On Monday…


On Monday, I took a trip to Heian Shrine with my friend Hana. We were in search of wisteria, those luxurious hanging vines covered in small blue flowers. We didn't find wisteria, though we did find…


expanses of irises,


lotuses, symbols of enlightenment, because they rise out of murkiness and produce impeccable balance and beauty, and…


the last of the azaleas.

It's a wonderful time to visit the garden at Heian Shrine, which is often skipped because of the steep entrance fee (600 yen for adults) and impressive shrine buildings which dominate the view from the entrance. Many school children on school trips and tour groups from the US, Europe, and China can be found on the wide gravel grounds in front of the 1/3 size reproductions of the Heian imperial palace. The garden, itself modelled after Heian gardens, is now filled with blooming surprises, cool breezes, and only a few tourists, though I would avoid going there on the weekends.