The Blooming of the Japanese Star Anises
As one walks along the path toward the three-tiered waterfall, a sekimori (or “barrier-keeper”) stone comes into view. Then, as you raise your eyes, you see all the cream-colored flowers. There are many Japanese star anises blooming here. In Japanese, they are known as “Shikimi.” It is said that one of the meanings behind their Japanese name is “beauty (mi) of the four seasons (shiki),” a reference to how they stay beautiful all year round.
Weekend Garden Tour: A Garden Tour by a Garden Concierge
On March 16 (Sat.), we toured through Murin-an’s garden with our participants, pointing out to them the highlights of each of its areas. They also expressed an interest in Murin-an’s garden stones, so we explained them too. They were very pleased by how the garden landscape reflects the tastes of its original owner, Yamagata Aritomo. To finish, they took their time gazing at the garden from inside the main building.
Murin-an Tea School
On March 16 (Sat.), we held a trial tea lesson for two friends amid the pouring rain. This was an enjoyable lesson where many things were learned for the first time. Our students were very interested to learn that the proper way to place one’s hands when bowing differs according to the tea ceremony school. Midway through the lesson, the rain lifted and everyone was impressed with the garden as it was illuminated by the sunlight pouring in.
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The Arrival of a Grey Wagtail
Inside the stream visible from the 10- and 8-tatami mat spaces in Murin-an’s main building, we often see a Grey Wagtail that flitters its tail up and down and walks around in short steps.
We always see the same bird in this place; it seems to have made the area into its territory.
When it looks for food or straightens its wings, its yellow plumage radiates beautifully.
Shunbun 春分(Spring center /equinox)
Spend a truly Japanese afternoon with appropriately seasonal sweets in a room decorated with seasonal flowers. At Murin-an, you can savor the season’s blessings with all your senses. Tomorrow’s theme is “Shunbun” (春分), the Spring center season in Japan’s 24-season calendar.
Enjoy sitting next to our new flower arrangement in the main house while exploring the delicate taste of wagashi (Japanese sweets) balanced by the pleasantly bitter taste of matcha tea, and also enjoying the soothing view of the garden.
First-come-first-served, there is only a limited availability of tea sweets, which are exclusively created for Murin-an garden.
Date: March 16, Saturday
Fee: 1000 yen (+Entrance fee. No reservation required)
*limited number /day, first-come-first-served
Tel・Fax 075-771-3909 http://murin-an.jp/en/
All our confectionery belong to a limited edition produced exclusively for Murin-an.
The Joy of Raindrops
When it rains at Murin-an, the raindrops that drop on the water basin create a perpetual series of rippling artworks.
Circular creations successively appear on the water’s surface and gradually expand outwards; they allow one to enjoy the slow passage of time while listening to the sound of rainfall as background music.
Murin-an as Seen by Artists, Exhibition No.1
“Garden Observation,” the art exhibit held at Murin-an from March 3-10 (Sun.-Sun.), has ended. During the exhibit, our staff provided explanations of the pieces displayed to visitors and, on March 9 (Sat.), Tomohiko Ogawa gave a gallery talk where he discussed his work and answered questions.
This exhibit placed a wide variety of works on display, including photographs that further break down a part of the garden to show how it changes over the course of a day, pieces that are given a three-dimensional appearance by twisting them where the boundary between the water’s surface and the land is depicted, and pieces that use garden stones to make art out of the border between the land and the water.
Fostering Studies II, No.6 “Spring”
On March 9, while listening to a lecture given by Murin-an’s head gardener, participants in our Fostering Studies program made their own hand brooms. Entering the garden with these original hand brooms, they performed care for the Japanese sweet flag grass there. We explained to them how bamboo brooms get smaller with use and that, as they become worn down, they each take on different uses. This is the time of year when the evergreens gradually lose their leaves, but by having everyone gather up fallen leaves together, the garden became even cleaner than it was before.
Weekend Garden Tour: A Garden Tour by a Garden Concierge
On the afternoon of March 10 (Sun.), we gave guided tours in a rainy garden that was getting ready to shoot forth spring buds. We explained to participants the most important points to know to appreciate Murin-an, the scenery created by original owner Yamagata Aritomo, highlights of the garden in rain, and about the structure and use of trees in Murin-an’s buildings.
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Cutting Down a Red Pine (Akamatsu)
On March 9, the red pine on the northeast side of Murin-an’s garden was cut down due to damage by harmful insects.
With great gratitude to this pine tree for having been one of Murin-an’s garden trees for so long, we performed a purification ritual before cutting it down in the presence of visitors watching over it. Now that the tree has been cut down, you can see a new scene unfolding in front of the main building. The artificial hill where the red pine used to be can now be seen clearly from the main building. You can see how the ground rises suddenly to form a continuous line with the Higashiyama Mountains. This is how far the garden’s original concept of maintaining a feeling of continuity with the focal point of the Higashiyama Mountains has been realized.
Just like people, trees have their life spans; when these have run their course, it is time for us to nurture the next form of scenery. We hope you will take a look at Murin-an’s new scenery whenever you visit and watch over our future efforts to nurture its garden.