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  • 執筆者の写真Mariko Oku

梅雨を彩る紫陽花 The last rainy beauty of hydrangea

最後の紫陽花を見納めに、旧三井家下賀茂別邸を訪ねました。 Visited Old Mitsui Family Shimogamo Villa to take a last look at the hydrangea.

財閥の三井家が、祖霊社を参拝するための参拝休憩所として建築した広い御屋敷は歴史的価値が高く、国の重要文化財に指定されています。 The Mitsui combine, one of the biggest financial groups in Japan constructed theit villa as a resting place before worshipping at their ancestral shrine. Later, it was designated as an Important Cultural Property, which turned out to be a fine example of a large-scale classical Japanese residence.

広い庭園の一角には紫陽花苑があり、ゆったりと沢山の美しい紫陽花を愛でる事の出来る、隠れた名所です。 There is a hidden place of historical interest in the corner of the sprawling garden where you can spend time leisurely enjoying so many beautiful hydrangea flowers.

紅紫・露草色、水色、桃花色etc..色とりどりの紫陽花が、それぞれの色で美しく輝いていました。 Red purple, dew blue, sky bule, flowery pink, etc. they have their different beautiful colors shining brightly.


そして「藍」の意味をもつ「さヰ」を合わせ、小さな藍色の花が集まっていることから「あづさヰ」と呼ばれていました。 Hydrangeas are called “Ajisai” in Japan. The origin of the word came from the combined word of “Adsu” which means “ small things get together,” and “Sai” which means “Indigo blue,” that is to say, Ajisai flower ball consists of so many small indigo blue flowers.

その小さな花が集まり寄り添っている様子から、「和気藹々」や「家族」といった、素敵な花言葉にも繋がっています。 A hydrangea also has the meaning of “friendliness,” and “family”, coming from the form in which each small flower sits close together.

そして、紫陽花の紫は「浄化」の力があり、梅雨の間に7つの病を吸い取ると言われ、紫陽花を逆さまに吊るし、無病息災のおまじないにも使われています。 Moreover, the hydrangea has the power of “purifacation.” People hand the hydrangea flowers upside down from the ceiling to absorb the 7 main illnesses instead of you so that you can stay healthy during the clammy rainy season.

鶴屋吉信さんの素敵な和菓子の菓銘は「彩夏」 梅雨を彩る紫陽花の美しさが、見事にお意匠に現されています。 This is a Japanese June sweet made by a renowned Japanese confectionary shop,”Tsuruya Yoshinobu,” in which the rainy beauty of hydrangea flowers in this season is reflected on the design of the sweet.




You can say the hydrangea is also a symbolic flower of “tenderness.”

At the time when a medical care was not well developed, many people died due to the outbreak of an epidemic. Hydrangea flowers were offered to mourn for the deceased and were planted in the precinct of many temples. That is why you will see many hydrangea flowers in Japanese temples.


Each small flower is blooming tenderly reflecting the sunlight of early summer, and the each small flowers get together forming one round beautiful hydrangea ball like a bountiful bouquet then those colorful hydrangea balls form the layered flower waves in the garden shining brilliantly, that seem, I felt, to be showing us the resemblance of our earth and the space with full of individuality.


Today, many Shinto shrines hold purification ritual called “Nagoshi no harae.”

Do the purification to exorcise the sins and defilement accumulated in the six months. Enjoy your day to the full!



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