With the arrival of December, the wind blowing from the Higashiyama mountains now feels frigid. We have installed a stove heater in the 10-tatami mat space of the main house’s first floor so that you can enjoy looking out at the garden from inside more comfortably.
We actually consulted with Kyoto City and the Kyoto Fire Department before finally installing this stove heater. As the designated manager of one of Japan’s cultural properties, we give sufficient consideration to safety in our operation of Murin-an.
Relax at our cafe as you enjoy looking at Murin-an’s winter scenery.
This week, we recommend trying our yuzu (citron) tea.
The fruit on the coral ardisia plants growing in different parts of Murin-an’s garden have started turning red. One of the characteristics of these fruits is that they hang downward from the plant’s branches and are thus an important food for wild birds in winter. There are now lots of fruits on the coral ardisia growing in areas with good sunlight exposure. Be sure to come see them.
On December 4 (Wed.), we held a lecture on the Copper Pheasant. This is an endemic species living only in Japan characterized by its males’ long pheasant-like tail. They live in the dim light of the Higashiyama forest and have long been cherished birds in Japanese tanka poetry and in the famous Ogura Hyakunin Isshu poetry anthology. Today we discussed the Copper Pheasant’s various charms, including how it beats its wings as a mating call.
Murin-an’s weekly Wednesday “Wild Bird Mini-lecture” is held from 2:00-2:30 PM in the 8-tatami mat space in the main house of the first floor. We choose a wild bird species and discuss interesting characteristics about it and its ecology while also looking out at the garden and explaining any wild birds that happen to fly by.
Our first twenty participants get an original postcard featuring the Murin-an wild bird discussed that week! Feel free to drop in.
Spreading its wings out widely over the stream, an absolutely white little egret landed in Murin-an’s garden. Moving to the stream, it shook the bottom of the water, skillfully sticking in its beak to eat the creatures that had been hiding underneath the dead leaves.
The are four species of egret that visit Murin-an’s garden. Those with yellow toes are little egrets, the big ones with black toes are great egrets. The ones that are bluish-gray all over are herons and those with deep bluish-gray backs and red eyes are night herons.
For the third installment of our Chanoyu lecture series held on November 24 (Sun.) on the second floor of Murin-an’s main house, we discussed the “tea garden” (chaniwa) as one element in the enjoyment of tea.
The way of tea is intimately connected to its spatial compositions, the comprehensive art of which has been passed down over many years. In discussing the tea garden, our lecturer broke down the details of the most important parts making up the garden’s framework, such as its crouching basin arrangement (tsukubai), stone wall and stepping stones.
In Kyoto, when you come across a sign with the word “在釜” (Zaifu) written on it, it means “a tea kettle is set, come around to have some tea”. You can enjoy this nowadays rather rarely seen tradition exclusively at Murin-an and casually savor a bowl of freshly whisked tea, while our staff will be pleased to explain you more about the tea and garden design as well.
*On November 26th, the starting time has been changed to 10:00 a.m.
Murin-an’s annual illuminated event! This year we held it for three days starting on November 22 (Fri.), and from the very first day we had a tremendous number of visitors who enjoyed looking at the scenery of autumn leaves reflected on the water’s surface.
Whether you took a stroll around the garden after hearing it explained by one of our guides or had a drink while taking in the full view of the garden from the main house’s second floor, we wish to thank you for enjoying the garden’s landscape and the alluring form of scarlet maple leaves hovering quietly over arranged lights, looking so different from autumn leaves in daytime.
Nothing could make us happier than to see this illuminated event and our guides’ explanations of the garden become moments for people to share their memories of Kyoto and the value of cultural property gardens with others they know.
On November 23 and 24 (Sat. and Sun.), we held guided garden tours inside a garden at the peak of autumn leaf season.
Amid warm weather and conversations with many questions and answers, we discussed with our participants about the mechanism of autumn leaves and the properties of plant life. We also explained Murin-an’s status as one of Japan’s cultural property gardens and the features of each of its areas. Finally, we invited them to spend a relaxing time in Murin-an’s main house enjoying the autumn leaf landscape with a bowl of matcha tea.
Here are some pictures of the marsh where Murin-an’s three-stage waterfall flows into being cleaned. Our gardeners removed fallen leaves from the Japanese sweet flag and picked away yellow leaves so that the water stream flows smoothly.
On October 11 (Fri.), we held a tea ceremony lesson on the second floor of Murin-an’s main house. As part of the spirit of receiving their guests, students learned what direction the tea froth heaped up in the tea bowl’s center should face.