I’m trying to learn many kanji and names of flowers–beautiful kanji for beautiful things.
The colors were so vivid it was surreal.
The old name for May (gogatsu, 五月) is 皐月 (satsuki), or azalea-month, and is pronounced the same way as the word for azalea.
Kikkô Park is home to a little garden of big peonies.
The kanji for peony is composed of 牡 (osu), which means male (of animals) and 丹 (ni), red (of earth, cinnabar). (My guess is that this kanji combination is a Chinese import.) Wikipedia tells me that other names for peony include 「富貴花」 (fortune-precious-flower), 「百花王」(hundred-flower-king) and 「花王」(flower-king).
Apparently, botan is also used as a seasonal word in Japanese poetry to invoke early summer.
Peonies are a motif in Chinese and Japanese art, although I’m not an expert on Asian art or botany.
Edit: Toshogu asked if this were a temple or a tea house. I researched it, and the answer is neither! According to the Iwakuni Tourism website, when the garden of the former daimyô’s residence was opened to the public in 1885, Kinunkaku was built to resemble a watch tower, although it’s actually a shrine for votive tablets (emadô, 絵馬堂). なるほど。。。
According to the map, the gardens around Kikkô Park also have names. Below is the Japanese Garden, Nihon Teien.
If you cross the bridge of Kintaikyô, you’ll have a short walk past all the ice cream shops to the garden. You can’t miss it! It was a lovely way to spend a cloudy May afternoon.