Continuing my temples visit in Bessho Onsen, I visited Kitamuki Kannon, literally “Facing-North Kannon”, which is unusual as temples usually faces south. This Tendai sect. temple faces the Buddha statue in famous Zenkoji in Nagano directly and is popular as a love fulfillment spot.
Visiting Anraku-ji, the oldest Soto sect. of Zen Buddhism temple in Nagano which boost the only surviving octagonal pagoda in Japan. Located near Bessho Onsen, 30 minutes away from Ueda city, this temple deserves more attention for its history and links to Kencho-ji’s Rankei Doryu.
The quiet temple of Choanji allows visitors to appreciate the creativity of the over 200 rakan statues scattered around the temple. Some serious, while some with amusing expressions, this temple is a paradise for photography.
Hakuba in green season offers a plethora of outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, mountain-biking and more. I hiked to Happo-ike or Happo Pond on this clear weather to see the beautiful pond with the reflection of the Hakuba Sanzan – Mt. Shakushi, Mt. Yari, and Mt. Shirouma.
Exploring the large grounds of Sanzen-in, Ohara’s most popular temple, built by Saicho, the founder of Tendai sect. of Buddhism. Enjoying the pleasant autumn scenery in the moss garden and amusing myself with the laughing Buddhas.
Enjoying three distinct gardens at Hōsen-in, especially famous for the view of a “framed” garden from the tatami room. The blood-stained ceilings from Fushimi Castle creates a contrasting feeling of solemness against the serenity of the garden scenery.
Exploring another bamboo temple, this time in Kamakura’s Hokokuji Temple, family temples of the Ashikaga clan and later the Uesugi clan.
Enjoying autumn in Rikugien, one of Tokyo’s most adored landscape gardens. Named after the six divisions of Waka, a type of Japanese poetry, Rikugien offers a massive strolling garden around ponds and hills.
Shoren-in, a Tendai sect. Monzeki temple, offers a range of enjoyable experience, from its fusuma paintings, garden view from tatami room, garden stroll around a pond – Ryujin-no-Ike, and even a view of the temple and garden from above. The main object of worship here is the Shijoko Nyorai Mandala and the temple even has a painting of a blue Fudo Myo-o which is a national treasure.
Walking through countryside Japan to reach Jakko-in, a Tendai sect. Buddhism temple famously known for being the former nunnery of Empress Dowager Kenreimon-in, the surviving imperial Heike from the Dan-no-ura battle between the Taira and Miyamoto clans. Subjected to arson in 2000, the main hall was newly rebuilt in 2005, and houses the Rokumantai Jizo (60,000 forms Jizo).
Kurama-dera is rich in history, said to be founded by the disciple of Ganjin (Jiazhen), connected to the Guardian of the North and one of the Four Heavenly Kings, Bishamonten, and was once home to famous samurai Moritomo no Yoshitsune. The temple is unique, having established its own Kurama-kokyo sect of Buddhism, worshiping the trinity Sonten which comprises of Bishamonten, the Thousand-Armed Kannon, and Mao-son, a god unique to this temple.