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  • Thumbnail for Oral Contraceptives in Japan: Government Influence on Modern-Day Perception and Use
  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Faithful visitor to Hasedera
    Hasedera - Faithful visitor to Hasedera

    A woman unrolls a scroll painting of the bodhisattva of compassion Kannon purchased at the temple. She will eventually fill the spaces surrounding the image of Kannon (white head visible just below large wood block) with inscriptions by temple priests from various temples she intends to visit in the future.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Five-layered pagoda
    Hasedera - Five-layered pagoda

    This view of Hasedera's lovely pagoda, or stupa, is from the balcony of the main hall, where a bell is visible hanging from the corner of an eave.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Entrance
    Hasedera - Entrance

    This is the stairway leading to the main entrance to the temple. One arrives here from the Kintetsu Hasedera Station. Unless the weather is very inclement, it is best to walk from the station about 20 to 30 minutes through the streets of this traditional temple town where there are many small shops and places to stop for a meal or a snack.<br>Hasedera dates from the earliest period of Japanese Buddhism and has maintained a long affiliation with the Shingon school. It was founded in 686 by Domyo, and the central, larger-than-life eleven-headed statue of Kannon dates from 727. It is a sprawling and beautiful complex.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Corridor stairs leading to main temple
    Hasedera - Corridor stairs leading to main temple

    This lovely covered stairway (nobori-ro) originally dates from 1039 but was reconstructed in the Meiji period. The stone lanterns and flowering shrubs on both sides make for an exquisite ascending garden, while at night the spherical lamps above cast a fine glow. The pillar on the left says that this is a place where heavenly deities reside, which is a Shinto-esque reference, while one not visible to its right states that Buddhas also are active here.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Fudo image
    Hasedera - Fudo image

    An image of the fierce-looking protective deity Fudo-myo-o enshrined within the temple in cocrejpn0030.

  • Thumbnail for Kashima Miya - Grounds of Kashima Shrine
    Kashima Miya - Grounds of Kashima Shrine

    Here you can see the small shrine to the right that is also part of the compound.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - View from inside main gate
  • Thumbnail for Kashima Miya - Close-up of mini-shrine
  • Thumbnail for Random grave along path to Okunoin
    Random grave along path to Okunoin

    Like many graves, the main stone here has the geometric shapes marking Buddhist symbolism but the surrounding structures are clearly Shinto toriis. This natural blending of features of both traditions was exceedingly common in premodern Japan.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Ema before main shrine
    Hasedera - Ema before main shrine

    Here hang the b&quoema," or tablets upon which faithful write personal wishes that they want the deity of the shrine to assist in fulfilling. These hang just in front of the shrine, which is behind and to the right of the photographer here.

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Cabinet of historical souvenirs for sale
    Minatogawa Jinja - Cabinet of historical souvenirs for sale

    A variety of quality items here, many related to the martial character of much of Kusunoki's life, are displayed for interested buyers (all reproductions).

  • Thumbnail for Reconstruction of a wall in the forest
    Reconstruction of a wall in the forest

    Many of the centuries-old structures in the forest enroute to Okunoin are crumbling. Some of the more prominent ones close to the pathway are being restored.

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Circle of rope at Ikuta Jinjpn
    Ikuta Jinja - Circle of rope at Ikuta Jinjpn

    Unfortunately I do not have a photo of the plaque describing the reasons for placing this rope circle here!

  • Thumbnail for Random view from main path to Okunoin
    Random view from main path to Okunoin

    The pillar to the left designates the small hall behind the tree as one dedicated to some practices of the Shingon school.

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Cast statue of Kusunoki
    Minatogawa Jinja - Cast statue of Kusunoki

    This image of Kusunoki in full warrior regalia on a horse is priced at 80,000 yen (roughly $600).

  • Thumbnail for Shinto-esque shrine in forest
    Shinto-esque shrine in forest

    Some of the grave markers in Koyasan are stone and some are in the traditional Shinto architectural style.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Shrine
    Hasedera - Shrine

    Just behind the main plaza is this Shinto shrine dedicated to the local deity.

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Map of shrine
    Ikuta Jinja - Map of shrine

    This map of the shrine compound is erected near the entrance.

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Amulets
    Ikuta Jinja - Amulets

    Most of the amulets (o-mamori) shown here are for success in academics, either for good grades or for passing an entrance exam into the school of your choice. The prices here, which are more or less standard, range from 500 to 1000 yen (from $4-$8).

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Main gate from across the street
  • Thumbnail for Shrine stairs with torii
    Shrine stairs with torii

    These stairs lead from the main street to a small shrine in the forest behind the houses visible to the right.

  • Thumbnail for Miniature bronze stupa
    Miniature bronze stupa

    Along the path to Okunoin there are many thousands of carvings and other pieces of religious art. This is a miniature bronze stupa.

  • Thumbnail for Private shrine
    Private shrine

    Another family shrine in the forest of Koyasan.

  • Thumbnail for Toyotomi family grave site
    Toyotomi family grave site

    The marker to the right announces that this is the grave of the Toyotomi family (and that it is an historical landmark). The family refers to the descendants of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the great general who unified Japan after a long civil war just prior to the lengthy peace of the stable Tokugawa (or Edo) Period around 1600.