Sunday, June 19, 2005

Ohara - Sanzen-in Temple

Ohara is a quiet town located in the mountains about 10 km north of Kyoto. It offers a taste of rural life with an unexpectedly noble atmosphere.
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Sanzen-in is the major site of eastern Ohara and it has been one of Kyoto's most isolated temple. Founded in 784 by the priest Saicho, the temple belongs to the Tendai sect of Buddhism.
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Inside the temple, one first comes to a hall called the Reception Chamber (kyaku-den), fronting onto an ornamental japanese-style garden. It allows you to savor its serene beauty while drinking green tea.
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Apart from the main hall which houses a well-preserved Amida Buddha (a twelveth century hondo), the monastery's prime attraction is its quiet gardens, landscaped in the late Edo period.
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And the most famous is a plateau of moss, punctuated with Japanese cypress. I was utterly fascinated by the little rock statues spotted in the gardens. These are the stone images of Jizou. In modern Japan, Jizou is popularly known as the guardian of unborn, aborted, miscarried and stillborn babies. It is often translated as 'Womb of the Earth'.
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The exit of the Sanzen-in Temple.
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Shorin-in, just 100 m to the left of the entrance to Sanzen-in, is a fundamental training hall for chanting the Tendai incantations.
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I must admit that it is no easy task to take good dragonfly pictures. But I am quite happy to have this one.
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Another picture of an interesting red bug.
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Unfortunately, I have misplaced the brochure and I don't remember the name of this temple. The temple is located in the more remote area up the hill.
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Along the track uphill to the Sanzen-in temple, there are rows of souvenir shops and local restaurants.
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Lollipops of popular animated cartoon characters such as ampan man and doraemon.
Doraemon
One of my favorites when I was a kid - Doraemon, a Japanese robotic cat from the future who has travelled back in time to aid the thoroughly hapless Nobita Nobi. Doraemon possesses a fourth-dimensional pocket from which he produces all manners of futuristic tools, gadgets and playthings (note : picture obtained from wikipedia).
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The Ohara area is also famous for its mompei trouser-clad Oharame women, who use to sell firewood and vegetables from carts throughout the northern area of the city; and a few still do.
Event : Oharame Matsuri (Ohara Women's Festival)
Date : May 16th - 31st
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During this annual two-week festival, women can try on their distinctive mompei clothing, and you can see women marching in this lovely costumes in Ohara (even foreigners).
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A tired but great day spent walking from temple to temple and exploring the small town of Ohara, allowing time for some quiet comtemplation.

17 comments:

Lrong said...

Good post... haven't seen those red bugs before... how big were they?

zbjernak said...

love the moss plain...the little monk pic and the jizou....
the dragonfly pic is good too

nice series

Acrix said...

Jizou looks very cute in the sea of moss! But it will be kinda eerie to walk thro such a place at nite with a candle~

Oh yah, do u like temple alot?

Patrick Leong said...

lrong : those red bugs ? probably about 2 cm long. where do you live ? shikoku i heard ? i might want to visit iya valley this summer vacation. any chance that's near your place ?

zbjernak : yes, i like the little monk picture too. it is hidden underneath a small plant.

acrix : the place is closed around 5 therefore no chance to walk there at night. you know what, when i was undergraduate (sophomore), my friends and i have had a birthday celebration in bukit cina (i think bukit cina is the name of the hill, not very certain). the hill in melaka with graveyards. spooky but quite funny. do i like temple alot ? yes, of course. if you ask fish fish, she will know which is my favorite temple in japan. i also like ohara sanzen-in. why ask so ? i just realised that i have been writing alot about temples and shrines lately. because i have not been traveling out of kyoto lately. in kyoto it is all temples, shrines and festivals. :P alamak.. my next few postings will also be temples wor. ok.. i think of something else. hey i like your recent tampon post. very academic.

5xmom ~chanlilian.net~ said...

Came by from Lrong's site. Great shots you have here. Already put you in my fav. I am a sucker for travel photos.

BTW, those heads on the moss may look spooky at night, eh?

emotionalistic said...

Another beautiful temple. I find those little rock statues very unique too.

snaars said...

I think all the temple and shrine pics are very beautiful. Is it so picturesque everywhere in Kyoto? I think Kyoto a much prettier place than Lafayette, Louisiana.

I was talking to my wife yesterday about your blog. I said, it is drab everywhere where we live. She told me I'm just not going to the right places. She's probably right.

I'm going to start taking my camera everywhere, to see if I can spot some nice things. You've inspired me, Patrick.

Acrix said...

kyoto sounds like fun :) There;s lotsa geisha and maiko to see rite other than those traditional buildings rite :) I find ur temple post very interesting as well :P Temple seems to remind me of my old camera that got broken when i take photo there :P

ODD said...

Another beutiful post. Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

Have not been to Ohara either. Must go one day...I am too lazy too go out these days.
Ai Ling

Patrick Leong said...

5xmom : thanks for comment. i visited your blog. you take nice pictures too. these jizou(s) sit in the temple ground. i always feel serene every time i visit temples. but i have visited a shrine in kyoto during a quiet evening. the hiking trail was desolate and eerie as if i have entered the spirit zone. scary. (check post entitled Matsuri Magic Part 2).

emotionalistic : i have visited many temples in both kyoto and nara. so far, there are three that i like best. nara's todaiji temple, kyoto's higashi honganji temple and kiyomizudera temple. now the fourth one ohara's sanzen-in temple.

snaars : i think japan is a very beautiful country. you should come here for vacation with your wife. spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit but are crowded with tourists. i am sure there are many interesting places in lafayette. looking forward to see more pictures in your blog. another blogger (ODD), he takes very nice pictures around his neighbourhood. he has inspired me to enjoy my surroundings. simple things but beautiful pictures.

acrix : oohhh, you have been here before ? when was that ? did you like japan ? i have traveled alot of kansai region. i look forward to visit shikoku. waiting for fish fish to offer next excursion. because she has driving licence. so she can drive us (the kansai gang) for jalan-jalan.

ODD : hi. thanks. will write more. these days i only do two postings a week - sunday and thursday.

ai ling : yea. i have been tired these days too. moving to new lab. moving to new apartment next week. still suffering from pollen allergy. taihen yo boku.

fish fish said...

Patrick, that nite time one is the Fushimi Inari is it? Kihkihkih...

By the way, I love the 3 heads jizou pic the most. 2 thumbs up!!

Acrix said...

Nope, never been to Japan. The temple i refering to is in Kl, an Indian temple infact~ Sorry for the misleading comment :) Am looking forward to go to Japan but guess it will be years later~

emotionalistic said...

Wah....so many different types of temple there. Visting those temple also enough already....not only peaceful but very beautiful also.

Patrick Leong said...

fish fish : yea. it is fushimi inari shrine. but that was the first time. the last few times i visited the shrine during day time. the place is beautiful. the jizou(s) picture could be better if i have had brought with me my tripod.

acrix : ok. in fact it is not very expensive to come to japan. you can get promo tickets during matta fair. then you can stay at my place or fish fish's place and you can travel the kansai region. osaka, nara, kobe (hyogo) and even himeiji is near to kyoto. you can do day trips. tokyo is a little further north. 2 1/2 hours by shinkansen.

emotionalistic : according to my professor, there are more than 2000 shrines and temples in kyoto. i have been to like some twenty of them. some are big and impressive. many are smaller ones. i like temples because of the sense of serenity inside the temple ground and the carefully managed japanese-style gardens. the colours of different seasons match the temples' architecture and are really beautiful. that's why i have chosen here to do my postgraduate. i think i will suffocate if i do my degree in huge metropolitan such as tokyo.

Acrix said...

Thx for the offer :) The promo ticket oso gona cost roughly bout 1.5k to 2.0k rite? Really feel like visiting u guyz after reading all the nice posts. Too bad, i dun have much savings and upcoming holiday gona be spent moving houses and settling down :)Hopefully, next yer will get to scot without any prob :P

Primrose said...

Wow, I really like the Womb of the Earth a lot. It sort of makes you think (about life).