming pale pink Japanese apricot blossoms on branches.

Kadomatsu, new year’s bamboo decoration on the gate looks a little bit loneliness.

I was wondering to enjoy many gardens on this holiday season, so I was so shocked by this news.

If you want to know about Koishigawa koranken garden more, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Seven herbs of autumn (Akino nana kusa)

Seven herbs of autumn (18 September 2020)

I visited Mukojima hyakaen, literally “hundred flower garden” established in Edo era by rich merchant, admiring beaty of seven herbs of autumn.

Seven herbs of autumn were selected in Manyosyu by ancient poet Yamanoueno Okura lived in 7th century in these poems, “Aki-no No-ni Sakitaru Hana-wo Oyobiori Kakikazoureba Nanakusa-no Hana, Meaning: When I count on my fingers for blooming flowers in the autumn fields, I find there are seven.”“Hagi-no Hana Obana Kuzuhana Nadeshiko-no Hana Ominaeshi Mata Fujihakama Asagao-no Hana, Meaning: Bush clover, Susuki grass or Japanese panpas grass, Kudzu or Japanese arrowroot, Fringed pink or pink dianthus, Patrinia, Thoroughwort and Balloon flower”.

After selection, these flowers have been loved by Japanese people long time.

Thunberg’s bushclover (Lespedeza thunbergia) is the most popular bush clover which has soft branches with many large flowers on them.

Lespedeza thunbergii/ Thunberg’s bushclover/ ミヤギノハギ

Lespedeza thunbergii/ Thunberg’s bushclover/ ミヤギノハギ

Susuki grass or Japanese pampas grass is indispensable to mid-autumn moon viewing. But this flower is soberer than other seven flowers. It looks a little bit weird in night field, like poem said that the ghost, when examined closely is withered silver grass.

Miscanthus sinensis/ Chinese silver grass/ ススキ

Miscanthus sinensis/ Chinese silver grass/ ススキ

Kudzu flower has been loved and roots eaten from ancient time in Japan but hated in USA as a noxious weeds.

Pueraria lobata/ Kudzu/ クズ

Pueraria lobata/ Kudzu/ クズ

Fringed pink or pink dianthus, this is a kind of dianthus and has five deeply cut fringed pink petals this sometimes resembled graceful Japanese lady. The flower cannot be found this time and this picture taken in Shinjyuku gyoen garden in June.

Dianthus superbus/ Fringed pink/ カワラナデシコ

Dianthus superbus/ Fringed pink/ カワラナデシコ

Patrinia, It has thin, erect stems with few leaves and bearing a terminal attractive inflorescence with yellow or white small flowers.

Patrinia scabiosifolia/ Patrinia/ オミナエシ

Patrinia scabiosifolia/ Patrinia/ オミナエシ

Thoroughwort, The shallow lavender color flowers are collected together into heads that are densely corymbose, the inflorescence are usually 3 to 6 cm wide.When the flowers dried up, it has weak but good smell.

Eupatorium japonicum/ Thoroughwort/ フジバカバ

Eupatorium japonicum/ Thoroughwort/ フジバカバ

Ballon flower or Japanese bell flower, The plants has blue flowers in late summer, with five petals are fused together into a bell shape. Though blue flowers are common, but there are varieties with white, pink, and purple blooms. The flower bud is like a balloon before fully opening. The flower usually has 5 petals but occasionally 6 or 4 petal’s flowers can be found.

Platycodon grandiflorus/ Balloon flower キキョウ

Platycodon grandiflorus/ Balloon flower キキョウ

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Strolling Higashiyama, Kyoto

Higashiyama Sannei and Ninen slope (10 September 2020)

Onde of the most popular and typical Kyoto scene alleys, Higashiyama, from Kiyomizu to Yasha shrine. I was strolling through empty sunset streets, Sannei slope and Ninen slope.

人通りの途絶えた夕暮れの産寧坂、二年坂、以前は多くの人でにぎわいましたが、コロナ禍で寂しい夕暮れです。Empty sun-set streets, Sannei slope and Ninen slope, they used be very popular and crowded alleys even after sunset.

人通りの途絶えた夕暮れの産寧坂、二年坂、以前は多くの人でにぎわいましたが、コロナ禍で寂しい夕暮れです。Empty sun-set streets, Sannei slope and Ninen slope, they used be very popular and crowded alleys even after sunset.

人通りの途絶えた夕暮れの産寧坂、二年坂、以前は多くの人でにぎわいましたが、コロナ禍で寂しい夕暮れです。Empty sun-set streets, Sannei slope and Ninen slope, they used be very popular and crowded alleys even after sunset.

This area is usually very popular even after sunset, but currently very quiet because of new coronavirus.

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Kiyomizu temple large-scale renovation almost finished

Kiyomizu temple (10 September 2020)

I headed down to the Kiyomizu temple where large-scale renovation has been almost finished and temporally cover of main building has been removed recently, from the golden pavilion in Rokuon-ji temple.

Visitors climbs up to the main building (overhanging stage) on middle of mountainside of Mt. Otowa through Nio-mon (Deva gate) (left side) or Sai-mon (west gate) besides three-story Pagoda.

Nio-mon (Deva gate) (left side) and Sai-mon (west gate) and Three-story Pagoda

Nio-mon (Deva gate) (left side) and Sai-mon (west gate) and Three-story Pagoda

I was able to look at beautiful renovated cypress bark roof on the building, but repairing floor woods on the famous stage is still undergoing then it will be next spring all scaffolds removed.

有名な檜舞台は改修中で少ししか出られませんでした。Famous overhanging Hinoki (Japanese cypress) stage was only partly allowed to step out because of renovation work.

Famous overhanging Hinoki (Japanese cypress) stage was allowed to step out partly because of renovation work.

まだ舞台の上と下には工事の覆いがありますが、葺き替え工事が終わった本堂の檜皮葺き屋根は美しいです。It is still covered on and under the stage by ongoing repair work, but main building’s cypress bark roof recently finished renovation looks very beautiful.

It is still covered on and under the stage by ongoing repair work, but main building’s cypress bark roof renovation was recently finished

Koyasu pagoda It is dedicated to Koyasu Kannon, a goddess who grants safe delivery of children. It is located on a small hill right across the temple’s main hall.

Koyasu pagoda It is dedicated to Koyasu Kannon, a goddess who grants safe delivery of children. It is located on a small hill right across the temple’s main hall.

Overview from Koayasu Kannon

Overview of the main buildings from Koayasu Kannon

Entrance of Jishu Jinja Shrine, Deity of love and relationships (En-musubi).

Entrance of Jishu Jinja Shrine, Deity of love and relationships (En-musubi).

Otowa no taki (Otowa Waterfall) where visitors used to catch pure water, named “Konjiki-sui” (golden water) or “Enmei-sui” (life-prolonging water) with ladles and pray for purification, but currently using ladles is prohibited for avoiding new coronavirus.

Otowa no taki (Otowa Waterfall) where visitors used to catch pure water, named “Konjiki-sui” (golden water) or “Enmei-sui” (life-prolonging water) with ladles and pray for purification, but currently using ladles is prohibited for avoiding new corona virus.

It is necessary of maintenance work keeping historical beautiful scene so I has good chance to take such on-going renovation pictures of popular temples.

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Scaffolded the Kinkaku, Golden Pavilion in Rokuon-ji

Kinkaku, Golden Pavilion (10 September 2020)

When I arrived at the entrance to the golden pavilion in Rokuon-ji temple I was told that the pavilion was covered by scaffolds to renew wood shingle roof. This repair work has started from the beginning of September and will continue to December.

It was a little bit regrettable not to take beautiful picture but I changed my mind it was good chance to see rare scene of the covered pavilion.

足場で囲われた金閣 まだ工事が始まったばかりなので中の様子も見られます。The golden pavilion covered by scaffolds. It was just started renovation work so a little bit visible inside through the scaffolds.

It was just started renovation work so a little bit visible inside through the scaffolds.

記念写真用?囲いのない金閣寺の写真も準備されていました。Pictures standing at the best picturing spot may be for memory snapshot

記念写真用?囲いのない金閣寺の写真も準備されていました。Pictures standing at the best picturing spot may be for memory snapshot

Pictures standing at the best picturing spot may be for memory snapshot

鏡湖池 金閣側から見た池は少し寂しげです The pond of Kyoko-chi, The scene from the pavilion looks a little bit lonely.

The pond of Kyoko-chi, The scene from the pavilion looks a little bit lonely.

I strolled in the garden of temple with very few visitors.

Hojo, the head priest's former living quarters

Hojo, the head priest’s former living quarters

Anmintaku

Anmintaku is a pond surrounded by deep forest. As it does not dry up even during droughts, it has been used as a place to pray for rain. The small islet inside the pond holds a five-ringed stone pagoda known as Hakuja-cho, or White Snake Mound

Fudo-do The principal image of the temple is a stone statue built by Kobo Daishi of Fudo Myo-o (Skt. Acala)

Fudo-do The principal image of the temple is a stone statue built by Kobo Daishi of Fudo Myo-o (Skt. Acala)

御守売場 可愛らしい姿です。 A cute shape charm selling hut

A cute shape of charm selling hut

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Strolling in Nijo-jo Castle

Nijo-jo Castle (10 September 2020)

Nijo-jo castle located not far from the Imperial Palace, which was built as the residence of the Tokugawa shoguns in Kyoto to guard the Imperial palace namely but actually to show the power of the shogun and for vigilance to Emperor. It was eyewitness of 260-year history of the Tokugawa shogunate from the announcement of appointment of first Shogun Ieyasu to the the declaration of last shogun Yoshinobu, returning the authority to the Imperial Court.

We can enter it through Higashi Ote-mon gate (east gate), typical massive gate may not be harmonized with surrounding elegant atmosphere.

東大手門 Higashi Ote-mon gate (east gate)

. The gate was altered for the visit of the Gomizuo Emperor to one-storey avoiding look-down.

The Karamon Gate, relocated from Fushimi Castle originally set up, it has typical decoration of Momoyama era magnificent and brilliant carvings of auspicious symbols.

唐門 Karamon Gate

唐門 Karamon Gate

Brilliant carvings of auspicious symbols, like pine, bamboo, Japanese apricot blossom, crane and turtle, symbolizing longevity and guardian animal like lion and dragon.

Ninomaru-goten palace, connected buildings, is archetypical of the shoin-zukuri style, visitors can admire wall paintings, carved transoms and exquisite metalworks of 33 rooms walking through “nightingale corridors”. As it is prohibited to take photos, please find form here if you want to see inside. https://nijo-jocastle.city.kyoto.lg.jp/introduction/highlights/ninomaru/?lang=en

二の丸御殿 Ninomaru-goten palace

Ninomaru garden was built according to the Shinsenhorai ideology forming paradise, which is designed to be enjoyed from Shogun seat in some rooms in the palace.

二の丸庭園 Ninomaru garden

二の丸庭園 Ninomaru garden

大広間外観 Outside view of Oohiroma

Outside view of Oohiroma, attached temporal ventilation system looks so bad.

The base of the keep tower, on this place a five-storey with 6 floors tower used to stand however was struck by lightning and burned down and never rebuilt.

天守跡 The base of the keep tower

From the base of the keep tower we can enjoy views of city of Kyoto.

I was able to relax in newly constructed Seiryu-en garden northside of the castle.

清流園 Seiryu-en garden

Seiryu-en garden laid out in 1965 is a fusion of Eastern and Western style

枝垂れ槐(えんじゅ) Weeping Japanese pagoda

。Weeping Japanese pagoda (Sophora japonica f. Pendulum) Weeping variety of Japanese pagoda tree, this is my first time to weeping type

 

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Learn at Kyoto Imperial palace

 Kyoto Imperial palace (10 September 2020)

To visit the Kyoto Imperial Palace, I walked along with long earthen wall with few other visitors after passed in front of Kenreimon gate main gate of the Imperial palace.

正門である建礼門 Kenreimon gate main gate of the Imperial palace

This main gate is only used for important rituals such as enthronement and Emperor and national guests who can pass through this gate

築地塀 Earthen wall

Earthen wall surrounding the palace which 450m from north to south and 250m from east to west

I was attracted by elegant shape of a carriage porch.It is exclusively used for high ranking courtiers when they attend court rituals or had an audience with the emperor.

御車寄 Okurumayose, Carriage porch

I was able to feel dignity of the most important but simple design building, Shishinden, hall for state ceremonies, the most important building in the palace, simple but dignified design

朱塗りの月華門 Gekkamon, vermilion gate

Gekkamon, vermilion gate, one of the naikaku-mon gates that comprised the dairi and roof of Shishinden

承明門から見た紫宸殿 Shishinden from Jomeimon gate

Shishinden from Jomeimon gate

紫宸殿 Shishinden, hall for state ceremonies

紫宸殿 左近の桜 品種はヤマザクラ East side cherry tree in front of garden of Shishinden

East side cherry tree in front of garden of Shishinden

紫宸殿 右近の橘 West side Citrus tachibana tree in front of garden of Shishinden

West side Citrus tachibana tree in front of garden of Shishinden

高御座と御帳台 The Imperial Throne and August Seat of the Empress.

The Imperial Throne and August Seat of the Empress. Unfortunately, public exhibition was finished and only pictures are exhibited

清涼殿への通路 Corridor to Seiryoden

Corridor to Seiryoden, it is temporally closed because of under repairment

Kogosyo, it was used to hold ceremonies and imperial audiences with members of the samurai class. It is famous place held called Kogosyo meeting for discussions how to deal with the Shogunate during the Meiji Restoration.

小御所 Kogosyo

小御所の障壁画 Wall painting in Kogosyo

Wall painting in Kogosyo

Court yard for Kemari, between Kogosyo and Gogakumosyo, study place for Emperor, Emperor sometimes listened sound of game of Kemari.

蹴鞠の庭 Court yard for Kemari, ancient football game of the Imperial Court

蹴鞠の庭 Court yard for Kemari, ancient football game of the Imperial Court

Court yard for Kemari, ancient football game of the Imperial Court

I enjoyed inner gardens and Imperial residential Palace, Otsunegoten and felt ancient elegant atmosphere by them

御池庭 欅橋 Keyagibashi bridge Oikeniwa garden

Keyagibashi bridge Oikeniwa garden

ススキ Japanese pampas grass

Japanese pampas grass tells us autumn is coming

御常御殿 天皇陛下の儀式と生活の場所 Imperial residential Palace, Otsunegoten

Imperial residential Palace, Otsunegoten

Next destination is Nijyo-jo castle

 

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Visit to Sento Imperial palace and Omiya Imperial palace

Sento Imperial palace and Omiya Imperial palace (10 September 2020)

The Sento place was served as a residence for the Emperor Emeritus and the next Omiya palace was built for Empress Dowager in Edo erta.

Main gate of Sento palace, only open fro the Imperial family or national guest.

仙洞御所 正門 Main gate of Sento palace,

The Omiya palace where Empress Dowager Eisho lived in 19th century. Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress and Their Majesties the Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita stay at this Palace during royal visits currently after the Imperial palace moved to Tokyo.

大宮御所御常御殿 Omiya palace Empress Dowager

Japanese apricot in the garden of pine, bamboo and Japanese apricot, in the Omiya palace

大宮御所 松竹梅の庭の梅 Japanese apricot in the garden pine, bamboo and Japanese apricot, in Omiya palace

Pine, in the garden pine, bamboo and Japanese apricot, in the Omiya palace

大宮御所 松竹梅の庭の松 Pine, in the garden pine, bamboo and Japanese apricot, in Omiya palace

Henon bamboo, in the garden pine, bamboo and Japanese apricot, in Omiya palace

大宮御所 松竹梅の庭の破竹(呉竹)Henon bamboo, in the garden pine, bamboo and Japanese apricot, in Omiya palace

North pond in Sento Imperial Palace.

仙洞御所庭園の北池 North pond in Sento Imperial Palace.

百日紅 Crape myrtle

Crape myrtle

Yushintei, a teahouse with thatch and shingle roof.

又新亭(ゆうしんてい)、茅葺と杮葺の茶室で落ち着いた雰囲気です。Yushintei, a teahouse with thatch and shingle roof.

又新亭(ゆうしんてい) 枝を残した四ツ目垣と円窓、Yushintei, teahouse, Yotsume-gaki lattice fence with small branch, and a round window  

Yotsume-gaki lattice fence with small branch, and a round window

South pond scene, shoreline called “suhama” with laid down flat and oval stones and some bridges including zig zag bridge called Yatsuhashi covered by wisteria vines.

仙洞御所庭園の南池 Suuth pond in Sento Imperial Palace.

Teahouse Seikatei, designed for tea ceremony of Sencha (middle class green tea) and enjoyable for tea, meal and drink sake. The view from this teahouse to south pond is a previous one.

醒花亭(せいかてい) Teahouse Seikatei

ベンガラ塗りの美しい壁 Beautiful wall with Bengal, iron oxide red

Beautiful wall with Bengal, iron oxide red

萩の花 Bush clover

Bush clover

Pine tree in the front garden of Omiya palace. Pruning called “Gosyo sukashi” to form branches horizontal and downward style

大宮御所 前庭の松 Pine tree on the front garden of Omiya palace

Let’s move to the Imperial Palace next.