Ankoku-ji (Okinawa)

– Ankoku-ji – 安國寺- Naha(那覇市) – July 26, 2019 After spending a few wonderful few days with the turtles and fish of Akajima, we had only one overnight stay in Naha. This meant only one day to sight-see. My husband and I love going to world heritage sites and I adore castles, so of course we chose Shuri Castle. However, we traveled so far and I was dead set on getting at least one goshuin while we were in Okinawa. Ankoku-ji is only a few minutes walk from the main gates of Shuri-jo. The gate into the shrine is, to…

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Takayama Betsuin Shorenji

Takayama Betsuin 古井神社 Takayama (高山市) March 24, 2019 Takayama Betsuin Shorenji is a splendid Jodo Shinshuu Otani sect temple in the scenic town of Takayama in Gifu Prefecture. Jodo Shinshuu is by far the most common kind of Buddhism in the Hida area of northern Gifu. The text in the center reads “Kueissho”, a phrase in Japanese Buddhism meaning that everyone will meet again in the Pure Land. As we drove up this chilly morning in March, we passed piles of snow on the side of the tollway before flurries started falling. Most of Japan was already warming up and…

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Inuyama Naritasan

– Inuyama Naritasan – 犬山成田山 – Inuyama(犬山) – January 6, 2019 Inuyama Naritasan is a branch temple of Naritasan Temple near Narita Airport in Chiba. It’s located in the northern part of Inuyama near Inuyama Castle and the Kiso River. From the top, you can see  a stunning view of the castle with the river in the background. One thing you notice upon entering is the size of the parking lot. There are two reasons for this. One is that in this part of Japan, most people drive. The second is that Naritasan is particularly famous for car protection charms…

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Fushimi Inari Taisha: Inari Yama

– Fushimi Inari Shrine (Oku) – 伏見稲荷大社奥社 –Kyoto(京都) – November 23, 2018 Fushimi Inari Shrine is a large shrine in the Fushimi ward of southern Kyoto that’s famous for it’s long, red torii gate lined paths up Mt Inari. It is the head shrine of all the inari shrines across Japan dedicated to Inari, the shinto god of rice. There are over 30,000 in Japan, making it the most numerous of all the kinds of shrines. In addition to its famous red torii, you can also find statues of foxes throughout the premises. Foxes are believed to be the messengers…

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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…

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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…

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