It's not just the ceiling that deserves a good look in Kencho-ji's Hatto–the whole room is impressive. Kencho-ji's Senju Kannon resides there, too, but somehow she didn't make it into a proper photo. You can just see her crossed legs and some of her arms behind the lantern. I seem to have been more interested … Continue reading The Room with the Dragon
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - when in a house of worship, be it church, temple or shrine (and probably mosque and synagogue, too, but I wouldn't know for sure), take a minute and look up. If you keep your eyes on the floor (as beautiful as it may be), you … Continue reading Ceiling Dragon
The same Jizo from yesterday, but close up. I actually meant to include this in yesterday's post, but forgot, so here it is in its own post. And, as a reminder: The story goes that the site of this temple was once an execution ground, and, as one of Jizo’s tasks is to save the … Continue reading Jizo’s Closeup
In the Butsu-den—the main temple building—at Kencho-ji, sits an unusually large statue of Jizo. The story goes that the site of this temple was once an execution ground, and, as one of Jizo's tasks is to save the souls of those who have "fallen into hell", he now sits doing just that. Source: An English … Continue reading Saviour of Souls
Whether you're in a church, temple or shrine, you should always take a minute to check out the ceiling. This particular ceiling is located at Kencho-ji, the top temple in Kamakura. The rest of the room is pretty fantastic, too. Stay tuned for more photos over the next few days.
The Ten-en hiking course is my new favourite. Not only is it a bit more challenging than the Daibutsu-Kuzuharaoka trail, it's also got much more to see along the way. Like these prayer flags that I found flapping away behind a statue sitting at the top of a trail-side scramble.
Jizo statues are all over the place in Japan. He's the "protector of children, expectant mothers, firemen, and travelers. Most of all, he is the protector of deceased children, including miscarried, aborted or stillborn infants." ("Jizo Bosatsu: Bodhisattva of Deceased Children," Barbara O'Brien, About.com) This ever-so-cute Jizo was crouched along the path at Meigeitsu-in.
Dressing in traditional Japanese clothing to visit temples and shrines has become a popular activity of late. Kimono enthusiasts are usually female, but men sometimes get in on the fun, too. I saw the two women pictured wandering around Meigetsu-in in Kita-Kamakura.
Kamakura isn't just temples, shrines and surfers–it's also home to a few hiking trails. They're not particularly challenging, but they are a nice change from pounding the pavement from one temple to the next. The easiest and shortest is the Kuzuharaoka to Jochi-ji stretch of the Daibutsu-Kuzuharaoka trail. It's not very long at all, and … Continue reading Daibutsu-Kuzuharaoka Hiking Course
The day I visited Engaku-ji, there was–not surprisingly–a huge group of school children. They were spread over the entire temple grounds having lunch, running around, and being scolded for various offenses.