Tag Archives: temple

Hatsumode in Saitama

Happy New Year from Monjuji Temple in Saitama City. I’m spending the day with my family in Saitama at my in-laws’. We went to Monjuji Temple for Hatsumode, or the first visit to a temple in the new year.

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Monjuji’s main hall.

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2012 Picture of the Week (46/52) – Traditional

Buddhism is one of the two main religions of Japan, the other being the native Japanese religion of Shintoism.  There are Buddhist temples everywhere in Japan.  You can probably find one within a few minutes walk from anywhere in Japan.  One of the main figures of Buddhism is Kannon Bodhisattva. This week’s picture is of a statue of Kannon at Zennenji Temple (善然寺) near Chogo in Fujisawa.

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This Kannon statue is about 3 metres tall.

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Filed under Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa, Picture of the Week, Temples

Oshogatsu 3: Daigyoji

After Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, we went to Daigyoji (大巧寺).  This temple is very near Kamakura station and the main police station.  This temple is known as a place where expecting mothers can go to pray for good childbirth.  Our time there was pretty short, and the pictures will explain everything.

This is the entrance of Daigyoji.

The red main gate of Daigyoji.

There's a nice garden and path leading to the temple.

This must have water in it during the summer. It's dry now.

My wife washing her hands.

Here's the main hall of the temple.

A close-up of the woodwork at the front of the temple. Notice the dragon?

Here's another temple building.

Part 4 is coming soon with some money laundering (just kidding.  We washed some money).

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Filed under Festivals & Events, Japan, Kamakura, Kanagawa, Temples

Oshogatsu 1: The local shrine and temple

In Japan, one of the most important times of the year is the Japanese New Year, or Shogatsu.  This holiday period lasts from December 29th to January 4th, with January 1st being the most important day.  On this day, most families get together and visit while eating and drinking.  They often go to a temple or shrine to pray and wish for a good new year, often getting their fortune (omikuji) or charms.  Children receive money from relatives, which I guess is kind of like my usual Christmas.  People usually eat osechi, which is Japanese traditional New Year’s food.  I’m not particularly fond of it, though.  Extremely bland for the most part, and my wife doesn’t seem to like much of it, either.

However, this year’s New Year for us was nothing like last year’s.  Last year, we visited my wife’s family.  This year, due to the baby’s incorrect positioning and a visit to the clinic on January 1st, we went with shrines and temples.  We visited a lot of them!  For this post, I’m going to show you January 1st’s temple and shrine visits near our home.  Parts 2-5 will feature the four places we visited in Kamakura on January 3rd.

We first visited a small temple near the Hikichigawa river called Jishouin (自性院).  It was very quiet, with us being the only people there.  We didn’t stay long, but I took a few pictures.

This is the entrance to Jishouin.

On the right side, we see this.

Here's the main temple building. It's not impressively large, and doesn't seem busy at all.

Another temple building.

I guess we were somewhat disappointed.  We’d heard a bell ringing, so we thought this was the place, but while we were there, we heard the bell again.  We saw where it was coming from, across the river and up the hill.  So, we went to a shrine that we had no idea was even there!  Nice surprise!  What we found was Sawa Daimyoujin (佐波大明神).  There were people there!  We even bought a couple of fortunes (omikuji).  Mine was just okay.  Anyway, here are the pictures.

This is the entrance and torii to Sawa Daimyoujin. Plenty of lanterns were hanging for the New Year.

A closer look at the torii.

That's the main shrine building.

Getting a bit closer. It's open for the New Year's prayers.

After praying at the shrine, people were ringing this large bell. Wish I'd tried it.

These lights have been at many shrines during the New Year holidays.

That’s it for part 1.  Coming soon is part 2 of this Oshogatsu series.

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Filed under Festivals & Events, Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa, Shrines, Temples

Exploring Japan: Engakuji in Spring – March 26, 2010

This was my third stop in my Spring in Kamakura walk.  Engakuji is located near Kita-Kamakura station, and is easy to get to.  It’s not as large as Kenchoji, but it is still quite large.  It was founded in 1282, and is one of the most important Zen Buddhist temples in Japan.  Hojo Tokimune, a once ruler of Japan, is buried here.  Enjoy the spring pictures!

Barely blooming cherry blossoms in front of Engakuji's Sanmon.

Cherry tree and temple buildings.

This is a great tree. Notice the caves in the cliff behind it?

Another collection of temple buildings. Engakuji is a large complex.

At the back of the temple complex, there's a garden with plenty of flowers.

A closeup of some of the flowers.

Engakuji is a very green temple. Plenty of trees surrounded by the hills of the Kamakura Alps.

As I said, Engakuji is very easy to get to.  I used to be able to walk there from my old apartment in Ofuna within 15 minutes.  Here’s a map:

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Filed under Japan, Kamakura, Kanagawa, Nature, Temples

Exploring Japan: Spring at Kenchoji – March 26, 2010

This is part 2 of 3 of my Springtime in Kamakura set of photos.  After Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, I visited Kenchoji.  Kenchoji is the most important Zen training monasteries in Japan, and is also quite old.  It was started in 1253.  These photos are not a guide to Kenchoji, as I only feature flowers and the temple’s Main Gate, or Sanmon.  Enjoy the photos.

With cherry trees beginning to bloom, here is the Sanmon (Main Gate) of Kenchoji, which was built in 1754.

The Sanmon is hiding behind some blossoms.

There aren't many cherry blossoms yet.

Here's a great tree.

A close-up of some blossoms that have yet to bloom.

There are other flowers at Kenchoji, too.

To find Kenchoji, check out this map.  It can be accessed by walking south from Kita-Kamakura Station or walking north from Tsurugaoka Hachimangu.

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Filed under Japan, Kamakura, Kanagawa, Nature, Temples