20th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Travel
The Story of the Chinese Bellflower

Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan and home to my Maiko and Geisha friends as well as my ancestral temple. Every year, I make it a point to come to Kyoto and spend some time at my ancestral temple. The Boddhisattva always answers my prayers to grant me and my photos everlasting beauty. And I get to hang out with my Maiko and Geisha friends. Usually we find nice temples and gardens to visit in the afternoons and of course to make beautiful photos. All in our fantasy world of perfumed gardens and ornate temples, a world where refinement and grace is everything. Kanzashi Kanzashi are hair ornaments worn depending on the month, season, hairstyle, and tastes of a geisha. The flower themes of each month are fixed. The Chinese Bellflower kanzashi on the Maiko's hair indicates the month is now September. The Chinese Bellflower played a role in Japanese myth and folklore. There, the flower is also known as kikyo, which means pentagram. The balloon flowers’ five-pointed blossoms stand for the five elements of the Tao, which include wood, water, fire, earth, and fire.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 09.2019
Date Uploaded: 09.2022
Photo Location: Kyoto, Japan
Copyright: © Robin Yong