Heirin-ji, a working Rinzai-Buddhist sect temple, sits well off the beaten path in Niiza, on the border between Saitama and Tokyo. For most of the year the monks who call this place “ohm” (that is a very, very bad pun), a murder of crows, and apparently the occasional tanuki raccoon dog are the only visitors.
For a couple of weeks in early December, however, photographers and sightseers arrive by the bus- and carload to bathe in the Musashino Uplands forest of maples in which the temple complex is set.
This year, R. and I hit the temple forest at its peak. So, why no more than a handful of pictures you ask? To be honest, much as I enjoy walking the footpaths through the woods and taking in the late afternoon sunlight through red, green, and yellow leaves, and though I shoot a lot of pictures at the time, I find that in general I don’t get more than a handful of keepers on any one visit.
I guess some things are just meant to be enjoyed in their time and place. Then let go, like leaves falling from a Japanese maple…
How very zen.
– Homepage (in Japanese), with some fine seasonal photos
– Wikipedia (but you knew that already, didn’t you)
– “Now and Zen”, by Michael McDonagh, in Metropolis