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.
An alternative view of the main gate from a garden within the temple complex.
This is the interior of the Kobo Daishi Hall.
Yet another of the many sub-temples in the complex.
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.
At this stone basin worshippers will rinse both hand and mouth as a symbolic act of purification before proceeding into the shrine center.
The main hall at Hasedera commands a superb view of nearby hills that can be seen from various angles from the wooden balcony.
There are often multiple places for worship within a compound. This small shrine also has an offerings box to the right.
An image of the fierce-looking protective deity Fudo-myo-o enshrined within the temple in cocrejpn0030.
Close-up of Kannon image in main hall.
Kannon image in main hall.
To the right of the main hall stands this large structure on which visitors hang an "ema," or a small wooden plaque with a string on which they have written a wish. The ema are purchased at the shrine for around 500 yen (four dollars), and as the other photos show they come in different styles. It is believed that placing one's wish in close proximity to the kami may enhance the chances of fulfillment.
Just inside the first torii gate, which here is gray concrete, is this vermillion second torii. The cars parked here are likely affiliated with the shrine. If the open areas of the shrine were available for parking they would always be full in this crowded city.
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.
Here hang the b&quoema," or tablets upon which faithful write personal wishes that they want the deity of the shrine to assist in fulfilling. These hang just in front of the shrine, which is behind and to the right of the photographer here.
This ema reads, in the center, "May I find someone I really like and keep a good relationship for a long time." To the right is also written," May I find a man."
Unfortunately I do not have a photo of the plaque describing the reasons for placing this rope circle here!
Between the large entrance gate and the main shrine hall is a large circle made of rope.
This ema reads, "May my family be happy and live joyously and brightly. May we all be happy."
Just behind the main plaza is this Shinto shrine dedicated to the local deity.
Near a counter that sells protective amulets (o-mamori), this chart details the various ages at which men and women are thought most susceptible to misfortune in their lives. Some explanations of the reasoning behind the system rely on the pronunciation of the digits of the age: 4 (shi) and 2 (ni) sounds "shini" or death for a forty-two year old male and so deserves special care; 3 (san) 3 (san) can be read as "multiple disasters," so that a woman of thirty-three had better watch out. Other explanations suggest a more natural understanding in Japanese culture of specific periods in life when many men or women might traditionally be under a lot of biological or social stress. For one not well-versed in the traditional system, the chart is a reminder of when it might be a good time to stock up on protective charms from the shrine or, for extra caution, even to commission a shrine priest to perform a purification ritual.
This ema reads, "May Bun-chan's leg [or foot] heal quickly and may he graduate without any difficulty." Imprinted on the ema to the left is a place for the name and address of the petitioner, which is given in full. The petitioner's name is female; presumably this is a mother praying for her son.
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.