Photo/IllutrationAn amazing red azalea is seen outside the main hall of Ankokuji zen temple in Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture. (Takaharu Yagi)

TOYOOKA, Hyogo Prefecture--The spectacular red azalea looks like the subject in a huge framed painting when seen from the main hall of the Ankokuji zen temple here.

But the plant is real enough, is over 100 years old and was opened for public viewing from Nov. 7, which was “ritto” (the start of winter).

This type of “dodan-tsutsuji” azalea stretches out its branches on a hill in the backyard of the temple, covering an area of 100 square meters.

“I want people to see the plant, which has grown by receiving blessings from nature,” said Yoshinaga Sanada, the chief priest of the temple in the Tantocho district of Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture.

The azalea is scheduled to be lit up from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. until Nov. 19. Admission is 300 yen (about $2.60). It is free of charge for junior high school students and younger.