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  • 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 - Bell tower at top of stairs
    Hasedera - Bell tower at top of stairs

    This bell tower adorns the top of the stairway. One enters this central plaza from the stairway just beneath the bell. The main hall stands just to the right (behind the palm tree). The white spherical lanterns are visible there. From this plaza, the views of surrounding hills are superb.

  • 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 Hasedera - Kannon statue
    Hasedera - Kannon statue

    This is an infrared photo of the tall Kannon image of the main hall.

  • 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 - The main gate
    Hasedera - The main gate

    The folks dressed in white are pilgrims to the temple who commonly carry a staff that symbolizes the eternal copresence of the founder of the Shingon School, the great ninth century saint Kobo Daishi (also known as Kukai). So real is his presence believed to be that written on the back of their white coats is 1ctwo of us, practicing together. 1d

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Close-up of bell
    Hasedera - Close-up of bell

    All Buddhist temples in Japan have a bell that is usually covered by an elaborate roof. The bell is rung by a large log suspended by chains, and it resonates with a deep gong-like sound for many seconds.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - from a bridge
    Hasedera - from a bridge

    This is a view of the Hasedera temple, on the hill, from a bridge leading to a shrine dedicated to the protecting deity of the temple.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Kobo Daishi Hall
    Hasedera - Kobo Daishi Hall

    This hall enshrines a portrait of the founder of the Shingon school of Japanese Buddhism, Kobo Daishi (Kukai).

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Sub-temple
    Hasedera - Sub-temple

    Yet another of the many sub-temples in the complex.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Shrine
    Hasedera - Shrine

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

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Kannon statue
    Hasedera - Kannon statue

    Kannon image in main hall.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Entrance to subsidiary temple
    Hasedera - Entrance to subsidiary temple

    A view through the gate of one of the larger sub-temples within the Hasedera complex.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Close-up view of main hall
    Hasedera - Close-up view of main hall

    A close-up of the main hall as seen from the sub-temple in cocrejpn0024. Note the bell tower at the top of the stairway to the right.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Monks walking  up  stairs
    Hasedera - Monks walking up stairs

    Hasedera is an active training ground for Shingon Buddhist priests, who can be seen moving about the complex. Their prayers can often be heard resounding within many of the temple buildings, in which groups will chant in a hauntingly beautiful traditional manner.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - One building in temple complex
    Hasedera - One building in temple complex

    The hilly complex at Hasedera encompasses many interesting buildings, each with a unique design that features particular combinations of stone, wood, tile, and painted mud walls, as well as careful landscaping.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Interior of main hall
    Hasedera - Interior of main hall

    The spacious interior of the main hall has natural light entering from three sides. The central image of Kannon is just off the right edge of this photo, behind the glass case for candle offerings to the bodhisattva.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Balcony surrounding main hall
    Hasedera - Balcony surrounding main hall

    The main hall at Hasedera commands a superb view of nearby hills that can be seen from various angles from the wooden balcony.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Main hall balcony and pagoda
    Hasedera - Main hall balcony and pagoda

    View of five-layered pagoda from balcony of main hall.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Kannon face
    Hasedera - Kannon face

    Close-up of Kannon image in main hall.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Scripture Hall
    Hasedera - Scripture Hall

    Copies of scriptures hand-scribed by the faithful are stored in this hall. Many short, and sometimes long, Buddhist texts are copied as part of a practice that accumulates merit. The Heart Sutra (Hannya Shingyo) is a one-page text widely copied throughout Buddhist East Asia. This merit is often dedicated to a deceased or ill loved-one with the hope that they fare well.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Alongside covered stairway
    Hasedera - Alongside covered stairway

    This is the view of the perimeter of the stairs leading to the main temple visible above. The terraces and the rain gutter are made of hand-placed stone. Note the small stone bridges apparently designed for access to the plants across the gutter.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Shrine at foot of main temple hall
    Hasedera - Shrine at foot of main temple hall

    Approaching the main hall from the stairs one can see this small shrine to the left. Behind it is the massive main hall.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - View alongside covered stairs
    Hasedera - View alongside covered stairs

    The ascending garden along the stairs is filled with gorgeous hydrangea (called "ajisai" in Japanese) in the summer.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Kannon statue
    Hasedera - Kannon statue

    Infrared photo of Kannon image in main hall.