We held a lecture at Murin-an for the Intensive Japanese Garden Seminar held for foreign visitors by the Japanese Garden and Historical Heritage Research Institute at Kyoto University of Art and Design!
Participants from all over the world visiting Japan for two weeks to learn about the basics of Japanese gardens came to Murin-an to deepen their knowledge.
On September 28, we held an intensive Japanese garden seminar. Ueyakato Landscape’s staff welcomed 27 participants and explained to them the gardens at Murin-an and Nanzen-ji Temple.
Despite the fact that it was the end of September, the garden was enlivened by the lingering summer heat and we could hear the sound of cicadas singing. And because it was also “Garden Day” (the 28th of each month), when all visitors aged 35 or younger enter for free, we saw more young people at Murin-an than usual.
With the leaves on the trees starting to turn yellow, autumn is now right in front of us. The garden’s look will soon change all at once. We hope you will all come to enjoy the changing seasons at Murin-an.
On the afternoon of October 9 (Wed.), we held a wild bird mini-lecture in the 8-tatami mat space of the main house on the Himalayan cuckoo. We had participants visiting from far away who were very interested in this bird’s ecology and thirty minutes passed by before we knew it.
The members of the cuckoo family each have different characteristics, but no matter how many times we lecture about one of them, people are always surprised to hear about their practice of leaving their eggs in other birds’ nests.
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.
The fruits that slowly started swelling on Murin-an’s Japanese quinces in mid-summer have begun to turn yellow. Visitors often ask “Are those apples? Or Chinese quinces?”
Before they turn ripe, they stay hidden behind the leaves, but now that the leaves have fallen off the quinces, their ripened yellow fruits have begun to stand out. You can encounter these big fruits as you walk around the garden’s lawn area.
Here are some pictures of our tea ceremony classes held on October 4 and 5 (Fri. and Sat.).
The room resonated with the pleasant breeze brought in by opening the sliding doors and the pleasant sound of the stream’s cascades. This time our instructor taught us about the different ways men and women open the door of a tea house. Our students put elegant gestures into each one of their movements.
There was a common map butterfly (Cyrestis thyodamas) resting with its wings outspread. It Japanese name ishigakecho (or “rock cliff butterfly”) derives from the fact that the pattern on its wings looks like a rock cliff.
Just like the Cryptotympana facialis (a species of Japanese cicada), its distribution spreads out in the southern direction, and can be seen these days in the mountan forests of Kyoto.
When it is still, it stops with its wings outspread, so if you see one, enjoy looking at the rock cliff-like pattern on its wings.
On October 2 (Wed.), we held our 86th wild-bird mini-lecture on the first floor of the 8-tatami mat space on the main house’s first floor. This time we discussed the intermediate egret. We introduced how this wild bird primarily migrates in summer and that it comes to Japan to propagate. During courtship and mating, it changes color and bears decorative feathers.
There are three varieties of egret seen in this area: the Great Egret, the Intermediate Egret, and the Little Egret. Because the Intermediate Egret exists in relatively fewer numbers compared to the other egret varieties and because its natural habitat differs from this area, it is rarely seen here.
What’s this insect? Look carefully and you’ll see it’s a moth relative.
When it first emerges, its transparent wings are covered in white scales, but these fall off and turn transparent every time it flaps its wings. Its colorful look is to allow it to mimic other creatures and avoid being eaten by natural enemies. It can also fly at incredibly high speeds, flapping its wings over 70 times in a single second. Thanks to this wing flapping, it is able to stop in midair and suck the nectar from flowers.
Murin-an’s garden path has many little pebbles laid over it to allow our visitors to walk through the garden. The crushed gravel, known as biri (or “rip”) stone in Japanese, is said to derive its name from the tearing sound it makes when walked upon.
Because more foot traffic leads to the biri stones straying outside the garden path, we use hand whisks to sweep them back toward the center. Carefully sweeping both sides of the garden path, we pave the ground by using the tips of the bamboo whisk to stroke areas where little pebble hills have developed.
We remove pebbles on both sides of the path to keep them as much as possible from moving off the path and to create a passage for rainwater when it rains. If pebbles get into the gaps in the moss, the moss will gradually stop growing.
So maintaining the garden path by attentively sweeping the biri stones is an important task for garden management. Biri stones can easily end up clumping together on sloped sections of the garden path, so we also collect and remove any stones that have accumulated.
When you walk on Murin-an’s garden path, try walking along slowly and affectionately as you enjoy the sounds of your feet walking on the gravel.
On September 26 (Thurs.), we held a kimono wearing lesson on the second floor of the main house. Our instructor discussed the colors and patterns for autumn and concluded by displaying actual kimonos. Our participants enjoyed the lesson as they drank match tea.
Our next kimono lessons are on October 2 (Wed.) and 16 (Wed.)!