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Asebi Flowers (Japanese Andromeda)

In Nijyushi-sekki (二十四節気, 24 divisions of the year in Japanese old almanac), the day of Keichitsu (啓蟄) fell on March 6 this year. It is the date on which wintering insects come out of hibernation. Around this day, buds of all kinds of trees begin to bloom in Japan, as if they cannot wait for the spring to arrive.

The other day, I saw Asebi (馬酔木, Japanese Andromeda) trees in full bloom at Suika Tenmangu (水火天満宮) shrine. The Kanji (漢字) characters for Asebi mean “drunken horse tree (馬=horse, 酔=drunk, 木=tree)”, and the tree is literally poisonous for horses. The shape of Asebi flower resembles that of Suzuran (鈴蘭, lily of the valley). I spent a very pleasant afternoon enjoying the pretty Asebi flowers swinging in the wind.

Akane Kibune
Kyoto Expert Certification 1st grade

2 mins. on foot from Tenjin Koen Mae, Kyoto city bus

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