Amusing Rakan Statues in Choanji, Hakone

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.


Hiking to Happo-ike, Happo-One, Hakuba in Green Season

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.

Art and Gardens at Monzeki Temple, Shoren-in

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.

Kurama-dera, the Mystical, One-of-a Kind Buddhist Temple

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.