Lotus of Ueno Park, Tokyo

The Zen of lotus leaves: graceful, reaching, curling, budding, nurturing, blossoming, caressing, open and welcoming, hiding, labyrinthine, blanketing.

Several of my fellow bloggers have recently written about Ueno Park in Tokyo and others about the concept of wabi-sabi (Travels and Trifles, Albatz Travel),  and some of my older photos popped up on Facebook to remind me, a convergence bringing me back to lotus. Sprawling Ueno Park erupts in an explosion of pastel pink during sakura season, the iconic cherry trees in bloom. People gather in small groups on blue tarps to picnic and photograph. Soon after, a shower of pink fills the sky as the petals drift on the breeze finding their way to carpet the ground. A cluster of museums, both art and historical, gather at the north end of the park, a few temples, the zoo to the west.

Shinobazu Pond lives in the traditional historic Shitamachi end of the park. A bridge cuts the pond in two, often dotted by food stalls. On one side, swan-shaped boats paddle around. The other side, the south end near the Shitamachi museum, is gloriously choked with lily pads and lotus plants. One of my favorite places to visit in Tokyo, in the three years I lived there, I paid homage to the lotus plants every year in every season. These shapes speak to me like poetry.

In spring and summer, a mass of the green circular forms cover its surface, ducks bob, and the soft pastel colors of opening flowers appear under shapely leaves that sway in the breeze high above the water, a fecund time of regeneration and growth. In fall and winter, the dried leaves hover above the lake curled into sculptural patterns, like arms and hands reaching and folding, their reflections mirroring their expressive curves—a poem of dying plants in poignant shapes.

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Published by rkrontheroad

Writer, photographer, traveler

27 thoughts on “Lotus of Ueno Park, Tokyo

  1. These are really lovely Ruth – somehow I am most drawn to the image of dying brown flowers but they are all beautiful. I remember being amazed by them when we visited Angkor Wat in cambodia. We have nothing like them here.

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  2. Thanks for visiting and commenting. I was surprised at how compelling the dying plants tugged at me. Your photos are stunning – I will spend more time on your site. You have a discerning eye.

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      1. Thanks, Ruth. I love dried lotus pods. Cool photos. Have you ever been to Wabi Pottery in Russell Gulch? If not, you should make a special trip. Has been there 40 some years. The showroom is open 24 hours a day and you write down what you bought and leave a check. One of my favorite potters, located right at the intersection of Virginia Canton and the low road through the gulch.

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