Tengu and nature mountain, Takao

I visited Mt. Takao and prayed Tengu, long-nosed demon-like beings, to end-up the pandemic of COVID19, among most of the popular places in Tokyo were closed because of the third emergency declaration of COVID19.

The place gained the Michelin three stars several years ago and becomes popular with foreigners as a place where we can enjoy the nature and religious facilities only one-hour trip from the heart of Tokyo.

In the future, I may guide foreign guests, so I wanted to check many walking paths as much as possible. Takao-san Yakuo-in, a temple of syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism, on the top of the mountain, in the precincts, the Yakuou Nyorai, the Buddha of Healings, enshrined in the main hall, Izuna Daigongen (great incarnation) is enshrined in the main shrine, and Tengu, strongly connected worship sacred mountain, is guarding all facility of the temple.

It looks very difficult to explain such complexity in clearly and briefly.

But I enjoyed by strolling around the well-maintained promenade and enjoyed the rich nature and wonderful scenery, without thinking such difficult things.

The broth of the tororo-soba, buckwheat noodle with grated yam, on the mountaintop soba shop was a little thick, but it was just right for a sweaty and tired body.

Here are some of the wonderful flowers I met along the mountain paths.

Iris Japonica/ Fringed iris/ シャガ 著莪
This purple and yellow spotted on fringed pale blue purple flower is the most comonly seen flowr in Mt. Takao at this time. It has botnical name “Iris Japonica but native in China.

Viola yezoensis f. discolor/ Mt. Takao viola/ タカオスミレ 高尾菫
This viola species is found at wet and half shady forest edges along streams. The Japanese name Takao-sumire literally meaning Mt. Takao viola was named because it was first found in Mt. Takao.

Calanthe discolor/ Calanthe Orchid/ エビネラン 海老根蘭
One of the popular wild orchid on the ground in Japan, there are many colors of flowers.However wild ones are declinded in thses days.

Ajuga nipponensis/ Bugleweed/ ジュウニヒトエ 十二単
Japanese name “Junihitoe” means an elegant kimono with 12 silk layers of Japanese medieval aristocratic women’s outfits.

Asarum tamaense/ Wild ginger of Tama hills/ タマノカンアオイ 多摩の寒葵
This plant, growing Tama hills area, has bell-shaped purple to brown-purple flowers with a test cylinder shape center, under a dull glimed glowing heart-shaped leaf.

Monotropastrum humile/ ギンリョウソウ 銀竜草
It is a saprophytic plant (grow on leaf soils and grow with fungi to break down its nutrients), the entire plant is white without lack of chlorophyll.

Valeriana flaccidissima/ ツルカノコソウ 蔓鹿の子草
This small flower, which resembles a gypsophila, belongs the same group of Patrinia.The Japanese name Tsuru-kanoko-so literally meaning vine fawn plants was named because the shape of flowers from above resemble kanoko-shibori, a cloth dyed in a dapple pattern.

Viola grypoceras/ タチツボスミレ 立壺菫
One of the most popular violet in Japan blooming in spring with light violet or white flowers.

Glechoma hederacea subsp. grandis/ Ground-ivy/ カキドオシ
The Japanese name Kaki-dosi literally meaning going through fence was named because it grows through fences to the nextdoor gardens. Flowers are tubular lip-shaped and about 1..5 to 2..5 cm long. The color of flowers is light purple to red and the largest lower petal with purple dotted patterns.

Anemone flaccida/ Wind flower/ ニリンソウ
Anemone flaccida is a small, mountain native, species of Anemone couple of white cup-like flowers with white anthers

Old and giant wisteria in Ashikaga Flower park

I visited Ashikaga flower park, famous of transplanted giant and old wisteria where introduced as the One of CNN Top 10 Dream Destination in the World, two-hour drive from my home in this weekend.

Even though large wisteria was just starting blooming, I was able to watch many kind of wisteria, and enjoyed weeping wisteria in strong wind.

I also watched many spring flowers in the flower garden.

Then I visited historical place, Ashikaga Gakko, or Ashikaga school, the school was a center for Confucianism and secular learning, and one of the largest and famous school in 15th to 16th centuries although it has longer histories.

I enjoyed the tranquil and warm spring afternoon time in there.

Sky blue carpet of Baby blue eyes

I enjoyed two-hour drive for watching sky blue carpet by Nemophila or Baby blue eyes in Hitachi Seaside park. Many flowers bloom earlier than usual year in this year but differences from normal year look depend on each species or varieties, so it is hard to find best timing of them.

I visited there me avoiding the overclouded park but it seemed a little bit earlier than the best for watching, however this weekend can be the best time if we have good weather and warm days in couple days.

Contrast of yellow of rape seed follower and sky blue is also very attractive and beautiful.

Cherry, Five story pagoda and Mountain Fuji

I visited popular viewing spot cherry and a Chreito Pagoda (Cenotaph monument) in Mt. Arakura Sengen park in Fujiyoshida city.

I enjoyed special view of the pagoda and Mt. Fuji in a shower of cherry blossom. Although I was not able to watch whole figure of Mt. Fuji and it was difficult to take a good phot of cherry shower, I enjoyed beautiful spring scene.

And I moved to Kofu basin for searching another iconic spring view, earthly paradise or spreading peach blossom spring.

And then I relaxed in a hot spring with panorama view of Kofu basin and Mt. Fuji. 

Tama forest science garden in Takao Mt.

I visited Tama forest science garden belong to Forestry agency where has been closed by damage of a typhoon 1 year and half ago and COVID19. Now it is reopened and I enjoyed many varieties of cherries in mountain foot of Mt. Takao. Cherry in mountain has different attractive character than cherry in downtown.

We can watch from upper side of mountain on of tree and can find other face of charry. Please enjoy many pictures of cherry including some unique varieties.

Shinjuku gyoen cherry report 2

I have visited to the Shinjuku-gyoen for checking cherry blooming, again.

Comparing to the last week, it is starting blooming mid- to late-glooming varieties while still Somei-yoshino keeping their flowers, so I can enjoy various colors and shape like purplish scarlet “Cyosyu-hizakura, to green yellow Ukon.

And simple petal’s Smei-yoshino and Ichiyo and Fugenzo are their green small leaflet in the flowers.   

Shinjuku Gyoen Cherry report

Just after lift-off COVID emergency declaration, I visited Shinjuku Gyoen garden. In the garden I enjoyed varieties of scene of cherry blossom as well as many kinds of cherry varieties.

Somei Yoshino, the most popular variety, was 50%-70% blossom and will be soon full blooming. Earlier blooming variety, like Yoko or Edo higan (weeping) have already past best time.

We can enjoy many interesting varieties collected from all over the Japan. Late blooming, double petal varieties like Ichiyo or Kanzan will be good time one or two weeks, I am looking forward to watching again.

It is still restriction like only booked visitors or with annual pass can enter the garden even after reopening, so many visitors were crowded and confused. I cannot understand such restriction since not so many visitors inside the park or no meaning of closing such open space. I am a little bit worried about confusion in the weekend.


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, which belongs to sage family. Keiskea japonia blooms cluster of white flowers in autumn, turn into winter, live roots supply to stems and thin layers of ice are extruded fromstems 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

The 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.

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.


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.