I bought one of these plants recently. It is called enishida in Japanese and gorse or furze in English. The plant is originally from Southern Europe but was introduced to Japan around 1670 by the merchants from Holland. The plant is a perennial evergreen shrub that belongs to the family of peas or beans and is often used for hedges. I love the beautiful yellow flowers. The plant is seen flowering from April to early summer.
Enishida エニシダ 金雀枝、金雀花、金雀児 The Kanji characters mean “Gold – Sparrow – Twig”, or “Gold – Sparrow – Flower”.
Here’s a link to lots of fun information about the gorse plant: Kigo database. It says “Furze is closely associated with the sun god Lugh, the Celtic god of light and genius and with the Spring Equinox, at which time it’s one of the only plants in full flower. However folklore attaches it to festivals throughout the spring and summer months as a symbol of the power of the sun. In Brittany the Celtic festival of Lugnasdagh, on August 1st, is known as The Festival of Golden Gorse.
As an evergreen that flowers the whole year round, furze is seen to carry within it a spark of the sun’s life giving energy, a spark that can be seen even through the darker winter months. It is a symbol of encouragement and a promise of good things to come. Furze speaks to people of the need to remain focused and optimistic, even in the darkest days. To keep hopeful and remain constant throughout the inevitable periods of difficulty we all experience.
As one of the first Spring flowering plants, the furze provides a plentiful supply of pollen for bees when they first come out of hibernation.” (It’s not one of the first spring flowering plants here in Japan though)