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  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Main entrance
    Hasedera - Main entrance

    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 - 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 - View from front entrance of sub-temple
    Hasedera - View from front entrance of sub-temple

    This lovely sub-temple at Hasedera (same one as picture 24), offers a fine glimpse from its entrance way down a long corridor of the back garden.

  • 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 - Fudo image
    Hasedera - Fudo image

    Statue of Fudo Myo-o within sub-temple.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - View from inside main gate
  • 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 Jizo with children
    Jizo with children

    The same Jizo as in cocrejpn0159.

  • Thumbnail for Jizo statue in forest
    Jizo statue in forest

    One of thousands of statues of Jizo, the merciful deity who is commonly entreated to assist children who have died young, especially even prior to birth. These statues are often dressed in caps and aprons. This clothing is sometimes placed there by a bereaved mother, or sometimes by any warm-hearted person who happens to be fond of keeping little Jizo neatly dressed.

  • 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 Random view along Okunoin path
  • Thumbnail for Seated Jizo with children
    Seated Jizo with children

    Jizo comes in many forms. This newer statue has him seated in a traditional meditation posture. He holds the children, who are the timeless objects of his vast mercy. The visual contrast here between the clean stone of the new Jizo image and the moss-covered worn stone lantern is one of the charms of this Okunoin trail. Centuries of devotion merge into one another. Our great grandchildren will see this Jizo with its own moss.

  • 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.

  • Thumbnail for Memorial site for termites
    Memorial site for termites

    The black plaque on the large white stone says "Termites." In smaller letters below it says," .... in peace" (probably something like "rest in peace," but the verb is illegible). The pillar to the right says the site was dedicated by a company in Japan that eliminates termites.

  • Thumbnail for Shrine along the path
    Shrine along the path

    This old shrine must have been dedicated to the ancestors of a family. It also has the torii entrance.

  • 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 Sign along path to the Garan complex
    Sign along path to the Garan complex

    This long path leads from the Kongobuji temple to the Garan, which is a complex of buildings such as large pagodas and halls for worship. There are several signs like this one in Koyasan (often with their idiosyncratic English renderings) that show support for the town being recognized by UNESCO as a site on their World Heritage List. As of 2003 Japan has ten sites so recognized.

  • Thumbnail for Kongobuji Temple
    Kongobuji Temple

    This temple complex is the headquarters for the Koyasan Shingon denomination. The founder Kukai seems to have built a structure in this location back in the 9th century; the present buiding is only a few centuries old. Next door to the temple is a cluster of more modern looking buildings that houses the administrative center for the denomination, which has branch temples all throughout Japan.

  • Thumbnail for Shrine to local Kami in Garan
    Shrine to local Kami in Garan

    This Shinto-style shrine stands in the heart of the Garan complex and reflects the importance of the traditions of worship dedicated to the "local" deity of the mountain. It appears that Kukai revered these "kami" deeply and this reverence continues via regular rituals today.

  • Thumbnail for Corporate grave site with photos
    Corporate grave site with photos

    On what for many is the "return path" back from Okunoin, parallel to the main one and on which there are many newer grave sites, are a few like this one sponsored by a large company for its employees, whose pictures are placed within large memorial stones.

  • Thumbnail for Eastern approach to Garan at Koyasan
    Eastern approach to Garan at Koyasan

    This is a view of the Great Pagoda in the background as one approaches along the path from Kongobuji.

  • Thumbnail for The Saito or Western Stupa in the Garan
    The Saito or Western Stupa in the Garan

    This plain wood stupa adjacent to the larger Daito is known as the Western Stupa or Saito.

  • Thumbnail for Mound of Jizo statues
    Mound of Jizo statues

    This monument is made of thousands of small statues of the deity Jizo, who specializes in helping the souls of children who died prematurely.

  • Thumbnail for Kobo Daishi's shrine
  • Thumbnail for Kobo Daishi's shrine