2017年01月07日

'Kuramadera' Buddhist temple, known as the place of ascetic practices by 'Ushiwakamaru', the childhood name of 'Minamoto-no-Yoshitsune' a 'samurai' hero in the 12th century, is a base of mountain religion on the teaching of esoteric Buddhism.

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The origin of Kuramadera temple, standing along the south-facing steep slope of Mt.Kurama in the north of Kyoto, dates back to the 8th century. 'Makura-no-soshi' essay, written by a well-known woman essayist 'Seisho Nagon' in the 10th century, described the meandering steep approach way of this temple as an example of 'close yet far'. In a large fire in the 12th century and the repeated fires thereafter, most buildings were gone, however they were rebuilt each time. On the other hand, many precious Buddhist images as well as the historical materials designated as a national treasure or important cultural asset have survived these disasters. 'Niomon' main gate in the picture was rebuilt in 1911, from here a cable car is running up halfway to the main building of this temple.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 10:57 | Kyoto | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2016年12月23日

'Hasedera' Buddhist Temple in Kamakura, although the principal buildings of it were leveled in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, is one of the leading old temples in Kamakura.

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According to the oral tradition, a pair of Buddhist images were carved out of one big trunk of a camphor tree for the sake of Hasedera Buddhist Temple in Nara in 736. One image was for this temple and the other one was washed out to sea. 15 years later, the latter one drifted to the coast of Kamakura and the locals erected Hasedera in Kamakura to enshrine this miracle Buddhist image. This story is untrustworthy though, lots of evidence showing that this temple already existed in the 13th-14th century are found. One piece of those evidence is the inscription of the old temple bell reading that the bell was made in 1264 and the old name of this temple was 'New Hasedera'. The main image of this temple which is said coming all the way from Nara, is difficult to estimate when it was made since too many traces of repair works are found though, it seems to be carved in the 15th century. This temple is built along the hillside, accordingly you can enter from 'Sanmon' gate in the first picture to ascend a flight of the open-air stairs through beautiful gardens up to 'Kannondo' main building as shown in the second picture. The main image of this temple, about 9 meters high, which is one of the largest wooden Buddhist images in Japan, is enshrined in this building.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 13:15 | Kamakura | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2016年12月12日

EXPO'70 Commemorative Park in Suita City, upper Osaka, was built in the site where Japan World Exposition, EXPO'70, was held in 1970.

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The site of EXPO'70, which is up to 260 hectares, has been opened to the public as a big park after gradual repair works since 1972. The first picture shows 'Taiyo no to', The Tower of the Sun, designed by Taro Okamoto who was Japan's leading avant-garde artist. This tower used to be one of the pavilions as a symbolic monument of this exposition. This symbolic tower aside, extensive Japanese gardens also built for EXPO'70 are well maintained, which is designed to show the characteristics of Japanese garden of each era from ancient times up to now. EXPO'70 Commemorative Park has become one of the greatest general parks in Japan, with lodging facilities, various kinds of sports facilities and National Museum of Ethnology built in 1977 as shown in the second picture.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 15:50 | Osaka | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする