July 10, 2007

Yakushi Lake

Yakushi Lake

We visited Yakushi ike Koen which means Yakushi Lake Park in Machida city last weekend to feed the koi and to see the giant lotuses.
Carp Yakushi

Carp were swimming in the lake … one of them was almost one metre long!

This lotus lake is a famous must-visit spot right next to Yakushi-ike Park in Machida City (Tokyo). The reason why it is so famous is because the lotuses you see in the photo all grew from just THREE 2,000 year old seeds that were discovered by a doctor in Chiba prefecture and planted out in 1951. During the spread of Buddhism in Japan, many craftsmen came from India, and the lotus seeds may have come to Japan then.

lotus2

These lotuses are humongous, and each plant is taller than my sister and I. Lotus leaves are pure green and very beautiful.

Lotus1

Lotuses are found in many Japanese paintings, and are important flowers for most Asian countries, such as China, Korea, Japan and India. They are important symbols and feature in Japanese haiku and seasonal language, see Kigo

Why do people find the lotus such a mystical or magical symbol? Nelumbo nucifera is particularly well known as it is the sacred lotus of Hinduism and Buddhism and is the national flower of India. Its roots are also used widely in Japanese and Asian cooking.

Nelumbo is a genus of water flowers commonly known as lotus and the only genus in the family Nelumbonaceae. Nelumbo is what is most commonly meant by the rather ambiguous term “lotus”. The word Nelumbo originates from the Sinhaliese word Nelum.

Nelumbonaceae is the botanical name for a family of flowering plants. Such a family has been recognized by only a few taxonomists: the plants involved have often been included in family Nymphaceae. It is sometimes called the “lotus family” or “lotus-lily family”.

Nelumbo is superficially similar to but not closely related to the water-lilies of the family Nymphaeceae. The leaves of Nelumbo can be distinguished from those of genera in the Nymphaeaceae as they are peltate, that is they have fully circular leaves. Nymphaea, on the other hand, has a single characteristic notch from the edge in to the center of the lilypad. The central seed pod of Nelumbo is also very different .

White lotuses

Back to Yakushi Lotus Lake … white lotuses also grow in a separate part of the Lotus Lake. (Yakushiike Park, Machida city). And among the lotuses was this adorably cute frog that was looking at me so intently the whole time.

Frog

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