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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ume festivals(1)

Several ume festivals are taking place in Japan, but ume blossoms are late in blooming because of the severe cold this year.
Although ume(梅,Prunus mume) is often translated into English as plum, it is more closely related to the apricot. Plum(Prunus salicina) is referred to sumomo(酢桃 or 李) in Japan.

The Mito Ume Festival(水戸の梅まつり) is being held at Kairaku-en(偕楽園) and Kodo-kan(弘道館) in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture from February 18th to March 31st.

Kairaku-en


Kairaku-en
photo by 日本列島お国自慢
 
Kairaku-en (偕楽園) is a traditional garden that Tokugawa Nariaki(徳川斉昭), the 9th lord of the Mito Domain, built in 1842. The garden is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, along with Kenroku-en(兼六園) in Kanazawa and Koraku-en(後楽園) in Okayama.
The garden has 3,000 ume trees of 100 different kinds.

Kobuntei
The Kobuntei(好文亭) is a a traditional Japanese style building built in the garden in 1842. The building is said to have been built to Nariaki's design.

Japanese traditional style house interior
/ 水戸(みと)・好文亭(こうぶんてい)
/ TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋) /flickr
The Kobuntei was burnt down due to the war in 1945 and partially destroyed due to a lightning strike in 1969. It was reconstructed each time.


Japanese traditional style house
 / 水戸(みと)・好文亭(こうぶんてい)
 by TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋) /flickr

Its mud walls crumbled due to the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th in 2011. At the same time, landslides occurred and the roads were cracked in the garden.
Japanese traditional style house interior
 /水戸(みと)・好文亭(こうぶんてい)
 by TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋) /flickr

No damage was done to 3,000 ume trees, but no visitors could see the trees in full bloom last year.



Japanese traditional style house interior
/ 水戸(みと)・好文亭(こうぶんてい)
by TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋) /flickr

The disaster-relief work was completed, so the whole of the garden was reopened on February 7th this year.


Japanese traditional style house interior
/ 水戸(みと)・好文亭(こうぶんてい)
 by TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋) /flickr

The name Kobuntei(好文亭) is derived from Kobunboku(好文木) which is another name for ume. Kobunboku(好文木) means the tree liking for learning.


Japanese traditional style house interior
/ 水戸(みと)・好文亭(こうぶんてい)
 by TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋) /flickr

Ume came to be called so because of an episode in a record of Jin Dynasty of China named "晉起居注".
Kairaku-en on March 10, 2011
ume trees were  almost in full bloom
According to it, ume trees were blooming as long as the Emperor Wu(晉武帝,236-290) was dedicated to learning, and they had not bloomed as long as he was neglecting learning.


Kobuntei and Joban Line train
Joban Line train stops at Kairaku-en Station(the temporal passenger station) during the festival.

Japanese traditional style house
/ 弘道館(こうどうかん)
by TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋) /flickr



Kodo-kan(弘道館) was built as a public school for the children of samurai families by Nariaki in the Edo Period. It was also damaged by the quake.
Japanese traditional style house
/ 弘道館(こうどうかん)
by TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋) /flickr






 The garden illuminated the trees with lights
on March 5  in  2011
Kairaku-en means the garden to enjoy with common people.
As its name indicates the garden was open to the public six times a month, and admission to the garden is free now (entry into the Kobuntei costs 190 yen.)

 fireworks on March 5 in 2011

on March 5 in 2011
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

4 comments:

  1. Hello Ichinen, good morning (here the day is just started). Another great story I've read with interest! I love the way you talk about culturel events in Japan, it has a rich history and traditions! I like the photos of the Kobuntei building, because of the interior. As I told you I'm building a teahouse, so every photo of an Japanese house interior is very interesting for me. Thank you.
    I read about the damage from the earthquake, it will take a lot of time to restore/rebuild the damaged houses gardens etc. But I hope the Japanese people do, because of the rich history of your country.
    Again thanks a lot for your story, it's great you do that.
    Kind regards, Ilona

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    Replies
    1. Ilona, I hope these photos will help with your teahouse, although the photos of Kobuntei are a bit gorgeous for a Japanese teahouse.
      With traditional technique and good raw materials traditional wooden buildings can be rebuilt, but good raw materials such as woods are hard to come by now.
      It took a long time to restore the Kobuntei because it was very difficult to get the same wall clay as the originals.

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  2. I do understand that it is not easy to beome the same materials as needed, Ichinen. By the way is that your name or bloggername? The teahouse I built is very simple and have a mizuyah(?) and one four-tatami-mat-room(?). I built it for a friend who likes (like me) everyting from the Japanese culture. It has to be a surpise, he read this blog too, so I can not tell everything about it ;)
    Have a nice weekend, Ilona

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ichinen is my bloggername. It means one year. A teahouse with mizuya looks like the real thing!

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