Japan’s Hortensia Season

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Culture, Everyday Life

One of the things I’ve particularly grown to appreaciate living in Japan is the stong sense of seasons. No matter what time of the year, you can be sure that there are special seasonal dishes, events, flowers, etc. – and people really embrace it! Sakura is only one example that’s best known outside of Japan.

A major factor contributing is, of course, the islands’ physical location and the natural events that come with it. But I’ve also come across accounts that contribute this phenomenon to the Japanese’s strict adherence to agricultural routines over many centuries to work the little land fit for raising crops, that still influence modern life today. (I just finished reading two exceptional books on Japanese culture that go into great detail on this and many other aspects of Japanese society which probably warrant a separate post.)

Along these lines, it would be fair to call June the month of Hortensia (or Hydrangea) plants. In contrast to cherry blossom in early spring, which only lasts a week or two, these colorful shrubs can be enjoyed for much longer. Similarly though, they are virtually everywhere, even within Tokyo itself. The few photos here have been taken near Kita-Kamakura, home to several temples and associated gardens all well-worth visiting. If you’re looking for the Hortensia, Meigetsuin is the one to go for.

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