The Blossoming of Summer

A hearty hello to all of our loyal readers far and wide!

As of a couple of days ago, the rainy season is now officially over in central Honshuu. That doesn’t mean that we won’t get more rain, just that rain won’t be such a frequent occurence. With the end of the rainy season, comes the hottest weather of the year and in the buildup to the Bon holiday in August, cities can expect daily temperatures north of 30 degrees.

Now that the recorder breaking temperatures are being reported across the world, Japan is naturally getting hotter days on average with heat exhaustion affecting many in urban areas. Luckily, however, Kamikochi is considerably cooler even during the dog days of summer.

The recently departed rainy season also left us a few dainty gifts in the form of seasonal flowers. Let’s have a goosey gander and a few of the more celebrated blossoms of the hot months.

The prosaically named clematis stans is known as クサボタン (kusabotan) in Japan where it blooms from July to October. The plants can grow to be over a meter tall and are easiliy recosnizable by their pale purple flowers:

The Hypericum ascyron (also known as Great St. John’s Wort) is a perenial with distinctive five petal yellow flowers. I can also grow to be well over a meter in height.

Variously known as aconitum, wolf’s bane, and monkshood, the plant below is known arounf the wrold and steeped in folklore. Much of its notoriety come from its highly toxic nature. Feel free to look, but don’t touch, and for goodness sake, DO NOT EAT.

And speaking of not touching, we humbly present the touch me not balsam:

Found in damp regions of Asia, Europe, and North America, this species owes its curious name to the fact that its colorful pods can explode at the slightest touch.

And that leads us to a timely reminder. Visitors to Kamikochi are asked not pick or even touch local fauna so as no to disturb the park’s environment.

Another thing we’d like to mention is that, although Kamikochi is relatively cool in summer, the UV levels are quite high. You’ll definitely want to slap on some sun cream and ideally have a wide brimmed hat to pretect you from damaging UV rays.

That’s all for this week. Thanks as always to the fine folks at Five Sense for providing the images and info used in today’s blog. We really couldn’t do it without you.

Till next time, stay cool and enjoy the summer!

Sources of Information:

Nature Guide Five Sense, Kamikochi blog: