Gunjyou means literally “gathering of blues” and is based on the name of a paint from China. Gunjyou color, unlike blue or navy blue, contains purplish hints. It is a deep blue and also called konjyou, or Prussian blue.
The best natural gunjyou color was said to be the one that was made from a mineral called ruri, or lapis lazuli, and was very rare to find at that time. Azurite powder from indigo minerals was also used to produce the color.
Gunjyou color was regarded as a necessity to create the vibrant blue color in Japanese painting and was used often in pictures on luxurious room partitions during Momoyama Period. This deep color was also applied lavishly to such items as folding screens and fabrics.
Lake Okotanpe is a small lake with circumference of 5 km, located in the west of Chitose City, Hokkaido. It is a dammed lake created by lava that blocked the Okotanpe River, which flows out of this lake into Lake Shikotsu. The lake is located in a relatively high land with an altitude of the lake surface of 574 m. The lake is surrounded by the primary forest of Jezo spruce and Sakhalin fir, which create serene hush. Lake Okotanpe, together with Lake Shinonome and Lake Onneto, is counted as one of the 3 mysterious lakes in Hokkaido. The hue of the lake surface varies delicately with seasons or weather. As the lake itself and the surrounding area are designated as a special protection area, visitors cannot go down to the lakeside. However, the lake seen from the nearby observation tower is an exquisite view. If you look down at the mysterious change in color from cobalt blue to emerald green on the surface of the lake, which is surrounded by the huge primary forest spreading at the foot of grand Mt. Eniwa, you will be convinced it’s a really mysterious lake. You can enjoy marvelous changes in nature.
Bishamon-numa Pond is the largest of Goshiki-numa lakes (the five-colored lakes). It is located at 770 m above sea level, has an area of 100,000 m2, and is 13 m deep at the deepest point. The degree of clearness is 4-5 m, which is not very high. The pond looks beautiful white blue on a fine day. The color of the pond changes, ranging from red, blue, green, and cobalt blue to emerald green with the season, the weather, and the position of the sun. The most beautiful is when it looks emerald green, which will dazzle your eyes. The water is strongly acidic. When the sunlight reaches fine particles of aluminum silicate that are deposited at the bottom of the pond, the light is scattered and the color of the pond changes. Also aquatic plants growing in the pond take on greenish color when the water temperature rises. If the sunlight pours onto those plants and the fine particles, the pond looks red or blue. When the water surface is as calm as a mirror, Mt. Bandai and surrounding green or red leaves are reflected on the water, which is very impressive. It is said that the water flows from Ruri-numa Pond, but there is a spring somewhere in this pond itself. The water of this pond flows down into Lake Inawashiro.
Mt. Bandai erupted in 1888 and caused extensive damage to the surrounding areas. The northern side of the mountain collapsed by the eruption and the avalanche of rocks and earth dammed the river to form the 3 Lakes of Bandai (Lake Hibara, Lake Onogawa, and Lake Akimoto) and many other nameless lakes and ponds in Bandai Highland, which is a beautiful highland where about 300 lakes and ponds scattered around. Goshiki-numa, or Five Colored Lakes, is a cluster of approximately 40 large and small volcanic ponds including Bishamon-muna, Aka-numa, Midoro-numa, Ryu-numa, Benten-numa, Ruri-numa, Ao-numa, and Yanagi-numa, all of which are located among the 3 Lakes of Bandai at the northern foot of Mt. Bandai. The 3-km walking trail, by which visitors can see around more than ten ponds, is very popular. Changing their colors from cobalt blue to indigo blue or copper brown, those mysterious ponds are called “Witches’ Eyes.”
Rurikoji Temple is the fourteenth of 33 spiritual places of Rokugomanzan in the Kunisaki Peninsula, Oita Prefecture. The mountain is called Mt Cedar.
Ninmon-bosatsu established the temple in the first year of the Yoro period (717).
In old times, Rurikoji Temple had many buildings but most of them were burned down. The present temple is said to have been one of the halls from that time.
Yakushi-nyorai is the main deity in the main building; Amida-nyorai and Shaka-nyorai are on the right and left. Of these, the Amida-nyorai statue has been designated as a National Important Cultural Asset. It was carved from the wood of a Japanese nutmeg tree in the late Heian period. The shape is peaceful and soft.
The crepe myrtle in the temple is a very big tree which spans 2m around and rises 15m high. It is said to be more than 600 years old and the best crepe myrtle in Japan.