There are two persimmon trees near Kusho Myoshin and both are full of fruit! Little fruit. The persimmons that are commonly eaten in Japan are much larger. This variety of persimmon is called sarugaki (persimmon is “kaki“), or “monkey persimmon.” They are small enough to fit in the palm of an adult’s hand. “Monkey persimmon” are edible, but quite tart. (Please take our word for it and do not pick or eat any persimmon you come across at Ninna-ji or any other temple!)
I have posted a few pictures of the gravel in the gardens being raked, it’s about time I show you a better picture of the rakes being used. The flat rakes are used to level out the gravel, while the rakes with the “teeth” are used to make lines. This kind of old-style broom is used all over the temple for cleaning up fallen leaves (or flower petals!) and stray gravel.
The seeds have started to grow on the maple trees in the temple grounds! When I was a kid we used to call the seeds on maple trees “helicopters” because of the way they spin as they fall. I wonder if that’s still what they call them now? Apparently the seeds are able to travel quite some distance thanks to their “wings.” In Japanese they are called yokka or yokuka and the word is written with the characters for “wings” and “fruit” (翼果). Their likeness to helicopter propellors is also noted in Japan, and while “yokka” is the correct term for the seeds, it seems that it isn’t used much…
This is the view from underneath, the low branches are all supported on little crutches. You can see this tree for yourself outside of Goten, come take a look!