Meiji Jingu Shrine, you can indulge in the ancient pastime of iris viewing amid beautiful birdsong. Here, in the shrine's serene Inner Garden, meandering ponds have been planted with different varieties of irises, which burst into glorious displays of white, yellow and purple blossoms in the month of June. Irises were a favorite of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. The practice of viewing the flowers was probably imported in ancient times from the Imperial Court of China. The blossoms are especially beautiful in early morning and late afternoon.
I love to imagine elegant kimono clad ladies -- a rainbow of silks floating above the siken iris petals. Was there samisen music? Were tea and sweet, soft daifuku served? Did the iris viewers compete to see who could compose the loveliest haiku?
Ribbons of iris
Beneath the grey rain -- till the sun
Lifts them to the sky.
Here's an iris viewing experience from the Kamo Iris Nurseries in Japan -- just right for a virtual Sunday stroll . . .
GARDENS IN JAPAN: Kamo Iris Nurseries (Featured on October 31st,2005)