Botanic Notables: Autumn Colors in a Japanese Flower Park

October 15, 2011
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When I lived in New England, we made autumn excursions to the orange and red hills of Vermont and New Hampshire. On the west coast, we get lost in corn mazes. Cooler temperatures mean that it's no longer summer, but the season still beckons us outside with fields of fiery-colored abundance. And in Japan, October is no different. Just outside Tokyo is a flower park that blooms bright in autumn. The hills are covered with Kochia scoparia (syn.

Explore Kyoto’s Temple Gardens

April 25, 2011
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If you've read "A World Apart," our article about moss in Japan, and you're interested in visiting the gardens, here are all the details:

Crazy Plant Trend of the Day: Japanese Wisteria Tunnel

April 10, 2011
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Here in the United States, many of us are familiar with sakura matsuri, or the cherry blossom festival that occur around the world during this time of year. But after the cherry blossoms fall, Japan has another beautiful floral celebration fuji matsuri, or the wisteria festival. Here are some photographs of the amazing wisteria tunnels that bloom in Japan, generally flowering from mid-April to mid-May.

Art + Botany: Rice Paddy Illustrations

February 12, 2011
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For the past nearly two decades, a small village in Japan has been perfecting a new art form: rice paddy art. It's a hybrid of traditional illustration and farming, made possible with modern technology and new colors of rice plants. Emerging as the plants grow, the images in Inkadate's rice paddies include historic landscapes and figures, contemporary television characters, and at least one face with international appeal (for example, the "Mona Riza" in 2003). 

Photo by: Blancaneaux Lodge

This gracious five-story ryokan, or traditional Japanese inn, fed by onsen, or hot springs, in the mountains southwest of Tokyo was recently renovated and today is run by the fourth generation of the family that established the business in 1951. Three public baths encourage gathering with other guests before tea and meals.

A World Apart: Moss in Japan's Gardens

April 25, 2010
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It seems fitting that my husband and I got lost on our way to Saihō-ji, arguably the most famous moss garden in the world but one carefully tucked away from it, on the outskirts of Kyoto. To reach the 1,300-year-old temple grounds swathed in at least 120 kinds of moss feels like tearing an opening into contemporary Japan. That modern context, a maze of tile-roofed houses winding up and down around the garden’s elusive entrance, trapped and confused us, until a sympathetic local resident parked her bike and showed us the way, as she’d clearly done for other tourists.