Skip to content


September 20, 2013


Life in the Japanese countryside is a life spent marking time. The most noticeable, and celebrated, (and commercialized – there are bus tours for the passionate) markers are the blooming of the cherry blossoms in spring, and the changing colours of autumn. But there are literally dozens more, most of them small, for those with an eye on The March of Time.

Kitchengardenjapan’s two favourites are so thus. Small showings, unpretentious but oh-so significant.

February sees hukinotou, wild butterbur sprouting on the orchard floor. A sight to rejoice at, and a delicacy to eat, hukinotou signifies the ending of winter, the start of spring, and warmer days to come. A great shake for a Planter.

The second sight for sore eyes are the blooming of higanbana in the hedgerows and on the paths between rice paddies. Inedible, but eaten nevertheless when the rice crop failed, these beautiful flowers signal the end of another sticky summer and the beginning of Japan’s most clement season. Skies are blue and cloudless; dragonflies perform, and a post-summer serenity settles. Mosquito numbers wane (hurrah!); Even incidental typhoons, hurrying through, end in cyan calm. In the countryside, for the rice growers, it’s a time to get the subsidized (thus doubly) golden harvest in; for us, it’s a time to wind down, save seeds and plot about planting trees. It’s the best time of the year to be in Japan, without a shadow of a doubt. And today, mooching about, I saw the first of the year. Higanbara, Marked.

For those readers considering coming to Japan, mark late September down in your diary. For those of us living here, otsukare! Let the calm times roll…


Kitchengardenjapan, dancing happily.

More on hukinotou:

And yet more!


4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2013 10:59 pm

    They’re called higanbana around here! Recently yellow and white blooms have been popping up as well; apparently they’re creating new varieties?

    • September 24, 2013 12:05 pm

      Ten points for Todd! I got the name all screwed up, silly me. I’ll edit the correct name in, thanks a lot! And it makes their time of blooming even more on the ball, ne? As for the colours, white I’ve seen, but yellow, never. Wouldn’t surprise me if there were new varieties being developed, though, they’re a good looking flower.

  2. Carrie faith permalink
    September 21, 2013 4:50 pm

    I love spider lilies anywhere I see them!! I’ll so notice tiny yellow butterflies about the same time of year, both here and back home. We have a patch of white ones that come up in our backyard every year. Bliss.

    • September 24, 2013 12:07 pm

      They’re great aren’t they, Carrie? A yearly tanoshimi. Not noticed many butterflies lately, but the dragonflies seem to be having a festival in our hatake, madness, it is…

      Thanks for posting!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: