Azalea Heaven in Nezu

First it was the plum blossoms, then the cherry blossoms, then the tulips, and now the azaleas are stealing the show!

I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since the sakura departed. I’ve been up to my neck in work and other things lately, and the blossoms already seem like a distant memory. The sakura trees are now full of lush green leaves, and although the weather has been pretty terrible lately, the warmth is slowly returning. The cold seems to last for so long, and there’s nothing worse than being cooped up indoors all the time. Every spring, I’m like “I can’t wait for summer!”. I dream of being able to sit outside on my balcony on balmy evenings, and hang out with friends at rooftop beer gardens and local summer festivals… But then summer hits, always so abruptly, and you suddenly feel like it’s too hot and humid to do anything. In the end, I probably I find myself saying “I can’t wait for autumn!” more than anything else!

Regardless of the temperature, there is one constant that I love and appreciate: flowers! There is always some bright and cheerful flower in bloom somewhere. In an abstract kind of way, the different varieties taking it in turns to spring to life, is like nature’s dance. And we are lucky enough to witness it.

The other day I grabbed a friend and headed for Nezu Shrine to check out their annual azalea festival. We were a tad early for the peak but it was still a beautiful sight to see. It’s not a big garden, but it’s spread across a bank so you can stand at the bottom and look up or vice versa. The dome shaped shrubs were so compact and cute, and we loved the very cool striped pink flowers. The shrine has a row of torii gates like Fushimi Inari in Kyoto and on weekends, food stalls are set up selling things like delicious sake manju (steamed buns with red bean paste).

Advertisements

28 thoughts on “Azalea Heaven in Nezu

  1. what a show – and I actually liked the look of bing a tad early – the green was nice -but I bet it is amazing to walk through live! I like the umbrellas too – gives us the scale for this shrubs – happy spring to you C :) – oh and I have two azalea plants our front – form 2003 and 2004 – <3

    Like

    • Thank you Y! :) Another good point of going before it reached full-bloom was there was less people – I heard it gets majorly packed!

      I think I remember seeing a picture of your azaleas last year…? Maybe! You’ve had them since 03/04! Are they easy to maintain? They were being sold as potted plants at the festival, and I was thinking about buying a couple.

      Like

      • oh you have a good memory – yes – I think I did post some azaleas. And I think they are easy – but I did learn that because they need a more acidic soil – it is better to plant them with other shrubs and plants that like that kind of soil – and they are also a great addition if you want to make a layered garden area – they give something that is mid height – and then maybe some tall liatris and a few large shrubs for height mixed with something that crawls or has ground cover for the low. or just keep them in pots.
        and you know – Japan was not really on my list of places to see – but after following your blog it is on the B list (maybe 6 or 7 years form now) and I hope to catch it sometime between the sakura and azalea blooms….
        xxoo

        Like

        • Ah, well I guess they’re no good for me then – I only have a balcony! :( I’ve tried to raise a few cyclamen in the past but judging by the state they were in, I really need to improve my gardening skills!

          Wow, I love hearing that! Not that I’m an actual ambassador for Japan but I think there are so many great places here and I enjoy spreading the love!

          Like

          • actually cyclamen are horrible to start with – and so are orchids – and trust my it does not mean you lack a green thumb – :)
            and for containers – well there are some easy things that will bring your balcony some beauty and some life. actually, I have learned a bit over the years about how some plants actually do better potted and then some need to (have to) be in the ground. for example, my rose of sharon (awesome pink blooms and easy to maintain) is stunted in a pot, but int he ground it thrives and even makes babies each spring that can be shared. In contrast, I had to put the hibiscus plant back in the pot because it does better with the roots contained – I could go on – but my point is that while azaleas might be more for the ground – there are other balcony options – depending on sun amounts. also, I think everyone should have a big fat container for some herbs – especially basil – which is easy peasy to grow form seed – and a few others – and a mandevilla is a great container plant that climbs (and here int he States they are about 10$ these days (used to be 25+) – oh and lavender and mint do well in a pot together – and have the added perk of aromatherapy

            Like

            • Well that makes me feel slightly better! I didn’t realise cyclamen were that difficult – I do see them in a lot of front yards.
              Yes! I also want to get a mini herb garden going – I’ve already got basil and rosemary. There’s nothing like picking your own vegetables and herbs to use in the kitchen! Mint and lavender are a great idea – I’ll pick some up next chance I get.
              Thank you~! :D

              Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you summed up my thoughts about summer in Japan very well. I waited for the cold to break and then…suddenly it was hot and humid. I too waited for Autumn–maybe that was because I loved Autumn beer.
    As always, great photos. Thank you.

    Like

    • Glad I’m not the only one who thinks that way! I’m really undecided on whether I like spring or autumn more. I feel like I should say spring especially being in Japan, but there are so many reasons to love autumn – including the beer! How about you?

      Like

    • Awesome!! I feel like the whole of Tokyo has turned into an azalea heaven. The school I teach at also has a long row of azalea shrubs at the front entrance – it’s been so nice to be greeted by them every morning over the past week or so!

      Like

      • Thanks again Celia. I got to Nezu today! Was superb. I had a girls day out with my friends 4 year old. Being a Sunday was rather full but still gorgeous! Lots of action at the shrine with a wee flea market, food stalls, a brass band and Taiko drums. I will probably put up some pictures later but yours are so stunning ! I am not sure theyvwill do it justice! Do you mind if I link your Nezu post to mine?

        Like

        • Oh I’m jealous! I wanted to go on the weekend, but couldn’t make it. It sounds like it was buzzing with activity. I love watching taiko. Fun!
          I’m sure your pics are great, but of course I wouldn’t mind at all! Thank you so much :)

          Like

  3. こんな大規模(だいきぼ)な つつじの庭園を はじめてみました。この絵を 描いてみたら?
    丸型(まるがた)に形をそろえて 整然(せいぜん)と並ぶつつじの木々が 
    ぼこぼこした 羊のむれのようにも みえます。今年は 羊の年ですから。
    白い酒饅頭(さけまんじゅう)も 丸いつつじの木のかたちを 反映(はんえい)しているようです。
    緑の葉が まだ多いなかで、濃淡(のうたん)ピンクや 白いつつじの花が 浮きあがって見えて、
    とても すばらしい色彩です。
    それから、朱色の鳥居(とりい)と 朱色の鯉(こい)が うつくしい絵の対象(たいしょう)となるようです。

    Like

    • 本当だ、羊のむれのように見えますね。面白い観察です!私にとって、ふわふわビーンバッグのように見えると思いました(笑)
      ツツジの花は毎年咲きますのに、命が短くてちょっと残念ですね。長い間楽しめる花があるのでしょうか?

      Like

  4. Flowers are so fascinating to watch, it indeed takes our breathe away when we are in such lovely garden, I must envy you but as very good friend I am cherishing those beautiful moments through your eyes. Yes, every seasons has its own flavours and you are right when one comes, we look forward to the next, and life is a cycle of seasons…the good, the bad, the red, the green, the high, the low…variegated garden of life.
    Lovely post…indeed the early post on sakura and cherry have been eqaully so tempting. It makes you feel so good about life, the beauty of nature.
    cheers Celina to such beautiful flowers…
    have a lovely day.
    :D

    Like

    • Thank you, Nihar. I think you appreciate the wonders of nature in the same way I do. It’s easy to take things that are out of our control, like flowers in bloom, for granted, but I think consciously being thankful for these moments is so important!
      Hope you’re enjoying your weekend, too :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed Celia. I really love nature and such is the wonders of nature, it keeps you captivated and the more you spend time with nature, the more we learn, the more we come to know how little to know about nature. The power of nature is all encompassing…it keeps growing on you and keeps nurturing your senses. Flowers are fascinating facets of nature’s beauty.
        Yes, having a good weekend, wishing you a wonderful weekend.
        :D

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, John! You’re right, azaleas take over the city in April. Since going to Nezu Shrine, I’ve been noticing azaleas everywhere!

      Tulips are surprisingly very popular in Japan. There are a bunch of well known tulip festivals, like at Showa Memorial Park in Tokyo, Kiso Sansen Park in Gifu and of course the Dutch park Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki.

      Like

  5. Pingback: Blooming Beautiful! | nihongojapango

  6. We were just a few days too early for the azaleas at Nezu when we came up to Tokyo in April to househunt. So I love seeing your pictures of them in a better state! Hopefully, I get to see them myself in full bloom next year. ;)

    Like

    • Oh that’s too bad you missed them this year. I was apparently a bit too early too, but actually the pictures I’ve seen of the garden in full-bloom don’t look too different!
      You’re moving to Tokyo!? Exciting! Hope the househunt was successful :-)

      Like

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s