This is from the archives, taken in Iwate Prefecture (岩手県) about a year ago. Work has been too busy lately to pick up the camera so I have to dig into some older photos.
This stream is man-made and dates to the 12th century or earlier. It feeds into a large pond in the garden directly behind us, and the stream was used for an aristocratic poetry game called "Kyokusui-no en" (曲水の宴, literally, "meandering stream party"). The game was most popular during the Heian period (794 - 1185) and involved around seven participants who spaced themselves along the banks of the stream. A cup of Japanese rice wine (sake; お酒) was set in the stream and each poet had to finish a complete waka-style poem before the sake cup reached them. The more you drank, the harder it became to write a good poem, but the more fun everyone had.