Witness the Phantasmal Hydrangea Shichidanka at Rokkō Alpine Botanical Garden

01.July.2019 | SPOT

The season has arrived at Rokkō Alpine Botanical Garden in Hyogo Prefecture when you can see the “phantasmal” hydrangea known as the shichidanka.

 

The shichidanka is a type of hydrangea serrata, also known as “mountain hydrangea.” It is known for its distinct double-flowering. Its ten or so sepals give it a beautiful star shape. Its delicate form has earned the plant much popularity in the gardens where it blooms in two locations.

 

As well as this flower, several other hydrangeas are now in bloom or soon to be in bloom a the garden too which are making their way to Japanese social media. Let’s take a look at some of the various hydrangeas you can see there.

Shichdanka (Hortensia serrate var.serrata f.prolifera)

This flower stands at 1 to 1.5 meters tall. The flower appears in Philipp Franz von Siebold’s studies of Japanese flora and fauna during the Edo Period, but its existence subsequently became unnoticed until 1959 where it was discovered by chance at Mount Rokkō. The flowers were then cut and planted and seedlings spread across various places. The flower, which was given the name “mountain hydrangea,” took on a beautiful blue colour as a result of acid soil from caused by granite. It can be enjoyed in full bloom right now until mid-July.

Himeajisai (Hortensia cuspidata f.cuspidata) [Blooming: June – July 2019]

Also known as the “garden hydrangea,” the himeajisai is recognisable for its shape which is like a temari – a type of toy ball from Japanese folk art. It was given its name by Japanese botanist Tomitaro Makino in 1929. It is strong and durable against hot and dry weather and takes on a gorgeous blue colour when grown in soil with a high level of acidity.

Amagiamacha (Hortensia serrata var.angustata) [Blooming: June – July 2019]

This delicate, sweet-smelling flower has thin leaves that grow no longer than 10cm. Since long ago this flower has not been used as a sweetener in hydrangea tea but instead during the manufacturing process of soy sauce for its embalming effect. It has also been used to prevent mould and mildew from building up. Not only that, the flower has also been combined in home remedies such as mouth fresheners and toothpaste for its sweet flavour. Locals also use it for balancing sweetness and acidity with daikon pickled vegetables.

Tamaajisai (Platycrater involucrata) [Blooming: August 2019]

The tamaajisai grows natively across the Kanto region to Gifu Prefecture. It blooms in mountainous regions that have a high level of humidity. Its leaves’ surface have thick and hard hairs on them. They get the tama (“Ball” in Japanese) in their name for their ping pong ball-like buds. During wartime the flower was also used as a substitute for tobacco and so it also gets the name “mountain tobacco.” The flower is popular for its appearance just before its full bloom too.

 

Visit Rokkō Alpine Botanical Garden this summer to see all of the different hydrangeas on show.

RELATED ENTRIES

  • See the Ten Million Dollar Night View of Rokko Arima While Staying at Hot Spring Town

    11.October.2019 | SPOT

    The Mt.ROKKO CABLE CAR & TOURISM COMPANY has announced a 25-day bus tour which will run on weekends and holidays only from October 12 to December 22 offering a bus tour to see the amazing nightscape of Rokko Arima in Kobe.

    Arima Onsen is known as one of Japan’s leading hot spring locations. In order for more people to catch a glimpse of Rokko Arima’s incredible nighttime scenery, a new tour service has been created in collaboration with hotels and accommodation services throughout Arima for guests staying in the town to see what has been dubbed the “ten million dollar night view” from Mount Rokko.

     

    The tour will last two hours and will take guests on an enchanting journey to several locations. They will get to see the night view from Rokko Garden Terrace, gain entry to Rokko Shidare Observatory, and visit the East Rokko Observatory which is only accessible by car. The entire thing costs just ¥2,800 per person.

     

    Schedule

    20:00 Depart Arima Onsen

    20:30 Nighttime view from Rokko Garden Terrace and Rokko Shidare Observatory with tour guide

    21:30 Nighttime view from East Rokko Observatory

    22:00 Arrive back at Arima Onsen

    Discover the tranquillity of Japan’s winter nights and gaze up at the starry sky using the Rokko Arima Night View Bus Tour.

  • Hello Kitty Theatre Restaurant HELLO KITTY SHOW BOX Opens its Kawaii Doors to the Public

    14.August.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    The official Hello Kitty theatre and restaurant HELLO KITTY SHOW BOX on Awaji Island had its grand opening on August 12.

     

    Related Article: Stunning Hello Kitty Theatre Restaurant HELLO KITTY SHOW BOX to Open On Awaji Island

     

    New photos have emerged giving us a peek inside the restaurant and at the menu.

    The restaurant itself is situated in the farmlands of Awaji Island. Hiding on top of the building is an adorable hidden face of Hello Kitty which can’t be seen from the ground.

    At the back of the restaurant is a giant screen spanning 6 meters wide and 16 meters tall. The stage in front will give rise to a whole new kind of Hello Kitty entertainment with song, dance and performances.

    The menu was conceived by Japanese chef Hal Yamashita and uses healthy, organic ingredients to make incredible dishes that both taste amazing and are fun to look at. As well as vegan dishes, there will be a dessert buffet which also uses healthier alternatives. Everything look delicious!

    The interior is both cute and high class, offering the ultimate Hello Kitty restaurant. With its doors now open to the public, fans of Hello Kitty are set to flock to Awaji Island.

     

    Ⓒ1976, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. 

  • Witness the ‘Queen of Lilies’ the Golden-rayed Lily Blooming at Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden

    30.July.2019 | Uncategorized

    The golden-rayed lilies (Lilium auratum) are now in bloom at Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden in Hyogo.

     

    Known as yamayuri in Japan, the golden-rayed lily is the most ornate lily in the world. It is native to Japan and has a white form with golden streaks which it gets its nickname from. It has a potent fragrance which fill your nose if you visit the Rokko Alpine Botanical right now where you can witness close to 200 of these magnificent flowers.

     

    The flowers are in bloom until early August so if you’re in Japan, don’t miss this chance to see this queen of lilies.

  • Witness The Refreshing False Anemone In Full Bloom At Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden, Hyogo

    25.July.2019 | SPOT

    The beautiful false anemone flowers of Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden are currently in full bloom. 

    False anemone can be found scattered from the south to the central part of the Tohoku region. In the Kansai region, it can only be found growing wildly among the limestone rocks of Mount Omine. Each flower blooms facing downwards and has a diameter of up to 3cm. The petals are a translucent light purple colour. This is a very popular species, especially amongst photographers.

     

    This is the perfect opportunity to take beautiful photos of the refreshing flowers as they are shaken by the gentle breeze, swaying under the pure light that filters through the trees towering above them. The false anemone are predicted to be in full bloom until mid August, so please come see them.

  • Witness the Vibrant Yellow Nikkōkisuge Flower at Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden

    11.July.2019 | Uncategorized

    The high season to catch a glimpse of the beautiful nikkōkisuge (Hemerocallis esculenta) flower at Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden is happening right now.

     

    The nikkōkisuge blooms in the high plains and is recognised as a sign of summer. The full bloom period for the flower in the subalpine zone is June, but the best time to see them in high plains is July where 2,000 clusters of the bright yellow beauties sprout their vibrant leaves. The yellow beds make for some seriously summery Instagram posts.

    They live a fleeting life as they only bloom for a single day, opening in the morning and closing in the evening. A single stem is home to abundant flower buds, and they are long so they can bloom from one to the next. If you are in Hyogo this July we highly recommend witnessing this ephemeral sight.

  • Kyoto Sightseeing | 4 Must-Visit Hydrangea Spots For Your Kyoto Sightseeing

    05.July.2019 | SPOT

    Japan’s hydrangea bloom every year during the country’s rainy season. Their gorgeous hues add colour to the dim melancholy of the downpours. Today, we will showcase four must-visit locations to witness the hydrangeas blossom in Kyoto, an ancient city flourishing with a myriad of tourist spots.

     

    Hydrangea have a relatively short bloom period, so if you’re in Kyoto for the rainy downfall, why not visit some of these places during your sightseeing?

     

    Today, we are joined by Instagrammer Macchan who will provide her picturesque photos from her Instagram page of the sites we are looking at.

     

    Shorinji Temple

    At Shorinji Temple in Higashiyama ward, visitors are able to participate in experiencing a variety of ancient customs from zazen meditation to eating traditional rice porridge known as asagayu. Right now the temple is carrying out a special type of flower watering (hanachōzu) on weekends. It sees the water at the chōzuya or temizuya―which are seen at temples and shrines in Japan and are used to cleanse your hands and mouth before entering―positioned so it trickles onto the flowers.This flower watering is also carried out at Shorinji Temple in spring to celebrate the birth of Buddha, something else the temple is famous for. And right now is the season for hydrangea.

     

    It’s fun looking forward to seeing what flowers they have there every week. Keep in mind however that there are periods when the watering isn’t held, so be sure to check the official website to see when it’s on.

     

    ▼Shorinji Temple

    Address: 15-795 Honmachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
    TEL: 075-561-4311

    Official Website: http://shourin-ji.org/

     

     

    Yanagidani Kannon (Yokokuji Temple)

    Yanagidani Kannon, also known as Yokokuji Temple, has been used as a place of prayer for many people since the Heian Period (794-1185) as it is believed that doing so will cure eye disease. It is also called Nishi no Shimizu (“Spring Water in the West”) and has been loved by the people of Kyoto since ancient times.

    This temple too is is carrying out hanachōzu with a pastel coloured hydrangea bed. The flower collection is extremely cute and a spectacular sight to behold.

    This photo was taken in the temple gardens with another hanachōzu. It uses much bigger hydrangea; they really stand out from the rest of the environment. This garden has been kept beautiful since the Heian period and it is famous for its collection of hydrangea. The temple is currently holding its annual Hydrangea Week event until July 7 where lots of people visit to catch a glimpse of these transient beauties.

     

    Also, on the 17th of every month, an event is carried out where visitors can decorate their goshuincho―books used to collect stamps and seals known as goshuin at shrines and temples across Japan―with pressed flowers. If you’re a flower fanatic then we highly recommend you visit Yanagidani Kannon.

     

    ▼Yanagidani Kannon

    Address: Yanagidani Kannon, Yokokuji Temple (Dōnotani-2 Jōdodani, Nagaokakyo, Kyoto)

    TEL: 075-956-0017 (Reception: 9:00-17:00)

    Official Website: https://yanagidani.jp/

     

     

    Yoshimine-dera Temple

    Yoshimine-dera Temple is famous for its weeping cherry trees. Around 8,000 trees line the temple’s sudden slope. In the photo, Macchan took her photo look up at the hydrangea, but from the top of the hill you can witness a scenic, unbroken view of Kyoto with the hydrangea in the foreground.

     

    It’s not just hydrangea that bloom at Yoshimine-dera Temple however. Many other types of flowers sprout their way up from the soil too such as rhododendrons and crepe myrtles, so you can enjoy the colours of nature even outside the hydrangea season.

     

    Yoshimine-dera Temple

    Address: 1372 Ōharano Oshiochō, Nishikyō, Kyoto

    TEL: 075-331-0020

    Official Website: http://www.yoshiminedera.com/index.html

     

     

    Kanon-ji Temple

    Kanon-ji Temple in Tanba is famous as being the temple home to the oldest hydrangea in the entire Kansai region of Japan. The spiritual power of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, is said to cure eye disease here just like at Yokokuji Temple. 10,000 plants of 100 species of hydrangea bloom at Kanon-ji Temple.

     

    The Terachaya Cafe is open during the hydrangea period, so you can enjoy a relaxing cup of tea or coffee while gazing at the flowers.

     

    ▼Kanon-ji Temple

    Address: 1067 Kannonji, Fukuchiyama, Kyoto

    TEL: 0773-27-1618

    Official Website: http://www.tanba-ajisaidera.com/keidai/index.html

     

    Macchan has countless photos taken at many other spots in Kyoto. Be sure to check out her page and enjoy your sightseeing in Kyoto.

     

    Photos: @macchan358

  • Visit the Abandoned Hotel, Tenjō-ji Temple & More at Mount Maya in Kobe

    11.June.2019 | SPOT

    A new category added to the Cool Japan Award―which is run by the Cool Japan Association―is “National Park,” which was claimed by Mount Maya in Kobe in May this year for its nighttime scenery.

     

    Mount Maya is one of the major peaks of the Rokkō Mountains in Nada, Kobe and stands at a towering 702m high. Located close to the main city of Kobe, those who reach its apex will be able to see many different sights such as Kobe, Osaka, the Kii Peninsula, and Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge. Maya is popular not just with tourists and sightseers, but Kobe locals too who visit it with families to eat bento, or those who take their special somebodies to observe the nightscape.

     

    Located on Mount Maya is Tenjō-ji, a temple which the mountain’s name has its origins in. This year marks the run of a special event which is held at the temple once every 33 years. Visitors can also go on a guide walk to an abandoned hotel which is normally off limits to the public.

     

    Let’s take an in-depth look at all the exciting things one can do at Mount Maya.

     

    Tenjō-ji Temple, Mount Maya

    The originator of Mount Maya’s name

    Tenjō-ji can be found wrapped in nature at the peak of Mount Maya in its National Park. Visitors can enjoy all weathers atop the mountain as the seasons change, but if you go on a clear day, you’ll be able to observe as far as Awaji Island, Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, and Shōdoshima. The history of this temple―the only one in Japan to have been built by Maya-bunin―dates back to the year 646 when the high priest of India accepted Emperor Kōtoku’s request to build it. Maya-bunin, the mother of Buddha, is prayed to as a guardian of safe childbirth and child rearing. This is where Mount Maya gets its name.

    The door to three hidden Buddhist statues opened once every 33 years

    Once every 33 years, a door is opened at the palace to reveal three hidden Buddhist idols: the Eleven-Faced Avalokitesvara, Acala, and Vaiśravaṇa. For the duration of its opening this August, Buddhist sermons will be given three times a day (10:30/12:00/14:00), and visitors will be able to obtain an exclusive goshuin stamp.

     

    Running: August 1, 2019 – August 15, 2019

    Time: 10:00-16:00 (Until 17:00 for this event)

     

    Tour guide walk to Mount Maya’s historic ruins

    ~Stroll around and trace the history of Mount Yama~

    As well as the temple, Mount Yama formerly bustled with people looking to dine and as well as stay in the accommodation there. After the war and earthquake disasters, a campaign began to restore life to Mount Maya, one part of which is a tour guide walk to the historic ruins.

    This includes a trip to the former Tenjō-ji temple site as well as the abandoned hotel which is off limits to the general public.

     

    Mount Maya’s Nightscape

    ~An internationally recognised landscape~

    Mount Maya has been awarded the Cool Japan Award 2019 in the new National Park category for its gorgeous evening view from which one can see Kobe’s streets, the port and more.

     

    If you’re planning a trip to Kobe be sure to use this article as reference!

  • 5,000 Hydrangea to Bloom at Yokokuji Temple in Kyoto

    08.June.2019 | SPOT

    Yanagidani Kannon (Yokokuji Temple) is located in the city of Nagaokakyo in Kyoto Prefecture. The temple has been used as a place of prayer for many people with eye disease since the Heian Period. It is believed that praying at the temple will cure eye disease.

     

    This summer, the temple’s annual Hydrangea Week is set to take place once again from June 8 to July 7 which will welcome around 5,000 hydrangeas, the biggest collect in the whole of Kyoto.

    Yanagidani Kannon is home to a bamboo thicket that was the model for The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. During the event, you’ll get to take in the sight of 5,000 gorgeous hydrangeas. Additionally, the event will include a special public opening of the Joushoin, or upper study, which is normally open only once a month. From there you can see one of the gardens which was selected as an old garden of the pre-war days. Guests can also receive an original hydrangea goshuin stamp which are available for a limited time only. Part of the treasury house will also be open for public viewing which includes treasures bestowed by the Japanese Imperial family.

    At the Joushoin, visitors can look forward to seeing paintings by Kanō Mitsunobu, a influential artist of the Kanō school of Japanese painting, as well as Konoe Nobutada, both of whom were active during the Azuchi–Momoyama period. The pieces encompass the world of the Man’yōshū, a collection of of ancient Japanese waka poetry, one of which was the impetus for the naming of the new Japanese Reiwa era. For just ¥800, visitors can gain access to both the Joushoin and the treasury.

    The above pictured goshuin stamp will also be available from June 17. There will also be an exhibition of paintings with different showcases each month. In June, Murasakishikibu will be on display. This was painted by Hanko Kajita, a painter who was active in the Meiji and Taisho periods and whose works are displayed in the Tokyo National Museum and Yokohama Museum of Art.

    Don’t miss this year’s hydrangea season at Yokokuji Temple in Kyoto.

  • 5,000 Hydrangeas to Cover Daisho Temple in Saga Prefecture

    02.June.2019 | SPOT

    Daisho Temple is located up 350 meters in Saga Prefecture’s town of Kitagawa. Every year, from early June to late July, around 5,000 hydrangeas of 70 varieties bloom across the area. Since the temple is situated at such an elevated level, those that climb up there can also see a sea of clouds. Because of this, the temple is also nicknamed Tenkuu no Ajisaiji, or “The Hydrangea Temple in the Heavens.”

     

    This year, from June 8 to 30, a festival will be held to celebrate the hydrangeas. Stalls will line the area and be open from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

    A visit to Daisho Temple also means you get to see Japan’s oldest tree, an Inumaki that is over 500 years old, as well as the Mochi and Kashi trees that have merged together to become one.

    If you’re looking to get out into nature in Japan this summer then don’t miss the colourful Hydrangea Festival.

  • Matcha & Hydrangea Festival 2019 Held by Green Tea Store Itohkyuemon

    25.May.2019 | FOOD

    Uji-based green tea store Itohkyuemon is set to hold its Matcha x Hydrangea Matsuri 2019 in line with the hydrangea season until the end of June.

     

    The main branch of Itohkyuemon in Uji is close to Mimuroto Temple, a temple famous for its hydrangea foliage visited by countless tourists during the rainy season. During this season, customers can be waiting up to 3 hours to enter the cafe. Last year, there were even days where they were closed by noon.

     

    Hydrangea Parfait: Single – ¥1,280 (Tax Included) / Tea Set – ¥1,680 (Tax Included) / Yuzu Shizuku & Matcha Set – ¥1,980 (Tax Included)

    The promotional video for Itohkyuemon’s Hydrangea Parfait garnered over 1.5 million views on their official Twitter page. It is the season’s No. 1 parfait, made with matcha hydrangea kinton, crushed hydrangea-coloured jelly, leaf-shaped matcha cookies, blueberries and more. This year, the shop introduces its new Yuzu Shizuku & Matcha Set.

    Hydrangea Panna Cotta: ¥540 (Tax Included)

    Matcha Hydrangea Kinton: ¥777 (Tax Included)

    A variety of hydrangea-themed sweets and desserts will also be available to purchase and can be enjoyed in the cafe or ordered for takeout. This includes the Hydrangea Panna Cotta which sold out last year, the Matcha Hydrangea Kinton and more. All these treats are available in limited quantities.

  • Anime Theme Park ‘Nijigen no Mori’ Announces New Naruto & Boruto Attraction for Spring 2019

    06.November.2018 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    Nijigen no Mori is an anime themed theme park that opened on Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture last summer.

     

    The park has just announced a new attraction called Naruto & Boruto Shinobi-Zato based on the internationally beloved anime series Naruto and its spin-off and sequel series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations which follows the story of Naruto Uzumaki’s son Boruto. The attraction is scheduled to open next spring.

     

    Additionally, a booth in promotion of the attraction will be set up at Jump Festa 2019 which is running on December 22 and 23. The booth will provide details on the new attraction and early-bird tickets to experience it will be sold. Free flyers will also be handed out showcasing new and original merchandise.

    At Shinobi-Zato you can expect to see a whole range of Naruto and Boruto themed references. This includes Hokage Rock which overlooks the Hidden Leaf Village in the series and has the faces of all the Hokage carved into it. There will even be full-size statues of characters from the series. Those who roll up to the attraction can look forward to enjoying a range of athletic activities as well as a maze and more while experiencing the recreated worlds of Naruto and Boruto surrounded amongst Awaji Island’s lush greenery. There will of course be a shop selling exclusive merchandise too. After all that, you can enjoy a bowl of ramen at series’ iconic ramen bar Ramen Ichiraku.

    Naruto Athletic “Chi no Maki”: This attraction will let you experience the world of Naruto. Participants will have to overcome a string or trials and clear a range of activities in order to collect the missing seals – those seen in the series that are used for Sealing Jutsu.

     

    Boruto Maze: “Ten no Maki”: This attraction will let you experience the world of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. Participants will get involved with courses at the Ninja Academy that Boruto graduated from. They must use their mind and body to escape the maze.

  • Official Snoopy Shop ‘Peanuts LIFE & TIMES’ to Open at Nishinomiya Hankyu

    22.October.2018 | SPOT

    Hankyu Hanshin Department Store are opening a new Snoopy shop called Peanuts LIFE & TIMES that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. The store will open on the fourth floor of Nishinomiya Hankyu on November 7.

     

    Peanuts is a popular comic strip written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz that was serialised in American newspapers from 1950 to 2000. It follows the story of the instantly-recognisable characters Charlie Brown and Snoopy and their pals. This year marks 50 years since the comic arrived to Japan where it has many fans including adults. A variety of celebrations are being held to commemorate the anniversary., including the new Peanuts LIFE & TIMES shop.

    The shop will house a whole range of products including a household items and daily necessities to make every day more fun, sweets, outdoor products for family bonding, DIY goods, clothes, apparel accessories, bags and more.

     

    There will be close to 450 items to choose from based on one of four keywords selected from the Peanuts comics: Happy Dance, Security Blanket, Pal and Typewriter. 70 of these items are originals developed for sale at Nishinomiya Hankyu.

    HAAG T-shirts:  Adult Size ¥9,504 / Kids Size ¥7,344

    The HAAG T-shirts are made in collaboration with Smile Cotton in Mie Prefecture who produce super soft material. The design is simple so you can enjoy being nonchalantly fashionable with the family.

    Tote Bags: From ¥8,532

    Another nonchalant but stylish Peanuts tribute – tote bags with character art on the inside only.

    ‘Mlesna Tea House’ Tea: From ¥950

    This black tea product is made in collaboration with Nishinomiya Hankyu’s popular tea shop.

     

     

    There’s plenty more where that came from too. Head to the cute new Peanuts store to get your hands on the perfect gifts and souvenirs!

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