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.
Approaching the main hall from the stairs one can see this small shrine to the left. Behind it is the massive main hall.
Upon almost reaching the end of the covered stairways, there is a small landing where one is greeted by a small red Shinto shrine dedicated to a local deity.
This is the view of the main hall from the sub-temple shown in cocrejpn0024.
Just outside the main entrance gate is a makeshift tree (constructed because the natural tree was full!) of long, thin hanging wooden dowels, on which many white paper fortune strips (mikuji) are folded.
The main hall is flanked on both the left and right by smaller shrines. Even in this newly constructed shrine in a contemporary suburban neighborhood the attention to traditional detail is noticeable.
This small shrine is located in the middle of a relatively new (1970's and 80's) suburban neighborhood in Nabari City.
Infrared photo of Kannon image in main hall.
This plaza connects the bell tower, main hall, and temple shop.
This structure marks a large grove within the Minatogawa shrine compound in which Kusunoki Masanari died in 1336.
This photo was taken from the right of the main hall.
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.
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
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.
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.
This hall enshrines a portrait of the founder of the Shingon school of Japanese Buddhism, Kobo Daishi (Kukai).
This banner advertises an upcoming festival, on July 15th, that will feature the lighting of a thousand lanterns, the rope circle through which one may walk (chinuwa kuguri), and a purification rite aimed at "countering obstacles, eliminating illness and vanquishing troubles."
This large and famous shrine is just uphill from the main shopping area of Sannomiya in downtown Kobe. Its quiet grounds present a great contrast to the thriving cosmopolitan center just outside the gate. Many Japanese shrines preserve some of the only undeveloped land and large trees in urban areas.
This shrine shop has posted above the left-hand side of the counter a chart indicating unlucky years (yakudoshi) when one might most feel the need for an amulet (o-mamori) or two.
At this building within the Hasedera complex, visitors can purchase amulets (o-mamori) and various memorablia. Here too pilgrims can receive a large stamp for placement in their "stamp book" which documents their visits to many holy places.
The main shrine at Hasedera is comprised of two buildings. To the left is a larger structure (cocrejpn0061) adjacent to which on the right is this smaller one.
A view through the gate of one of the larger sub-temples within the Hasedera complex.
Here you can see the small shrine to the right that is also part of the compound.
View of five-layered pagoda from balcony of main hall.