UJI, Kyoto -- Visitors are enraptured with heart-shaped hydrangea clusters at a temple in this Kyoto Prefecture city, as the blooms are said to make love wishes come true and bring good fortune.
Visitors can be seen taking photos of the rare heart-shaped clusters of flowers at Mimuroto temple, also called "the flower temple," which has some 20,000 hydrangea plants.
The hydrangeas' heart shapes are formed with sepals, which look like petals. They became famous after Masakazu Iwai, 51-year-old president of Iwaiseika Co., which operates a teahouse on the grounds of the temple, found one in 2010. According to Iwai, more than 10 such clusters have been confirmed this year.
"This is my first time here, but I could find a cute heart shape as soon as I arrived," said a 32-year-old woman from Osaka's Suminoe Ward. "I hope the baby in my womb will be blessed with good fortune."
The hydrangea garden, which is now at its most spectacular, is lit up from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays until June 27. The garden is also open during the day until July 11. For more information, contact the temple by phone at 0774-21-2067 (in Japanese).
(Japanese original by Kentaro Suzuki, Gakken Uji Local Bureau)