Okunoin stone prayer wheel 2018

Okunoin stone prayer wheel

This is a stone prayer wheel located in Okunoin Cemetery.

There are similar stone prayer wheels in many temples in Japan, such as the much newer one at Shitennōji Temple (四天王寺),  in Osaka.

In this new “updated” version you can see a sutra prayer carved into the stone wheel.

By rotating it one full turn a believer earns the same merit as chanting it once.

This is not just being lazy!  It is a physical act symbolizing the turning of the wheel of life.  Seeing it come back around.  Learning to understand that the prayer wheel and life can turn endlessly, unless… we transcend the cycle (circle).

The  the prayer wheel in Okunoin is gives the location of

大阪西長堀 Osaka Nishi Nagahori

It also gives the name of 作次郎 Sakujiro

as the donor / almsgiver 施主

The stone marker next to it has


Commemorative stone honoring the visiting of “One hundred times a month” for

榮次郎 Eijiro

Red-billed leiothrix Birds Koyasan

Red-billed leiothrix

Peking robin

Scientific name: (学名) Leiothrix lutea

Modern Latin, from Greek leios ‘smooth’ + thrix ‘hair’

lutea  “yellow”

相思鳥  mutual affection    ソウシチョウ

It is a small olive-grey babbler, with a forked tail, (which I didn’t see).  Its’ bright red bill and pink feet are highly distinctive.  It has a soft yellow throat fading, blending into an orange breast. One of the pair I saw had red over yellow wing markings.

It is cited as an invasive species, but not verified to any substantial degree.  Considering the many similar bird species Japan and China share.  It seems much more likely to me that it is native to both countries as are innumerable other bird species.  Disclaimer: I am not an ornithologist.

According to one source its’ song is long and complex, a rather rapid, fluty warble of up to 15 notes.  I observed and recorded what appeared to be a pair.  I wasn’t able to distinguish if what I heard was their song or other birds nearby.  Chalk it up to not enough field time, not enough time with the birds…yet

卵茸 Egg Mushroom タマゴタケ


卵茸 Egg Mushroom タマゴタケ

Amanita caesareoides

Caesar’s mushroom

“Asian Vermilion Slender Caesar”

According to some it is one of the most desirable edible mycorrhizal mushrooms.

From the genus name, from Ancient Greek ἀμανίτης (amanítēs), mushrooms.

I found this hiding under a Hinoki bough near the top of Yoryuzan on the Koya Sanzan trail.  The color jumped from the forest floor.

This species is assigned to stirps Hemibapha.  It is the species commonly called  A. hemibapha (Berk. & Broome) Sacc. in Japan, Korea and other countries of northeastern Asia.

Amanita caesareoides is very similar to Amanita jacksonii Pomerl. of eastern North America including Mexico.


Koyasan Typhoon 高野山台風

The Western Stupa in the Danjo Garan after typhoon.

壇上伽藍の西塔 台風の後

Please be very careful!


It may be cleaned, but if you look up there are many branches as big as normal trees.

Some of them may very well come down at any time.




The Okunoin cemetary had major damage.

It will take some time to repair.



Goodbye old friend.


Hawk 鷹 たか

Takeda Shingen 武田信玄  (1521-1573)

We can see a memorial for the famous samurai Takeda Shingen in Okunoin Cemetary.

In this painting he is seated with his hunting hawk.

It’s a bit difficult, but can you spot the hawk/kestral/eagle? (Click image)

If you keep your awareness peaked you can catch a glimpse of these high flyers, who sometimes seek prey in the forests.

I’m not yet anywhere near being able to identify even easy big birds, but I can enjoy their majestic flight and beauty!



イヌワシ(inuwashi) 狗鷲 Aquila chrysaetos japonica ???

Severtzov, 1888 – common name Japanese golden eagle

Photos from August 30th 2018 Koyasan area

百日紅 サルスベリ 猿滑 Japanese Crape Myrtle

サルスベリ 猿滑

One kanji for the tree is “百日紅”, which translates to “one hundred days of crimson”,  very cool!  Yes, it does stay in bloom for a long time.

The bark is smooth and so the name of “Saru >monkey  suberi> slips”, “Monkey slips or Monkey slides” is also a cool fitting name.

These photos are from “Fugen-in Temple 普賢院”.  If you get a chance they are truly beautiful!



The common English name is “Japanese Crape Myrtle”

The scientific name is  Lagerstroemia indica​ >native to India.

The genus is named after the Swedish merchant Magnus von Lagerström.

He was a director of the Swedish East India company who supplied the famous Carl Linnaeus with plants he collected.

It does come in a variety of colors and shades so keep your eyes open and enjoy!

Takasogo Yuri Formosa Lily タカサゴユリ

Lots of Lillies everywhere!

On the edges of towns and in the mountains.

(Photos August 2018 Koyasan area)

From one of my favorite poets…

The modest Rose puts forth a thorn,
The humble sheep a threat’ning horn:
While the Lily white shall in love delight,
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.

Know who wrote that? WB

Takasogo Yuri    Formosa Lily

台湾百合 Taiwanese Lily

学名 The scientific name is Lilium Formosanum

It nearly looks like an Easter Lily and is closely related to it.

It is native to Taiwan.

I remember calling it the “Trumpet” flower which the Taiwanese did first 喇叭花 > trumpet flower.


露草 ツユクサ Tsuyukusa Japanese Dayflower

I call it “indigo elephant flower”.  What name would you give it?

The common name is  “Japanese Dayflower”.

In Japanese “Tsuyukusa”, 露草 Tsuyu means “dew” or “rainy season”.

Kusa 草 means “grass”.

The scientific name is commelina communis. 学名

It is named after Dutch botonists Jan and Caspar Commelijin. オランダ植物学者


It’s also known as “Duckfoot herb”.

鴨跖草   kamo (duck)

It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for sore throats and tonsillitis among other things.

On sunny days the flowers open in the morning. Naturally, like the name suggests, they last only one day.

The lovely Dayflower adds a striking accent of color to salads.

Boil the flowers and leaves, steaming is better!

三杯酢 Vinegar, soy sauce, and mirin (or sugar) as a dressing gives a refreshing taste to this summer salad.


There is an article about Plant Dyes used in Woodblock Prints. This article talks about “Ukiyo-e”,

pictures of the floating world. It sites evidence that this Japanese Dayflower was used to make dyes for various woodblock prints.

“The traditional organic blues, dayflower and indigo, can be confidently identified by FORS in the visible and

near-infrared ranges.”

Actor Ichikawa Danzō III as Adachi Hachirō, (MFA 11.19030),
1762 (Hôreki 12) 11th month, designed by Torii Kiyomitsu I, and pub-
lished by Urokogataya Magobei (30.2 x 14.2 cm). Example of a benizuri-e
Japanese woodblock print with a 3-color palette commonly made from
the 1740s to 1765.

(PDF) Plant Dye Identification in Japanese…. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315754202_Plant_Dye_Identification_in_Japanese_Woodblock_Prints [accessed Aug 26 2018].

Derrick, Michele & Wright, Joan & Newman, Richard.

(2017). Plant Dye Identification in Japanese Woodblock Prints. Arnoldia. 74. 12.


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