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.
A pathway from the main plaza leads to this sub-temple. To the right are numerous stone statues of Jizo lining the walkway. These are commonly donated, and dressed with aprons and caps, by faithful who have lost a child (usually while in the womb) with hopes that the soul will fare well.
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 ascending garden along the stairs is filled with gorgeous hydrangea (called "ajisai" in Japanese) in the summer.
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.
View of five-layered pagoda from balcony of main hall.
This plaza connects the bell tower, main hall, and temple shop.
Statue of Fudo Myo-o within sub-temple.
An alternative view of the main gate from a garden within the temple complex.
Here shrine priests accompany a local business man to his car after emerging from the shrine's administrative building. Local businesses are often the greatest benefactors of a shrine. No doubt many business leaders believe that their relation to the shrine may help their business to prosper.
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.
This old grave site has a large traditional stone and the space is nicely framed by a Shinto torii. This kind of complex shows how Buddhist and Shinto forms merge easily in Japanese sensibility.
This young woman sits in the shade on a ledge beside the main hall. She holds her cell phone and either reads or sends an email message.
Along the path to Okunoin there are many thousands of carvings and other pieces of religious art. This is a miniature bronze stupa.
This is the newly constructed main hall. It was destroyed in the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, and rebuilt in reinforced concrete.
The two large lanterns flanking the approach are noteworthy.
A standing statue of Jizo, who may not be as tall as the trees but he is ever so graceful.
The Miedo, meaning "Hall of the Honorable Portrait," houses an ancient portrait of Kukai, Koyasan's ninth century founder, said to have been painted by his disciple.
The Great Pagoda (Daito) is the most striking structure within the Garan complex in the western central part of Koyasan. The pagoda stands over 150 feet tall (48.5 meters). These pilgrims, who travel as a group in their white garb and are accompanied by priests in black robes, pray before the entrance of the pagoda toward the huge Buddha images inside.
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.
This plaque in front of the tree with the himorogi says that the tree was over 500 years old when it was severely injured by burns received in the bombing of Kobe during WWII. However, even though shattered, it managed to stay alive, and so became revered as a symbol of rebirth and resuscitation. The plaque refers to it as a "divine (kami) tree."
This family site is the only one I have seen in Okunoin that displays a likeness of the deceased.
This stone along the Okunoin trail, which reads "great compassion," was created from the calligraphy of someone named Tejima, who may well have been a famous calligrapher.
This old shrine must have been dedicated to the ancestors of a family. It also has the torii entrance.