fall foliage forecast for 2023 (Japanese version only)

This year's fall foliage is late

Daisetsuzan National Park Sounkyo Visitor Center(Hokkaido): (Japanese version only)

when and where to see fall foliage (almost Japanese version): (English version)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


There are a great variety of hydrangeas.

Hydrangea macrophylla f. normalis

Hydrangea macrophylla normalis(額紫陽花, Gaku-ajisai) is native to Japan and has flowerheads with subdued and fertile flowers ringed by showy and sterile flowers. Lacecap hydrangeas are thought to be original species of hydrangeas. Gaku means a frame(額縁, gakubuchi). Outer flowers are like a frame.

Mihara-yae(三原八重) is indigenous to Izu-Oshima Island.

Nadeshiko-gakuajisai(撫子額紫陽花) which was found in the east Izu Peninsula has outer flowers with notched petals.

Mikawa-chidori(三河千鳥) is a hedrangea without outer flowers and had been cultivated in a private home in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Sahashi(佐橋) was found at Sahashi in Niigata prefecture.

Sumida-no-hanabi(墨田の花火) is a new variety of gakuajisai. Its flowers represent fireworks at the Sumida River. It's a very popular hydrangea and is planted in my garden.

Hydrangea macrophylla f. macrophylla

Hydrangea macrophylla macrophylla(紫陽花 or 本紫陽花, ajisai or hon-ajisai) is thought to be a type of Hydrangea macrophylla normalis which have mop flowerheads.

Hydrangea macrophylla f. hortensia

European plant cultivators developed Hydrangea macrophylla hortensia based on Japanese hydrangeas.

Hydrangea macrophylla f. domotoi(石化八重紫陽花, Sekka-yae-ajisai) dates back to the Edo Period. Its stem is flat. It is also known as "Juni-hitoe" which refers to lady's ceremonial court dress.

Hydrangea macrophylla f. concavosepala(Ayesha bigleaf hydrangea, Popcorn hydrangea)

Hydrangea macrophylla concavosepala or Hydrangea macrophylla cv. Uzu-azisai (渦紫陽花, uzu-ajisai) dates back to the Edo Period.

Hydrangea macrophylla f. variegate

Hydrangea macrophylla f. variegate(Gakuajisai with variegated leaves) is one of antique-variety hydrangeas and was already known in the Edo Period.

Hydrangea serrata (H. macrophylla subsp. serrata)

Hydrangea serrata(山紫陽花, yama-ajisai) is a variety of hydrangea native to mountainous regions of eastern Asia and Japan.
Compared to Hydrangea macrophylla, Hydrangea serrata are small and its leaves are small, thin and lusterless. They are firm favorites with some gardening lovers. I like them.

Hydrangea serrata f. rosalba(紅額, benigaku)

Hydrangea serrata f. prolifera(七段花, Shichidanka)

Hydrangea serrata f. pulchella

(清澄沢紫陽花, Kiyosumisawa-ajisai) is found around Mt. Kiyosumi in Chiba Prefecture.

Hydrangea serrata var.thunbergii(甘茶, amacha)

Amacha(甘茶) means sweet tea.Hydrangea is a poisonous plant, but a herbal tea made from amacha's leaves containing a natural sweetener named pyllodulcin are used for Buddha's birthday Festival on April 8th. The tea is poured over a statue of Buddha and is served at the festival.

Hydrangea serrata var. megacarpa(subsp. Yezoenis)

Hydrangea serrata var. megacarpa(蝦夷紫陽花, Ezo-ajisai) grow mainly in areas of heavy snowfall in Japan.

Rokkoyaetemari(六甲八重手毬) was found on the Mt. Rokko in Kobe.

Hydrangea serrata' "Akisinotemari"(秋篠手毬) was found on 29 June 1990 when Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko got married.

Hydrangea hirta(小紫陽花, koajisai) is a hedrangea without outer flowers.

Oakleaf hydrangea(柏葉紫陽花)

Hydrangea quercifolia(Oakleaf hydrangea) is native to the Southeastern United States. Recently, I often see these hydrangeas in my area.

Hydrangea and snail go together.

額紫陽花袋 デザイン/藤本正子
"drawstring pouch in the shape of Hydrangea macrophylla forma normalis " designed by Masako Fujimoto
Shigeyoshi Inoue ed.,Wa-no-Nunoasobi-chirimenzaiku,(Tokyo:ONdori Sha,2003),P.4

A confection representing hydrangea. White bean-paste ball is coated with colored kanten cubes.

color gradations with kanten cubes

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


The rainy season ended in Okinawa on the 9th and started in Tohoku Region on the 21st of June. We are in the middle of rainy season, but sunny and hot weather lasted for three days. I couldn't sleep well. Kumagaya City in Saitama Prefecture reached 39.7 degrees Celsius on the 24th.  Meanwhile some areas were ravaged by torrential rains.
We're back to the rainy season again.

Ajisai(紫陽花:hydrangea) is a representative blossom in the rainy season.

The Hakone Tozan Railway (箱根登山鉄道) is a mountain railway extending from Odawara to Gora. Its tracks are lined with hydrangeas in full bloom on either side.

In Kamakura, Meigetsu-in Temple(明月院) is famous as "hydrangea temple". Most of hydrangeas at Meigetsu-in are Hydrangea macrophylla amoena(姫紫陽花, hime-ajisai) which is an old variety of Japanese hydrangeas. Its flower color doesn't change.

photo by

Mimuroto-ji Temple(三室戸寺) in Kyoto

Sairin-ji Temple(西林寺) and Tsuma-no-sato Hydrangea Garden(都麻乃郷あじさい園)

Aino Hydrangea Garden(相野あじさい園) in Hyogo Prefecture

Anjikamo Jinja Shrine(安志賀茂神社) and Hydrangea Garden in Hyogo Prefecture

Gansen-ji Temple(岩船寺) in Kyoto

Yata-dera Temple(矢田寺) in Nara

Kobe Municipal Arboretum(神戸森林植物園)

Hydrangea and columnar jointed basalt at the Genbudo(basaltic caves) Park

photos by

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hanashobu(Japanese water iris)

Japanese water irises(花菖蒲, hanashobu) are in full bloom in many iris gardens.

Horikiri(堀切) has always been famous for Japanese water irises.  Japanese water irises at Horikiri appear in "One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (名所江戸百景)" which is a series of prints by Utagawa Hiroshige.
Horikiri Iris Garden(堀切菖蒲園) in Katsushika Ward of Tokyo has 6,000 irises of 200 different species and is open to all visitors free of charge. The garden has the hanashobu varieties that have been improved at Horikiri since the early Edo period.

Yamasaki Japanese Iris Garden(播州山崎花菖蒲園, Bansyu Yamasaki Hanashoubu-en) created in 1979 in Hyogo Prefecture

Nishishinjuku Iris Garden of Grandpa and Grandma(西新宿おじいちゃんとおばあちゃんの花菖蒲園) in Hyogo Prefecture

In 1996, elderly people started to develop abandoned rice paddies. They planted 10,000 irises there. Now you can see half a million irises of 170 different species.

Eitaku-ji Iris Garden(永沢寺花菖蒲園) in Hyogo Prefecture

Hanashobu have grown wild on the site of Eitaku-ji Temple for 600 years.
You can see more irises of Eitaku-ji on this site.

Takeda-teramachi Street and Takeda River(竹田川) in Hyogo Prefecture

Hyogo Prefectural Flower Center Iris Garden(兵庫県フラワーセンター花しょうぶ園)

Amagasaki Agricultural Park(尼崎農業公園) in Hyogo Prefecture

photos by 神戸観光壁紙写真集
Kamo Garden(加茂花菖蒲園) in Shizuoka Prefecture

This garden was created before the gate of the Kamo family's house built in the middle of the Edo Period.
The memers of the Kamo family served as a village headman for generations.

photo by 日本列島お国自慢

Magatama-ike Iris Garden(勾玉池菖蒲園)

In 1954, an iris garden was created in Magatama-ike Pond on the site of Ise Jingu Shrine Geku(伊勢神宮外宮) in Mie Prefecture.

Yagyu Iris Garden(柳生花しょうぶ園) in Nara prefecture

Expo Commemoration Park (万博記念公園) in Osaka
Takitani Irs Garden(滝谷花しょうぶ園) in Nara Prefecture

photos by 高画質壁紙写真集無料壁紙

Kagurame-ko Iris Garden(神楽女湖菖蒲園) in Oita Prefecture

The garden is located next to Lake Kagurame.

Ishibashi Cultural Center(石橋文化センター) in Fukuoka Prefecture

Photos by

Bonari Plateau Ayame Garden(母成高原あやめ園)

Ayame means Siberian iris. The garden has various types of irises.

photo by 日本列島お国自慢

Maekawa Iris Garden(前川あやめ園)

Suigo Itako Ayame Festival(水郷潮来あやめまつり) is being held from May 21st to June 26th in Itako in Fukushima Prefecture. Suigo means a riverside district. The earthquake in Tohoku Region did partial damage to a part of venues for the festival. This festival shows not ayame(Siberian irises) but Hanashoubu(Japanese water irises).
Waterways were a common part of people's lives in riverside districts such as Itako.
Brides used to head for their grooms' houses by boat. Now some brides dressed in white kimono take a boat during the festival.  Only the couples decided by lot can take part in this wedding event as a part of the festival. During the festival, young women move a Sappa boat with tourists by pulling an oar.
The Suigo Sawara Aquatic Botanical Garden (水郷佐原水生植物園) in Katori City in Chiba Prefecture

photos by  花とハイキングでエンジョイ

Shakujii Park(石神井公園) in Tokyo