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11 hits

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Torii within compound
    Minatogawa Jinja - Torii within compound

    This white torii stands on the main pathway of the shrine, about halfway between the main gate and the main shrine hall

  • 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 View from along path to Okunoin
    View from along path to Okunoin

    The path from Ichinohashi to Okunoin winds through massive trees, like the one on the left, and is lit by stone lanterns.

  • Thumbnail for Main gate of Henjoko-in at Koyasan
    Main gate of Henjoko-in at Koyasan

    This is just one of hundreds of such massive entrance gates to a temple in the town of Koyasan.

  • Thumbnail for Views enroute to Okunoin
    Views enroute to Okunoin

    One of many old stone images in the forest.

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Main gate
  • Thumbnail for Streetside stall selling religious decorations
    Streetside stall selling religious decorations

    Many such stalls in Koyasan sell evergreen fronds to people for embellishing their family altars at home where ancestors are revered. This one is in a spot very characteristic of Koyasan: the old stone wall behind and the line of toriis heading up a path to the left bespeak the charm of this old mountain town (founded in the early 9th century) with its limitless reminders of traditional religion.

  • Thumbnail for Ichi no hashi bridge entrance to Oku-no-in
    Ichi no hashi bridge entrance to Oku-no-in

    This is the bridge marking the entrance to what is often called Japan's grandest -- both largest and most magnificent -- cemetery. A two kilometer (1.3 mile) stone path through an ancient cryptomeria forest leads to the tomb of Kukai (posthumously Kobo Daishi), founder of the Shingon school and the first to found a temple at Koyasan, in 817. Throughout the forest along both sides of the path, and often up and over small hills behind the trees, are thousands upon thousands of gravestones that have been built up around Kukai's tomb over the millenia.

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Main shrine hall from a distance
    Minatogawa Jinja - Main shrine hall from a distance

    The two large lanterns flanking the approach are noteworthy.

  • 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 Minatogawa Jinja - Main gate from across the street