Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Last Sakura at Yoshino


Well Sakura, cherry blossoms, are giving way to fresh leaves around here now but to conclude this year's Sakura groupie I went to Mt.Yoshino, Nara. 
In season, they started blooming from lower areas called Shimo-senbon, then moving up to Naka-senbon ( middle areas) and to Kami-senbon (upper ones) , finally up to the inner areas called Oku-senbon. Senbon means 1000 trees, so totally there should be 4000 but actually there is said to be around 30,000 now.

 

                          seen from Hanayagura (花矢倉)at Kami-senbon
                     

The cherry tree legend at Mt.Yoshino started when En-no-Ozunu, a founder of Shugendō religion, engraved the image of Zaōgongen, a kind of deity, on a cherry tree when he attained enlightenment after a 1000 day- ascetic- training in the mountain in the latter half of 7th century.

 Since then worshippers have offered and planted cherry trees.

Many of Sakura here are Shiroyama-zakura or Oriental Cherry. The flowers bloom at the same time as a bit reddish new leaves appear so you can tell from Somei-yoshino, whose flowers bloom first.

 



I have been here several times in spring, in summer and in autumn. There are so many historical figures related to this place but I’d like to say a bit about two of them today.

First, Minamoto-no-Yoshitsune. Last year when I visited Yoshimizu Shrine, I saw these kimonos related to Shizuka-Gozen, Yoshitsune’s lover, on display. This was the place where they hid themselves from a party of pursuers. She danced the last dance for Yoshitsune on their painful parting here (1185), then he left her and continued running away.











Shizuka-Gozen
 
Yoshitsune (1159-1189) was expelled by his brother, Yoritomo and ended up killing himself at the age of 31. With this tragic life and death despite his great accomplishment in the battle against  the Taira clan, he has been favored by many Japanese who sympathized his misfortune and unfulfilled potentiality. "Hangan-biiki" came from him that means to sympathize and support the weaker side who has enough ability. As is often the case with the popular personalities in the history, there are many other stories about him, however, this mentality has been familiar to many Japanese people.








Secondly, speaking of Sakura of Yoshino, we can’t forget the well- known poet, Saigyo(1118-1190) . He was once an Imperial Palace Guard (北面の武士)for the retired Emperor, which was assigned to young warriors who were excellent both in literary and military arts and good looking as well. However, he became a Buddhist monk, for reasons unknown, at age 23. He travelled a lot, making soul-searching journeys and one of his favorite places was Yoshino. He loved Sakura very much and wrote many poems about them.
 


 

 



吉野山 こぞのしをりの道かへて まだ見ぬかたの 花をたづねむ

“I’ll forget the trail I marked out on Mount Yoshino last year, so go searching for blossoms in directions I’ve never been before”   ( translated by Watson Burton)

  




Before Saigyo’s time, Sakura blossoms in the mountain were objects to be admired in their imagination and written in the poem but Saigyo is said to be the first to go and see in the mountain and appreciate Sakura at first hand.


願わくは花の下にて春死なむ そのきさらぎの望月のころ
“Let me die in spring under the blossoming trees, let it be around that full moon of Kisaragi month” (translated by Watson Burton)
 
This “Kisaragi”means February but in the new calendar it is around the end of March; Gautama Buddha was supposed to have died on Kisaragi 15. Though this poem wrote many years before Saigyo’s death, the fact he actually passed away just as he wished and yet just one day later than Buddha’s  surprised and amazed people in those days.



仏には桜の花をたてまつれわが後の世を人とぶらはば
“Please offer Sakura flowers if there would be someone mourn for me”





taken last May
Here is a humble cottage where he is believed to have stayed for a while
at Okusenbon, where it is enclosed with forest. There are high summits and ridges and eroded V-shaped valleys leading to Kumano, Wakayama, so called Ōmine-okugake Route (大峯奥駆道)
; one of pilgrimage routes as well as Shugendo practitioners training route.
Yoshitsune's another hideout was 20 minutes' walk down from here. 

Sakura trees at Okusenbon are not many, besides, I heard they were not blooming yet, so I didn’t visit it this time.  I imagine how he would see and admire Sakura.


 





Sakura here are truly gentle and lovely.

On the way back, I saw this cloud. Looks like a dragon?

 

42 comments:

  1. こんばんは。流石、地元の方のブログは素晴らしいです。最初の短歌は竹林院の庭にも碑文が有りました。 このブログ、とても楽しめました。

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ありがとうございます。奈良が誇る世界遺産、特に桜は奈良に住むものとして是非紹介したいと思っていましたが、まだまだ未熟で伝えきれません。人ごみは苦手なので、特に春は敬遠していたのですが、4,5年前に行ってからは毎年桜に会えるのが楽しみになりました。

      Delete
  2. Keiko, I love the header photo, it's beautiful. It's easily understandable why Sakura flowers and trees have been so popular and why they've been inspiring poets and not only them. “Please offer Sakura flowers if there would be someone mourn for me”... sounds touching so much.

    The history facts are very interesting. My attention caught "young warriors who were excellent both in literary and military arts", one would say that combination of these two excellences is not to be easily found.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Petra,
      Why such a hopeful handsome young man who was exellent both in literary and military arts, which would not be easily found like you said became a monk? There are some speculations about it but still remains unknown. He projected life and death on Sakura and found beauty in them. He became a legend, whose poetic journey inspired another great poet 500 years later.

      Delete
  3. おはようございます。
    吉野の桜素晴らしいですね。桜を保存するために地元の方々が努力を尽くしておられることを聞いていますが、山奥の自然の中で命をつないでいる桜はひたむきで、その強さに心を奪われます。けい子さん、ヘッダーの写真、素晴らしいですね。けい子さんの今までの写真の中で一番好きです。飾り気なく素朴で、静かで、美しい。短歌も有難う。今朝は介護でテンションが、ピ―ンと上がってたのですが、おかげで今落ち着きました。Thank you so much for sharing!
    Have a happy day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ありがとう、Tomokoさん。まだまだ私の腕では美しさは捉えられませんが、でもうれしいです。
      吉野の桜は、現在たった二人の桜守によって引き継がれているそうですね。そのうちの一人は80歳のご高齢とか。今日の夕方のニュースで取り上げていました。お二人とも、吉野のご神木を絶やしてはならない、吉野の桜を守り次世代に伝えていくという強い信念と愛情をもって語っておられました。頭が下がりますね。

      介護の大変さ、良くわかります。ほんとによく頑張ってますよね。上手に息抜きしてくださいね。

      Delete
  4. おはようございます!
    おお、期待しておりましたよ。cosmosさんの吉野の記事。お写真も文もすばらしいです。
    義経と静の別れは切ないですね。確か彼女、16歳だったとか。あの頃から変わらず、大峰山、いまだに女人禁制なんですよね。私が行ったおりは上千本はちらほら、奥千本は蕾だったので、またいつか、もう少し遅い時期に訪ねたいです。
    う~~~~ん、最後のお写真、竜神さんかも! 三頭見えるようですね。ありがとうございます。

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ありがとうございます。あの静御前ゆかりの着物、イタリアのビッティ宮殿で「日本の秘蔵着物」の一つとして世界初出展されたそうです。静御前も驚いていることでしょう。今日で、奥千本は3分咲きだそうです。5月の吉野は桜の時期とは打って変わって賑わいはなくなりますが、新緑がまぶしくて私は好きです。
      訪問ありがとうございます。

      Delete
  5. 歴史に翻弄された人々の悲哀とピンクの霞か雲のように染め上げられた吉野山がとても優しく素敵にこのポストに綴られています。ヘッダーのお写真と10番目が好きです。

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 今まで行った中で、多分一番の満開だったかなと思います。あの柔らかな、優しい桜はやはり吉野ですね。人ごみが苦手で春の吉野は敬遠していたのに、一度行ってみると何回も行ってみたくなるものです。人ごみさえも、桜を愛でる喜びを共有できると思えるようになりました。でもやはり早めに行動しないと混雑は相当ですが。

      Delete
  6. What a beautiful journey you have taken us on, cosmos! The pictures breathe in a mysticism of their own. It looks like a forest seeped in history and wandered and admired by powerful, soulful personalities of yore. I am deeply touched by the stories you share: the timing of Saigo's death and his discoveries, his little cottage - all this is so intriguing to see. Thank you for all the lovely sights and stories, dear cosmos, always enjoy and appreciate my trips along with you. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The mountains must have been quite different In Saigyo's time from now. Yoshino was and still now a mecca of shugendo religion so the mountains were considered as sacred and the place for ascetics to train themselves. Saigyo tried to reach himself by putting himself in such a harsh environment. I can imagine Sakura and the moon looked all the more beautiful and impressed sensitive "soulful personality of yore" like you said. Sakura here has atracted many people as well as great writers in modern days.
      Thank you, dear Arti, for your lovely comments as always!

      Delete
  7. 花矢倉からの眺望は、すごいですね。文章もさすがです。桜がサーモンピンクで、柔らかい、暖かい春の山が表現されていて、絵本のようです。特にヘッダーの雰囲気がすばらしいと思います。
    Have a nice day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ありがとう、サラさん。まだまだカメラは上達しませんが、柔らかいピンクの色合いは出せたかなと思っています。花矢倉からの眺望が一番のビューポイントのようですが、上千本から降りてくる時の斜面を覆う櫻花には感激します。桜守さんたちの献身にも感謝です。

      Delete
  8. cosmosさんらしい丁寧なポストですね。山に分け入るほどに歴史を感じておられるのが良く解ります。一本ずつわずかに色合いの違う、野趣のある山桜大好きです。白洲正子さんの「西行」には遁世の理由の一つに待賢門院への思慕が仮説として挙げられ、「花狂い」と遁世の関係性も触れられてます。

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 夢枕獏さんの「宿神」でも、待賢門院との恋が描かれていますが、これは瀬戸内寂聴さんによれば
      「失恋の苦しさだけで人は出家などするものではないと固く思うし・・・」と自らの出家と照らし合わせて書かれています。色々に西行像がありますね。いつもコメントありがとうございます。

      Delete
  9. Cosmos--I didn't know any of this history, and it is fascinating. Your pictures are gorgeous, I wish I could visit there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jen.
      This is a part of World Heritage Site under the name Sacred Sites and Piligrimage Routes. Especially it is famous for its Sakura in spring. In season, you can see the whole mountain is like a huge Skaura bouquet !

      Delete
  10. cosmosさん こんにちは。
    様々な歴史を熟知されたcosmosさんから 素晴らしい絵物語を見せて頂きいろいろな事を感じました。
    おそらくこの山に多くの方が訪れるのは桜の美しさだけではなく、人を呼び、誘う古の人々の強い想い、魂が今もあるのでしょうね。 静御前のお着物拝見しました。 彼女の義経への愛、その後のご不幸を知ると、可哀そうでたまりません。
    最後のとても珍しい雲。 cosmosさんがこのようなブログにされた想いに対する 彼らの感謝の気持ちの表れのように私には思えます。  

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anzuさん、このようにコメントしてくださるAnzuさんに、すべてに対する深い思いを感じます。「歴史を熟知された」なんて言われると赤面してしまいます^ ^; 私は山には惹かれますが(海にもですが) 何故なのか。Anzuさんがおっしゃるようには考えたことはないのですが、登りはつらいですが懐かしいような、心の安らぎを感じるのは確かです。
      雲を見上げるのが好きです。ほんとに様々な形の芸術を見せてくれて、興味は尽きません。
      いつも心のこもったコメントありがとうございます。

      Delete
  11. ✿⊱°•

    Como são lindas as cerejeiras em flor!!!
    Bom fim de semana!
    ¸.•°✿✿º°。

    ReplyDelete
  12. beautiful picturesque BLOG!! Smiles:)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your countryside is transformed by the beautiful blossoms, and the stories behind them are so intriguing. Spring is certainly a magical time in Japan, and I've enjoyed your tour. I'm not sure why more people don't plant cherry or plum trees around here. I have a couple of plum trees in our garden which have done very well and would like to try growing a tart cherry tree (even though I promised SAM that I wouldn't plant any more trees:). The sweet cherry varieties can't tolerate as much heat as we get in the summer, but I believe the tart varieties would do well. Some excellent preserves can be made with those tart cherries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sakura is a signature tree in our country. Religious, aesthetic, philosophical, emotional values has been added to since ancient times. Simply they are beautiful in a single or in a mass, however, they are usually enjoyed ornamentally.
      As for sweet cherry varieties, we have quality ones in northern Japan. It's good you have a couple of plum trees in your garden which have done a good job !:-)
      I read that a tart cherry has an anti-inflammatory effect. I understand tart varieties can be made into tasty preserves as well as an alternative medicine.
      Thank you w2w for coming! Happy days ahead!

      Delete
  14. °º。✿✿° ·.

    Bom fim de semana!
    Beijinhos.

    °✿⊱º°。♪

    ReplyDelete

  15. Hello, cosmos.

      Your works is embraced in your gentleness.
      And sweet message charms my heart.

      The prayer for all peace.
      I wish You all the best.

    Have a good day. ruma ❀

    ReplyDelete
  16. cosmosさん こんにちは。 
    トップを飾るお花はつつじですか? 淡いピンク色が優しく、花弁が大きく優雅ですね。
    今頃 コスモスさんちのお庭に可愛い薔薇が咲き乱れていることでしょう。
    フッターのお写真は東京の桜ですね。 杉並のお嬢さの所へお越しだった時かしら?
    様々なお花を見せて頂くだけで、日々あっという間に過ぎていくことが分ります。
    美しい自然に囲まれた私達の暮らし。 家族も自分をも大切に慈しみ心穏やかに暮らせたら幸せですね。 
    好き勝手に書き散らしている為、コメント欄をクローズしご無沙汰してしまいました。
    お元気でお過ごしであられますように! 

    ReplyDelete
  17. Magia, Ruma. thank you for coming!

    Anzuさん、お久しぶりです。ブログ訪問しているのですが、Anzuさんのポストは一味も二味も違うので、コメントしたいなと思いながらもちょっと考えている間に欄がクローズされているので失礼しています。いつも不思議な魅力がありますよね^ ^
    ヘッダーの花は室生寺(女人高野)のシャクナゲです。深山のお寺を清楚な華やかさで彩っていました。
    今年は大阪、東京、吉野・・・と桜の追っかけをしました。どれも素晴らしかったです。特に靖国神社の桜には感銘を受けました。桜が私に語りかけたのか、私の思いの反映だったのか、とにかく胸を打つものがありました。
    今、我が家の庭はバラの花が咲いてくれています。毎朝、毎夕、違った表情を飽かずに眺めています。Anzuさんのお庭の花たちはいかがですか? 「心穏やかに暮らす」ためには心からの感謝の気持ちが持てる事でしょうね。ついつい忘れてしまいますが^^; ブログの更新はマイペースで、出来る時にしていこうと思っています。以前にも増して、間隔はあいてしまうかもしれませんが、元気に過ごしています。訪問ほんとにありがとうございました。

    ReplyDelete
  18. °º。✿✿彡
    °º。✿
    Bom fim de semana!
    Beijinhos do Brasil.✿º°。

    ReplyDelete
  19. I had something wrong with my browser so I could not see this post before. I'm trying it in Firefox now. Even though the sakura are long past, it's an interesting post because it gives a glimpse into Japanese culture and thought, which is one of the many things I like about your blog. I hope you will be back soon from your blog break.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jenny for your nice and encouraging words! Before I knew it, it's already the season of hydrangea. Maybe it's about time to resume blogging, at my own pace. Thank you for pushing me to do it,Jenny :)

      Delete
  20. Que bonito post, me he paseado por tu bloc y me ha encantado, te invito a ver el mío, esta semana viajamos a la India y decoramos con piezas hindúes terrazas y jardines, espero que te guste y si es así y no eres seguidora espero que te hagas ahora, gracias por visitarme.Elracodeldetall.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by here, Julia.

      Delete

  21. Hello, cosmos.

    Good feeling works.
    Thank you for your visiting always.

    I wish You all the best.
    Greeting.

    ReplyDelete
  22. ¸.•°♪♬

    Boa semana!
    Beijinhos.
    ¸.•°♪♬♫º°

    ReplyDelete
  23. Enjoying this pictures is a pleasure to stop by Greetings from Spain

    http://creatividadeimaginacinfotosdejosramn.blogspot.com.es/

    ReplyDelete
  24. Just dropped by to say a quick hello, dear cosmos. Hope you, and your family and Koo are doing well! :) Thank you for your encouraging comment on my blog today - Your presence always brings a delight on my face. Miss you, and your posts, I hope you will be blogging again very soon. Keep writing!! Take care and here's to super brilliant days ahead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so nice to hear from you, Arti! I am doing fine and so is Coo :) I have been inactive for blogging lately but enjoying visiting blog friends when I have time. I'll blog again soon ,hopefully, when I feel like writing.
      Thank you for your encouragement. Enjoy your summer and keep up the good work, Arti!

      Delete
  25. ✿⊱•°

    Bom fim de semana!
    Beijinhos.
    ¸.✿⊱╮╮

    ReplyDelete
  26. Nice Website...
    Hey JOIN now fblikesbot.com and Increase Facebook Likes your profile and websites.
    Increase Facebook Likes and check your website worth worth my websites
    its may be very beneficial for you also really

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting and leaving comments. It's really encouraging!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...