Awed by the Tozai Monjuzou group of statues worshipped in this shrine, centering on the Monju Bosatsu statue sculpted by the famous Kaikei, mounted on a lion. The birthplace of Abe no Seimei, the famous onmyouji of Japanese esoteric cosmology, the shichimairi experience in Ukimido Pavilion was one-of-a-kind.
Visiting the vast complex of Muroji located on Mount Muro in Uda, Nara Prefecture. Also known as Nyonin Koya (Women’s Koyasan) due to its acceptance of woman worshippers back in the day when most temples forbade women, the temple is a popular spot for autumn chasers thanks to its fiery red maple leaves.
Visiting Izanagi Shrine, said to be the final resting place of the god Izanagi, who gave birth to the Japanese archipelago with Izanami. Located on Awajishima, the first island born during the kuniumi process, this shrine is also said to be the oldest shrine in Japan.
Located on top of Mount Senzan, said to be the first mountain created on Awajishima, Senkoji was said to be founded by a hunter who was led by a manifestation of Senjukannon (thousand-armed Kannon) in the form of a wild boar. Also serving as the first temple of the Thirteen Buddhas of Awajishima, the temple also worships Fudo Myo-o or Acala.
My first trip to Shikoku – exploring Shodoshima Island! Walking up a flight of stairs and rocks to see these pile of rocks called Kasaneiwa, which is not known whether it was formed naturally or not. Still a wonder how these rocks piled on top of each other.
A walk to Tenjoji near Kikuseidai of Mt. Maya, I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful dry landscape garden of the temple, and the heaven-like atmosphere of such serene temple. The viewing platform, Tenku no Daibutai offers a good view of the Seto Inland Sea, Awaji Island and the Akashi Bridge on a clear day.
Located in the geographical center of Japan, Ikushima-Tarushima Jinja worships the Shinto Deities Ikushima-no-okami, the God of Fertility and Vitality and Tarushima-no-okami, the God of Fulfilment. The architectural style of the main shrine is one of the oldest in Japan, located on a small island surrounded by a pond.
A second trip to Meigetsu-in, the Ajisai-dera famous for its 2,500 over hydrangeas. Managed to avoid the crowds, going there on a weekday early in the morning. Now I understand why it is called the Meigetsuin Blue, for the mainly blue hues of the hydrangeas here.
Visiting the complex shrine of Lake Suwa, the Suwa Taisha or Suwa Grand Shrine, dating back to the late 7th century as indicated in the Kojiki. Enshrouded by conflicting myths surrounding its Kami, I was particularly fond of the ancient ambience of these shrines.
Admiring the wild rock garden designed by Muso Soseki at Zuisenji, a Rinzai sect. of Zen Buddhism temple located in eastern Kamakura. Also called the Temple of Flowers, the flower garden in the temple features various flowers across the four seasons, and is especially famous for its plum blossom.
Taking a trip back in time, learning about feudal Kai Province’s pride – Takeda Shingen while visiting the shrine dedicated to this famous daimyo, famously known as the Tiger of Kai – the Takeda Jinja.