You can now visit the Kyoto temple to see the natsu tsubaki K-Selection
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You can now visit Kyoto Temple to see natsu tsubaki

Torinin's natsu tsubaki are a reminder that beauty can be fleeting, which sometimes makes it all the more captivating.

Located in the Ukyo district of the city, Kyoto's Myoshinji Temple is a fascinating place that is actually not a single temple, but a complex comprising around fifty sub-temples. Walking the Myoshinji trails is of course encouraged, but all but a few temples within the complex are normally closed to the public, including Torinin Temple, founded almost 500 years ago, in 1531 .

This temple, however, makes an exception and opens its doors at certain times of the year, like right now, so that visitors can admire the flowers of the temple garden which are of great beauty in more than one way, since each flower only blooms for one day. Technically, each flower blooms for less than a day, since it is far from reaching 24 hours.

You can now visit the Kyoto temple to see the natsu tsubaki K-Selection

If the cup-shaped white flowers named natsu tsubaki, meaning "summer camellias," open before dawn, they can be expected to fall from the tree's branches at sunset of the sun. The flowers fall largely intact, and because the temple's natsu tsubaki grow above a large expanse of mossy earth, their impact is muted and the contrast between colors is fascinating.

As with cherry blossoms, many consider natsu tsubaki, whose scientific name is “Stewartia pseudocamellia,” to be a floral reminder of the transience of life. Torinin is also known as the temple of the Sala tree, sala being another name for the ephemeral flowers which are mentioned in the 12th century epic, the Tale of the Heike, which includes the following passage:

« The sound of the bells of Gion Shoja echoes the impermanence of all things; the color of the flowers in the sala reveals the truth that the prosperous must decline. The proud do not last, they are like a dream in the spring night; the mighty eventually fall, like dust before the wind."

You can now visit the Kyoto temple to see the natsu tsubaki K-Selection

Although each flower only blooms for one day, the temple has about a dozen natsu tsubaki, and because not all of the flowers open at the same time, full bloom lasts about two weeks. This year, Torinin Garden was opened to the public on June 10 and will remain open until June 23. Reservations are not necessary, but the cost of entry is 1 yen or $600, which does include a cup of matcha green tea and a traditional Japanese confectionery to enjoy while contemplating the impermanent beauty of the natsu tsubaki. There's nothing better to remind us of the importance of taking the time to stop and smell the roses/look at the summer camellias when you get the chance.

Aren't these magnificent flowers from the Kyoto temple a treat for the eyes?

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