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.
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.
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.
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.
An image of the fierce-looking protective deity Fudo-myo-o enshrined within the temple in cocrejpn0030.
Here you can see the small shrine to the right that is also part of the compound.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Unfortunately I do not have a photo of the plaque describing the reasons for placing this rope circle here!
The pillar to the left designates the small hall behind the tree as one dedicated to some practices of the Shingon school.
This image of Kusunoki in full warrior regalia on a horse is priced at 80,000 yen (roughly $600).
Some of the grave markers in Koyasan are stone and some are in the traditional Shinto architectural style.
Just behind the main plaza is this Shinto shrine dedicated to the local deity.
This map of the shrine compound is erected near the entrance.
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).
These stairs lead from the main street to a small shrine in the forest behind the houses visible to the right.
Along the path to Okunoin there are many thousands of carvings and other pieces of religious art. This is a miniature bronze stupa.
Another family shrine in the forest of Koyasan.
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.