Tokyobling's Blog

Hasedera Temple Gardens and Statues

Posted in Nature, Places by tokyobling on March 3, 2015

When I visited Hasedera temple in Kamakura city the main hall was undergoing renovation so I couldn’t get any good photos of it. Instead I spent the time in the vast temple gardens, full of statues, little shrines, jizo, trees, flowers and plants of all kinds. The temple is famous for the hundreds of peonies grown there, not in bloom when I was visiting though, but the kawazusakura, the plum trees and many others were.

The jizo statues of which you see so many in Japan are meant to placate the soul of children lost to miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion. The smaller ones are placed here by the parents, and they remain for a year before being removed, symbolizing the rebirth of the soul.

An interesting detail is the Manjiike (卍池), a swastika cross shaped pond. In buddhism the symbol represents eternity, and in Japan it has the added meaning of 10 000, which symbolizes “everything, the universe, the alpha and the omega”.

kamakura_hasedera_4051

kamakura_hasedera_3909

kamakura_hasedera_3910

kamakura_hasedera_3920

kamakura_hasedera_3923

kamakura_hasedera_3927

kamakura_hasedera_3930

kamakura_hasedera_3940

kamakura_hasedera_3949

kamakura_hasedera_3978

kamakura_hasedera_4010

kamakura_hasedera_4020

kamakura_hasedera_4023

kamakura_hasedera_4032

kamakura_hasedera_4034

kamakura_hasedera_4043

kamakura_hasedera_4055

Shinobazunoike – Shinobazu Pond in Winter

Posted in Nature, Places by tokyobling on February 23, 2015

The great pond in Ueno, the Shinobazunoike is famous its many lotus flowers, which have been a feature of the pond since at least the Edo period. I summer it is covered in a green carpet of lotuses, but in winter the dried husks and shells of the flowers form an equally interesting and photogenic space. The pond is also the home of many birds, some of whom are more than happy to serve as models for the passing photographers!

shinobuike_ueno_3654

shinobuike_ueno_3664

shinobuike_ueno_3670

shinobuike_ueno_3699

shinobuike_ueno_3700

shinobuike_ueno_3712

Botan – Peony – at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu

Posted in Nature by tokyobling on February 20, 2015

If any flower would ever be able to give the Plum blossoms a run for the title of The Flower of February here in Japan, it would be the botan, the humble peony. Right now in any number of gardens, temples, palaces and flower shops around Japan the peony is in full bloom. I saw these beautiful flowers at the entrance of the annual botan exhibition in Kamakura’s Tsurugaoka Hachimangu.

tsurugaoka_hachimangu_botan_4108

tsurugaoka_hachimangu_botan_4113

tsurugaoka_hachimangu_botan_4128

Trees of the Goryo Shrine – Kamakura

Posted in Nature, Places by tokyobling on February 18, 2015

Like most shrines in Japan the Goryo Jinja has a lot of trees, and most of them have a story to tell. The most important tree is a mere stump these days, the Yumi-tate-no-matsu (弓立の松) which features in the story of the samurai warrior to which this shrine is dedicated, Kamakura Gongoro Kagemasa. It is said that he once visited the spot where his shrine stands today, and during he visit he leaned his bow against this matsu tree (pine tree). Although the tree is long gone, the story lives on and the tree stump is today protected as part of the heritage of the shrine.

The following three photos are of the large tabunoki which has protected and shaded the shrine’s entrance for about 400 years. The tabunoki is often used in Asia as ingredient in the production of incense. After 400 years the tree is absolutely massive at over 20 meters in height! Another old tree that didn’t make it is an old peach tree that finally felled under the weight of the snow in last year’s February snowstorm.

Also standing strong at 400 years of age is the Meotoicho, or husband-and-wife-gingko tree, a twin trunked giant gingko tree. The left is a male, representing the husband, and the right is female, representing the wife. Due to the large amount of fruit produced by this tree it has come to represent a very fruitful married couple and those newly weds who wish for a large family often comes to tree to pay their respects and pray.

There are also a couple of plum trees inside the shrine grounds that were blooming on my visit, and even a Kawazu Sakura tree, the earliest blooming sakura tree variant, even in the Kanto region it starts blooming in February, almost two months before the other sakura trees, as you can see in the last two photos of this blog post.

kamakura_goryo_shrine_3855

kamakura_goryo_shrine_3790

kamakura_goryo_shrine_3795

kamakura_goryo_shrine_3804

kamakura_goryo_shrine_3873

kamakura_goryo_shrine_3875

kamakura_goryo_shrine_3877

kamakura_goryo_shrine_3901

kamakura_goryo_shrine_3902

kamakura_goryo_shrine_kawazu_3889

kamakura_goryo_shrine_3831

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,061 other followers

%d bloggers like this: