I always try to go to Tokyo in June. It’s one of my favorite times of year, flower-wise, and Tokyo has the best concentration of gardens I know of where one can enjoy irises and hydrangeas in their rainy season glory.
I wanted to visit the Harajuku and Omote-sando neighborhood to get more pictures and information for a new self-guided walk I am working on and figured, well heck, Meiji JIngu is right there so why not stop in and see the irises? I’ve been to the shrine’s inner garden before and the display of purple blooms in June is lovely so I figured a return trip wouldn’t be wasted.
It wasn’t, of course, but having been once before, I was looking for that slightly “new” picture, that different angle on an already familiar theme. (There are only so many flower pictures one can take … even me!) Then I saw an older gentlemen with a box of paints and a near finished canvas in front of him. He would contemplate his work, dip his brush into a color, add a subtle stroke to the painting and sit back and ponder some more. He didn’t seem to mind the hordes of visitors traipsing through his scene and even chatted happily with those of us who complimented him on his work. Despite having several talented family members, I have the artistic abilities of a 4-year-old so I am constantly in awe of people who can translate the vision in front of them into something beautiful on a two-dimensional piece of paper.
I’ve already written about the Meiji Jingu iris garden here but it really is worth repeating that June is a perfect time for a visit.