Gujo Hachiman Castle

Gucho Hachiman Castle 郡上八幡城 Gujo (郡上市) September 17, 2018 The gojoin for Gujo Hachiman Castle in Gujo, Gifu Prefecture. I had no idea castles could have goshuin unitl I got this one. Gujo Hachiman Castle is high up on Mt Hachiman above the city of Gujo and can be seen from the tollway there. It was originally built in 1559 but demolished by the Meiji government in the 1870s in accordance with the Haijo Edict, however the tenshu, or castle keep, was later rebuilt as a museum based on Ogaki Castle’s design in 1933. Gujo is also famous for their…

Continue reading

Onsen-ji

– Onsen-ji – 温泉寺 – Gero(下呂) – September 1, 2018   One of the top three onsen towns in Japan is Gero Onsen in Gifu Prefecture. It’s a lovely river-side city with many onsen to visit. If you venture little ways up the mountain away from the river, you can visit the onsen temple, Onsen-ji. One story form Gero Onsen’s history of over 1000 years is this. In 1265, the onsen’s hot water stopped. The following year, the villagers noticed a the flashing white wings of a white heron dancing on the riverbed of the Hida River every day. When…

Continue reading

Kogane Shrine

Goshuin for Kogane Shrine

– Kogane Shrine – 金神社 – Gifu – 岐阜 – August 31, 2018 Kogane Shrine is written with the kanji for gold/money, but even without knowing any kanji it’s pretty obvious what people come here for: Luck with money. Why? When you walk up to the shrine, you’re welcomed by a giant gold torii. It is a shrine near the middle of Gifu and is closely connected to two other shrines in the area: Inaba Shrine and Kashimori Shrine. The god enshrined here is Nunoshihime-no-mikoto, wife of Inishiki-Irihiko-no-mikoto who is enshrined at Inaba Shrine and the mother of Ichihaya-no-mikoto at…

Continue reading

Todai-ji (Nara)

– Todai-ji – 東大寺 – Nara (奈良) – August 9, 2018 One could say that no trip to Japan is complete without a trip to Todai-ji, one of Japan’s most famous Buddhist temples. Home to arguably the most famous Great Buddha statue, or Daibutsu, in Japan, it is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Treasure. The giant statue is a stunning 15 meters tall, a number that’s pretty hard to fully comprehend until you’re standing next to it. I’ve had the opportunity to visit it 3 times and its size still puts me in awe. And if that…

Continue reading

Kasuga Shrine (Nara)

– Kasuga Taisha – 春日大社 – Nara(奈良) – August 9, 2018 I think many people come to Nara for Todai-ji and stay for the deer. Because of this, the deer are often associated with the famous temple, but the actual reason they’re considered sacred is because the deer are believed to be the messengers of the gods enshrined at Kasuga Shrine and that inhabit the area. The shrine is on the east side of the park. A long, upward sloping path leads up to the shrine from the park. Once there, you can enjoy the striking, red architecture and the…

Continue reading

Ryoan-ji

– Ryoan-ji – 龍安寺 – Kyoto(京都) – August 8, 2018 Ryoan-ji is a Zen temple and home to one of the world’s most famous rock gardens. Originally a villa belonging to the Fujiwara clan in the Heian Period, it was converted into a Buddhist temple in 1450 and the pond, which still exists today, was also installed. The rock garden itself is a mystery. No one knows when it was made, who made it, or what its purpose was. It’s 25 by 10 meters large with 15 differently sized stones arranged in five groups on top of moss islands surrounded…

Continue reading

Kiyomizuera: Fudondou

– Kiyomizudera Fudondou – 清水寺不動堂 – Kyoto(京都) – August 7, 2018 Kiyomizudera (Pure Water Temple) is a sprawling temple in the Higashiyama part of Kyoto. The Hondo, or Main Hall, is famous for it’s stage that hangs over the hill below. Near the Hondo are several other shrines and temples. This is the goshuin for Fudondou located near Otowa Waterfall. The stage attached to the Hondo is about 43 feet above the hill and is built without nails using traditional methods. Down the stairs from it is Otowa Waterfall and Fudondou. Hundreds of people line up to drink from its…

Continue reading

Kiyomizudera: Amida-ji

– Kiyomizudera Amida-ji – 清水寺阿弥陀寺 – Kyoto(京都) – August 7, 2018 Kiyomizudera (Pure Water Temple) is a sprawling temple in the Higashiyama part of Kyoto. The Hondo, or Main Hall, is famous for it’s stage that hangs over the hill below. Near the Hondo are several other shrines and temples. This is the goshuin for Amida-ji, a temple for the Amida Buddha The stage attached to the Hondo is about 43 feet above the hill and is built without nails using traditional methods. Down the stairs from it is Otowa Waterfall. Hundreds of people line up to drink from its…

Continue reading

Kiyomizudera: Okuno-in

– Kiyomizudera Okuno-in – 清水寺奥之院 – Kyoto(京都) – August 7, 2018 Kiyomizudera (Pure Water Temple) is a sprawling temple in the Higashiyama part of Kyoto. The Hondo, or Main Hall, is famous for it’s stage that hangs over the hill below. Near the Hondo are several other shrines and temples. This is the goshuin for Okuno-in, a small temple just past the main hall. The stage attached to the Hondo is about 43 feet above the hill and is built without nails using traditional methods. Okuno-in, while a lovely building on its own, is probably the best place to take…

Continue reading