I am continually delighted by small discoveries.
Anyone that reads this blog knows that I like to walk around. My feet are my transportation! I was walking around as I always do and I spotted what looked like a shrine or a temple kind of tucked away in the side of the hill so, I went up to investigate.
I love visiting the shrines and temple grounds because they are so pretty. I’m intrigued by the architecture and just the way everything is so simply and serenely arranged. But it isn’t really “arranged” it’s just the way it is.
I came upon the walkway and the entrance stone. I think it is called Kofukuji Dera-please correct me if I am wrong.
I strolled down the lane to the entrance and was greeted by the temple cat.
Every shrine and temple has at least one cat. There were actually several peering at me from behind bushes. I spied another peeking at me from the top of a fence.
I stood for a moment or two and chatted with the cat. Yes, I actually did that.
I craned my neck looking up the entrance stairs. I didn’t want to walk up and interrupt any ceremony that was happening.
I could see a statue of Kobo Daishi keeping watch over the grounds. I also took a good look at the bell tower and noticed that it was quite an old structure.
I didn’t see anyone about the grounds so I made my way up the stairs. The grounds were small but they had such a welcoming and soothing atmosphere. I was asked once, how can I go to visit Buddhist shrines and Temples when I am a Christian? Obviously, I’m not here to worship. I deeply appreciate the beautiful architecture, the calming serene atmosphere, antiquity and many times the priest is a really nice guy and I make friends and learn new things.
This little temple didn’t disappoint. I can see myself coming back here in good weather with a notebook to write poetry.
There were several objects of interest.
First off was the Honden-or main hall. It was a beautiful structure. I stood and gazed at it for a long time. I tried to notice everything about it. The texture of the wood, how the roof slats were dovetailed into one another, the simplistic beauty.
I’m absolutely in love with these buildings. The differences in culture fascinate me and make me want to ask so many questions. I’ve always been like that-wanting to know as much as possible about things around me.
Years ago I remember looking at buildings like these in pictures and loving them then but there is something about seeing them before you. Being able to smell the old wood, hear the caw of big black crows perched on the roof top, catch a whiff of pine incense drifting past….it’s like another world.
I noticed how lovingly the old palm was supported by bamboo.
There are several round brass plated pillars with inscriptions. My husband told me that they listed the names of those that are contributors to the Dera.
You can see one next to the palm tree and another near the bell tower. The structure in the above photo is the bell tower. I’m not sure what the lotus basin is for. Hubby was not quite sure either. Another photo of the bell tower below.
I was up there for a long time just walking around and drinking in the scenery. A culture that is so absolutely foreign to everything that I’ve ever known.
There was a large hand washing basin. The inscription reads something like wash your spirit (I think). Again-feel free to correct me.
After a few more minutes of lingering I decided it was time to move on home.
I’ll be back. I hope I get the chance to meet the priest. I saw an information board at the bottom of the stairs. They have some sort of classes going on here-looked like an exercise class!
On the other side of the Dera -behind and up the hill-is a kindergarten that is run by this temple. There are many temples that run kindergarten programs. Interesting?
Awesome places you find just wandering around the Japanese countryside.