Tokyobling's Blog

Hasedera Temple Praying Wheel

Posted in Places by tokyobling on March 17, 2015

The great Buddhists temple of Hasedera in the city of Kamakura to the south west of Tokyo has one of the greatest prayer wheels (マニ車 in Japanese) that I have ever seen in Japan. Housed in its own protective building, the house is centered on a giant prayer wheel made in wood joinery itself housing tens of thousands of handwritten pray slips, visible when the little door in the walls and the wheel itself are open. On the 18th of every month the wheel may be turned by members of the public, but on other days ordinary people can still use the prayer wheels attached to the walls. Prayer wheels are common in Tibetan Buddhism where the act of spinning a wheel containing a prayer is considered having the same effect as saying the prayer itself. Naturally one spin on this wheel is worth several weeks of actual praying!

kamakura_hasedera_prayer_wheel_3982

kamakura_hasedera_prayer_wheel_3985

kamakura_hasedera_prayer_wheel_3995

kamakura_hasedera_prayer_wheel_3998

kamakura_hasedera_prayer_wheel_4001

kamakura_hasedera_prayer_wheel_4003

kamakura_hasedera_prayer_wheel_4005

Hasedera Temple Gardens and Statues

Posted in Nature, Places by tokyobling on March 3, 2015

When I visited Hasedera temple in Kamakura city the main hall was undergoing renovation so I couldn’t get any good photos of it. Instead I spent the time in the vast temple gardens, full of statues, little shrines, jizo, trees, flowers and plants of all kinds. The temple is famous for the hundreds of peonies grown there, not in bloom when I was visiting though, but the kawazusakura, the plum trees and many others were.

The jizo statues of which you see so many in Japan are meant to placate the soul of children lost to miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion. The smaller ones are placed here by the parents, and they remain for a year before being removed, symbolizing the rebirth of the soul.

An interesting detail is the Manjiike (卍池), a swastika cross shaped pond. In buddhism the symbol represents eternity, and in Japan it has the added meaning of 10 000, which symbolizes “everything, the universe, the alpha and the omega”.

kamakura_hasedera_4051

kamakura_hasedera_3909

kamakura_hasedera_3910

kamakura_hasedera_3920

kamakura_hasedera_3923

kamakura_hasedera_3927

kamakura_hasedera_3930

kamakura_hasedera_3940

kamakura_hasedera_3949

kamakura_hasedera_3978

kamakura_hasedera_4010

kamakura_hasedera_4020

kamakura_hasedera_4023

kamakura_hasedera_4032

kamakura_hasedera_4034

kamakura_hasedera_4043

kamakura_hasedera_4055

Hasedera Temple – Kamakura

Posted in Places by tokyobling on March 2, 2015

Most likely founded in 736 A.D., the vast Hasedera Temple is today one of the main tourist attractions of Kamakura City to the south-west of Tokyo. Hasedera is one of the most important temples in a city that is famous for them. The temples main draw, apart from its scenic location is it’s masssive over nine meters tall wooden eleven-headed kannon statue. Due to a camera ban inside the temple itself I could not take any photos of it though. From the top of the temple grounds you get a pretty good view of the city and the beach.

According to the legend, a monk named Tokudo carved two statues out of a giant camphor tree in 721 A.D. One was enshrined in Nara and the other statue was set adrift in the ocean to find its own way to its home. Apparently it washed up in Kamakura and was carried up to the location of today’s Hasedera.

The temple is also famous for its many statues, jizo and impressive gardens. More photos to come!

kamakura_hasedera_3903

kamakura_hasedera_3906

kamakura_hasedera_3911

kamakura_hasedera_3916

kamakura_hasedera_4081

kamakura_hasedera_4078

kamakura_hasedera_4075

kamakura_hasedera_4040

kamakura_hasedera_4018

Botan – Peony – at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu

Posted in Nature by tokyobling on February 20, 2015

If any flower would ever be able to give the Plum blossoms a run for the title of The Flower of February here in Japan, it would be the botan, the humble peony. Right now in any number of gardens, temples, palaces and flower shops around Japan the peony is in full bloom. I saw these beautiful flowers at the entrance of the annual botan exhibition in Kamakura’s Tsurugaoka Hachimangu.

tsurugaoka_hachimangu_botan_4108

tsurugaoka_hachimangu_botan_4113

tsurugaoka_hachimangu_botan_4128

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,667 other followers

%d bloggers like this: