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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.