Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Flower Temple

In the wee hour of this morning, I was woken by the sound of heavy rain, followed by thunder with a vivid flash of lightning coming through the opening of the curtains. However, by the time I got up, it had already let up and became fine day. It seemed a lull in the rain.

Well, Japanese blog friends of mine posted their pictures of hydrangeas, so I’d like to show mine. Mimurotoji Temple in Kyoto is famous as one of the 33 Holly Places of the western part of Japan. Believed to have been built in 8th century, since then it had burned down twice and the current one was rebuilt in 1805.


Hondo, main hall. This architectural style, irimoya, a hip and gable roof, was introduced from China at the same time as Buddhism (mid-6th century).

Muromachi-period (1333—1568) karesansui; waterless rock and sand garden.

It’s kaiyu-style garden ;“many-pleasure”-style manicured garden for strolling.

It is also well known as a flower temple full of colorful azaleas, rhododendrons, lotus blossoms and now hydrangeas, descending down the hillside to the Uji river.

The stone monument in the temple ground, dedicated to the tragic lady Ukifune, a fictional character in the Uji chapters, the Tale of Genji written by Murasaki Shikibu in early 11th century.  She is said to be buried here. In the story, the beautiful Ukifune is loved by two noblemen but finds herself wavering between them . Eventually she becomes so distracted that she throws herself into the Uji river. What has become of her? If you are interested, why don't you try reading, though the story is extremely long.


  1. Hi,Cosmos.
    Wow! Great post!
    Mimurotoji temple のアジサイが有名なことは聞いていました。でもこれほど、沢山のアジサイが咲いてるとは、想像しませんでした。1枚目の写真にハスの葉も見えますね。Thank your for sharing the brief story of Ukifune.Cosmos!
    Have a nice day!

  2. You were very lucky to be able to see hydrangeas during the lull of the rains, cosmos. After rainfall they look revived, while in the strong sun they look tired. Your photos tell that rains are also enriching greens. The last photo is magical: another world might be lurking beneath the deep green reflections of water.

    I have been to there once long time ago, consequently I have faint memory except stunning hydrangeas. Thank you for reminding me of its gardens and architectures.

  3. redrose


    梅雨の晴れ間、なんとなく気ぜわしいですね。Have a nice weekend!

  4. stardust
    Mimurotoji temple is about one hour drive from my house, so at the time of hydrangeas, I've been there a few times.
    The last photo is at Ikkyuji temple I stopped by on the way home. Actually I haven't noticed the temple before.As a Zen temple it was quiet and sober.
    Thank you for the comment, stardust

  5. Hello Cosmos!
    Flower Temple certainly deserves it's name,these gardens are very beautiful.The hydrangeas look splendid,I especially like the pendulous white one which resembles lilac.I have two of these plants in my garden,one blooms now and has small pink pom-pom heads and the other is a later flowering variety which will be in bloom in a few weeks.
    Your photos are lovely the last one particular. I notice wires over the pond in the manicured garden.Is this to deter predatory birds? Here people with fish ponds sometimes use wires or netting to protect the fish from herons.

    Thanks for the interesting links and for sharing your visit.

    Have a lovely day!

  6. WOW! An amazinig sea of hydrangeas! As far as I remember, I haven't been there before. What station is the most convenient? If possible, I'd like to visit the temple next year. Which man do you like better? Prince Fragrance(匂宮)or Lord Aroma(薫の君)? Me? The Prince. I found it very interesting that the Prince competes against the Lord in fragrance as well as in the love for Ukifune. Thanks so much for sharing for these beautiful photos!


  7. Hello Ruby,

    You are so observant as to notice the wire over the pond. Like you said, it's to protect carp from herons but it doesn't seem to work, said the man in the temple. Being aesthetic can't always coexist with natural food chains.

    Thank you for visiting, Ruby.
    Have a happy day!

  8. A hillside filled with hydrangeas certainly makes a big impression. And such a variety of them! If I could alter the landscape where we now live, it would be in such a manner.

    Your pictures capture a spirit of renewal as well as treasured traditions--a balance as there should be. I would love to visit this place someday.

  9. Thank you for sharing these photos about refined temples. I have never been visited them. It depends on the temple, of course, but temples and their precincts in Kyoto have larger scale than those of those in Nara.

    I like the last photo, very much.

  10. sapphire
    Actually I haven't read the "Tale of Genji" except the "highlights" but by the knowledge of hearsay, I prefer Kaoru-no-miya.
    As for the transport to the temple,
    three choices are available;
    ① 京阪三室戸駅より 1.0km
    ② JR宇治駅より 2.0km
    ③ 京阪宇治駅より 1.5km

    By the way, my husband and I are seeing the possible new member of my family tomorrow.

    Thank you for stopping by again, sapphire.

  11. What a beautiful hydrangea Mimurotoji has,too! As you say they are easy to grow and fit in this rainy season. I have been around there, Byodoin,Manpukuji,uji river etc,except Mimurotoji. I will go some time.
    I read "愛する源氏物語”by 俵万智. This book simplify that story according to their waka. This book says that Ukihasi failed in suicide and became a priest. It's good that there was the way of reset.

  12. walk2write
    Hopefully "a spirit of renewal won't spoil "treasured tradition".
    Thank you for your lovely comment.

    Thank you for visiting.

    I haven't been to enough temples in Nara and in Kyoto to compare but as a matter of course, I'm much familiar with temples in Nara. It is the place where I can see and feel history and culture and temperate surroundings. Actually it's a kind of acquired taste for me, though.
    Thank you, haricot.

    My husband had a trial experience of practicing zazen staying overnight at Manpukuji temple. Maybe he had something on his mind, I don't know for sure but it must have been some experience.
    Thank you for the comment, sarah.

  13. I would love to visit this garden during the hydrangea season. Thank you for these lovely pictures.

  14. Many thanks for your detailed explanation about the railway stations. I'll probably use JR.

  15. I have heard the name of Mimuroto-ji temple many times with the name of Yata-dra temple. Your photos show me absolutely it is worth seeing. To enjoy the flowers in the best time is very difficult. I love viewing flowers not in full bloom, but in the 80% bloom or less.
    I think you visited the temple in the best time.
    Every season our minds are hurried, not only Sakura season. To be a pilgrim following from flowers to flowers must be very peaceful and soothing.
    But, there are beautiful flowers, there are so many people.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Have a great day!

  16. Jenny Woolf
    I'm glad you liked this garden. Thank you for stopping by.

    I understand what you mean; flowers seem to be most beautiful just before in full bloom. I think it may hold true about most of things. Flowers in full bloom, however, leave vivid memory in my heart promising that they will come back again following year.
    Thank you for taking time to comment,snowwhite.

  17. Your temple in Japan is fantastic! So much great details and color.And a wood with flowers.. just lovely!

    Thanks for your nice comment. Hope you have great days.
    Hugs from Tania:-)


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