In September 2011 I had my first close encounter with the flower of the dead, also known as higanbana or red spider lily. In September 2012 I wrote a post about higanbana (red spider lily) entitled "flower of loss and longing". In September 2013, while the red flowers bloomed at graves, my mother passed away. In September 2014 I went for a walk in yet another enchanted red forest, partly for myself, partly for my mother. She loved flowers.
I was too busy to go as far as what is arguably the best higanbana spot in Japan, Kinchakuda in Saitama, but Sokō-in (祖光院), a temple in Matsudo in Chiba, provides a more than adequate alternative.
I've written so many posts about higanbana that there isn't much more to say, and Sokō-in itself is a small temple that doesn’t offer any tempting historical titbits; just its small but magnificent forest.
The flowers are already past full bloom, but you could still catch their last gasp.
Take the Joban Line from Ueno, change at Matsudo to the Shin-Keisei Line and get off at Tokiwadaira Station. The temple is an easy ten-minute walk (at normal speed) from the station (five minutes at a Ru gallop).
|The temple itself is ... well ...|
|If I may paraphrase Cormac McCarthy, it's a country for old men ...|
|Two of the seven lucky gods: Ebisu (left) and Daikokuten|
|I forgot to check who this is. Could be Daikokuten (bag of rice, mice), or simply a cute Buddha.|
|I will always associate this beautiful flower with graves.|
|Eyelashes or whiskers? You decide.|
|First time I see a pink higanbana. (You also get white and yellow varieties.)|
|This house in Tokiwadaira had a beautiful green curtain of morning glories.|
|Morning glory or asagao in Japanese|
|Bonus Sky Tree and red sunrise|
I'm still on semi-hiatus. I've also disabled comments, mostly due to continuing problems with spambots, but also because I don't have enough time to respond to everybody … and I think it's rather rude to ignore comments. I'll continue blogging sporadically, but within parameters controlled by my current work schedule. Thank you, as always, for visiting; and my sincerest apologies for this one-sided communication!