Hedara (ヘダラ)

The word 'Hedara' (Eurya japonica) is a Buddhist terminology which means 'the flower for altarage.'


It refers to the evergreen tree for what is referred to as 'Edamono' (an evergreen tree which brings out the beauty of flowers) in Kado flower arrangement such as Eurya japonica which is served at the time of memorial services (Buddhist services) and visits to graves in the Tango region, Kyoto and other regions. It is distinguished from the flowers for altarage.

While Hedara (also known as Hisakaki) is generally used except for the Obon festival (a Festival of the Dead or Buddhist All Souls' Day), it is said that Shikimi (Japanese star anise) is used only in Obon festival in the Miyazu region.

In addition, it is also called shitakusa (undergrowth), hendara, dosoku, and bishako, depending on the regions, and it is said that the kinds of Hedara differ among Buddhist sects. In the Kanto region, such customs and names are not heard.

For example, on the way to the Nariai-ji Temple where Amanohashidate can be seen, you can find a signboard on which a note of caution, 'Don't take Hedara,' is written along the road. (This is not often seen in other regions except for the Tango region) It is said that such a signboard is set not only to warn people in order to preserve plants, but also to serve as a warning against the danger of being bitten by Japanese copperheads in forests while seeking Hedara.

In the Akaike densetsu legend of the Amino-cho, Tango City, Kyoto Prefecture, the word Hedara also appears.

[Original Japanese]