Temples

Nagomi Jizo Hasedera Temple

Jizo of Kamakura Hase-Dera

I went down to Kamakura today to take a look at the 1001 Buddhas at Hase Dera. The temple grounds is adorned with hundreds of small statues of the Jizo Bodhisattva, who helps the souls of deceased children to reach paradise.

This is the second part of my day tour of Kamakura I spent the early part of the day basking in the glory of the great Kamakura Daibutsu That concluded my bucket-list of visiting all the three most-revered Buddha Temples in Japan The first one obviously being the Great Buddha of Todai-ji and the other – the Takaoka Daibutsu For those who didn’t read the first part of my story, I traveled for more than 4 hours today, all the way from Nara in Kansai, on train, to visit the Kamakura Daibutsu and then, if time permitted spend some time at the Kamakura Hase-dera Once I had my
Kamakura Buddha

The great Buddha of Kamakura

The Great Buddha of Kamakura is a monumental bronze statue of Amitābha Buddha located at the Kōtoku-in Temple in Kamakura. The bronze statue dates back to 1252 AD, in the Kamakura period.

Today I went to visit the Great Buddha of Kamakura It is a monumental outdoor bronze statue of Amitabha Buddha at the Kōtoku-in Temple in Kamakura of Kanagawa Prefecture According to temple records, the statue dates from around 1252 CE, in the Kamakura period It is now designated as a National Treasure of Japan My JR Pass was still active The train pass has been incredibly helpful for travelling to faraway places in Japan without incurring much expenses I stay in Nara, which is almost 500 km away from Kamakura – but armed with my JR Pass – not too far away! The ride from Nara to Kamakura
Horyuji Temple

Exploring the Horyu-ji Temple

Hōryū-ji is one of the seven great temples of Nara. Today we investigate the Pagoda at the grounds, said to be one of the oldest standing wooden structures in history. The tree used in the construction of the Pagoda dates back to 594 A.D. Can wood even survive that long!

Hōryū-ji (法隆寺) is one of the seven great temples of Nara The temple is a central artifact in the history of Japan and just invoking its name is enough to bring a sparkle in the eyes of most Japanese The original temple was commissioned by Prince Shōtoku in 607 CE and even though the complex has been hit by fire more than a few times, it still boasts the presence of the world’s oldest wooden building known to man Summer was upon us On a lazy Sunday, Me & Mani, left our dorm for Hōryū-ji at around noon In the steaming hot weather, with only the occasional breeze providing some relief, we walked
Hasedera

The Ajisai Garden of Hasedera Temple

We pay a visit to the ancient temple of Hasedera where the Ajisai is in full bloom in the monsoon season. The 1300 year old temple is also known as Ajisaidera or Hydrangea Temple, because of the hundreds of hydrangeas splashing the temple gardens in vibrant colors.

On a lovely sunny day, Mani & I left for Hase-dera Temple in Nara It had been raining incessantly for the whole week and we were lucky to have caught a break over the weekend Hase-dera is not very far away from Nara but we had to change a couple of trains to reach the Hasedera Station From Kintetsu Nara Station we took the train to Yamato-Saidaiji Station, then from there, another to Yamatoyagi At Yamatoyagi we changed to a semi-express train for Hasedera Catching the train from Kintetsu Nara Station On the train Mani explained to me how the original Hasedera was founded in 686 AD when a
Minobu-san Temple

Kuon-ji Temple

We walk up 287 Bodai stairs to the Kuon-ji Temple in Minobu. The stairs, built later in 1632, resemble the ones from the Aztec pyramids. Founded by Nichiren in 1281, it is today the head temple of Nichiren Shū. Locally it is referred to as the Minobu-san Temple, after the mountain upon which it is built.

Today we visit the Kuon-ji (久遠寺), which is a major Buddhist temple in Yamanashi Prefecture Hidden away far into the mountains of Yamanashi, it is locally referred to as the Minobu-san Temple, after the mountain upon which it is built Reaching it itself is a challenge as we traveled almost two hours from Lake Tanuki, on the local train and then had to take a bus to the base of the mountain, but as if that was not enough, to reach the temple there is the ultimate challenge of climbing 287 Bodaitei steps Brief History of Kuon-ji Minobusan Kuon-ji (久遠寺) is the head temple of the Nichiren shu (Nichiren sect)
Miyajima Torii

Torii at Miyajima

We take the ferry to the magnificent island of Miyajima to visit the centuries-old Itsukushima Shrine. The World Heritage site is located along the virgin forest of Mt. Misen over the waters of Hiroshima Bay. As dusk falls, the tide recedes and hoards of people make their way towards the beautiful Torii in the Sea.

For some extra fun on New Years weekend we had traveled to the renowned prefecture of Hiroshima from Nara We were staying at the lovely Hiroshima Garden Palace Hotel The all day travelling from the day before had sapped us of our energy so we woke up late In the afternoon, we decided to visit the magnificent Miyajima Island, I had heard so much about Miyajima is a small island located less than an hour away from the city of Hiroshima Located in the Seto Inland Sea, ten miles southwest of the Hiroshima, the island is sacred for both Shinto and Buddhist practitioners The island’s real name is Itsukushima (厳島), but it is known
New Year at Todaiji

Ringing in the new year at Todai-ji

We decided to do something different this new year eve. We walked down to Todaiji at midnight to usher in the new year with the blessings of the great Daibutsu. For it is only during New Year eve that the upper doors, in front of the face of the Great Buddha, are opened so all can witness the eyes of the Daibutsu.

We decided to do something different this new year eve We walked down to Todai-ji at midnight to usher in the new year with the blessings of the great Daibutsu Todai-ji is the largest of the Seven Great Temples of Nara and one of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara“ The roads were lit and the streets were empty Nothing new for someone who has lived in Nara even for a short amount of time Once we reached the Nara Park area, we could see some families walking towards the temple A group of deer were gathered under the street lights We came across some deer while walking towards Todaiji The narrow
Todai-ji

Todai-ji : Home of Buddha

One cannot but feel tiny in front of Todaiji, home to the world’s largest bronze Buddha, housed in the colossal Daibutsuden Hall. Constructed in 752 AD as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples, it rose to become one of the most powerful temple in Japan, guarded by the fierce Sohei warrior monks.

Today we went for a walk to Nara Park to explore the age-old Buddhist temple of Todai-ji (東大寺) Once the most powerful temple in all of Japan, guarded by the fierce Sohei warrior monks, its phenomenal rise eventually forced the Emperor to shift their capital from Nara to Kyoto to stop its growing influence After a long week of dull cloudy days, the sun was finally shining through It was a Monday and I was hoping the crowd would be less compared to the weekends The last time we were at the park, it was late in the evening and the temple hall had closed down for the day Shrines and temple in Japan
Yakushi-ji

Exploring the Yakushi-ji Temple

I took the Nara Kotsu bus to explore the 7th century temple of Yakushi-ji in the suburbs of Nara. Known as the Temple of Medicine, Yakushi-ji is among Unesco’s list of “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara” World Heritage Site.

After spending a couple of hours in the peaceful gardens of Toshodai-ji, I walked down to Yakushi-ji using Google Maps as my guide It led me along a narrow path along a Canal The water flowing in the Canal was sparkling clear I cannot in my wildest dream think of such clean flowing water in Kolkata (my hometown) I trudged along the path at a leisurely pace At the first intersection, I asked a traffic cop for directions who directed me towards the gate of the temple While walking towards the Yakushi-ji temple, I happened to see a lovely courtyard on my right and I went in to take a look

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