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Japan 5 Photographs

Tofukuji Stones.jpg (125620 bytes) Tofukuji Zen Garden.jpg (107048 bytes) Tofukuji Moss Garden.jpg (148260 bytes)
A stone and raked gravel garden at Tofukuji, a Zen temple founded in 1236. Elaborate geometric shapes are raked into the gravel by monks at Tofukuji Temple. At Tofukuji Temple, moss grows around stones placed in a checker board design.
Tofukuji Courtyard.jpg (101332 bytes) Gion Geisha Houses.jpg (95643 bytes) Geisha Houses.jpg (79880 bytes)
The main Zen courtyard at Tofukuji Temple. A stone garden is at one end, a moss garden at the other. Tea houses that promote the Geisha arts line the streets of the Gion District of Kyoto. Cloistered, secretive Geisha tea houses in Gion, Kyoto. Affluent corporate clients are patrons of the Geisha arts.
Gion Geisha House.jpg (95037 bytes) Buddha.jpg (161588 bytes) Stone Jizo Statues.jpg (157875 bytes)
A Geisha tea house in the Gion District. Geisha live and entertain in the house. A serene Buddha encountered in a Kamakura temple garden. On Enoshima Island, Stone Jizo statues are tended by women who memorialize deceased fetuses and babies.
Jizo Memorial.jpg (128103 bytes) Religious Deities.jpg (134476 bytes) Kamakura Buddha.jpg (87306 bytes)
A stone Jizo memorial court on a mountain top on Enoshima Island near Tokyo. Religious deities stand watch over a temple garden near Kamakura on Japan's east coast. The Great Kamakura Buddha, one of the largest in the world, weighs 275,000 lbs. In the 13th century a tidal wave washed a building that surrounded it away.
Rural Deity.jpg (156128 bytes) Kamakura Buddha 2.jpg (121428 bytes) Jidai Matsuri Participant.jpg (106146 bytes)
On the outskirts of Kyoto, a rural neighborhood deity watches over a pond, which is on the right. A closeup of the Great Buddha of Kamakura, cast in bronze in 1252 and nearly 44 ft. in height. A Jidai Matsuri festival participant wears makeup and dress in the style of a 12th century woman.
Ninnaji Temple Building.jpg (146434 bytes) Red Pagoda.jpg (166369 bytes) Ninnaji Pagoda.jpg (238169 bytes)
In northern Kyoto, a temple building on the grounds of the Ninnaji Temple complex. A red bell tower on the grounds of Ninnaji Temple, which was founded in 888.  A five-storied pagoda rises out of a forest of Omuro cherry trees at Ninnaji Temple.
Ninnaji Garden Temple.jpg (126875 bytes) Ninnaji Gate Kannon.jpg (125927 bytes) Todaiji Kannon.jpg (122990 bytes)
The Ninnaji Temple Shinden Hall overlooks the compound's main garden area. An ancient warrior Kannon guards the main gate at the Ninnaji Temple complex. A carved wooden Kannon, 15 ft. in height, wields a calligrapher's brush inside Nara's Todaiji Temple.
Todaiji Flanking Buddha.jpg (140730 bytes) Daibutsu Buddha.jpg (146300 bytes) Todaiji Porch Deity.jpg (101143 bytes)
Inside Todaiji Temple, one of two 10 ft. tall Buddhas that flank the nearly 50 ft. Great Daibutsu Buddha. At nearly 50 ft. in height, the Great Daibutsu Buddha, which dates to 8th century, resides inside Todaiji Temple in Nara. On Todaiji's front porch, people rub a Buddhist Kannon and pray for good luck in their lives.
Ryoanji Rock Garden.jpg (131987 bytes) Koi.jpg (124085 bytes) Kinkakuji Gold Pavilion.jpg (152497 bytes)
The famous Zen 15-rock and raked gravel garden at the Ryoanji Temple, founded in 1450. Anticipating a handout, Koi fish swim to the edge of a temple pond. The Gold Pavilion Zen Temple dates to 1397. Its two upper stories are gilded with 106 lbs. of gold.
Nara Temple Complex Panorama.jpg (232316 bytes) Nara Craftsmen.jpg (138563 bytes) Todaiji Stroller's Lane.jpg (158704 bytes)
An overview of the Nigatsudo Hall temple complex in Nara, Japan's first capital. In Nara, two craftsmen build a gate and wall topped with heavy tiles. In Nara, a couple stroll down a lane behind the great Todaiji Temple.
Byodoin National Treasure.jpg (120515 bytes) Byodoin Temple 3.jpg (137279 bytes) Gilded Kinkakuji.jpg (109327 bytes)
Byodoin Temple, on the 10 yen coin, is a National Treasure built in the 10th century. Byodoin Temple houses a 10 ft. seated Amida Buddha, the oldest door paintings in Japan, the best temple bell in Japan, and a pair of roof phoenixes, all National Treasures. From the rear of the Gold Pavilion, a closeup view of the  first floor that is constructed in Heian era Noble style and the second floor, in samurai style.
Kinkakuji Top Floor.jpg (97198 bytes) Nara Park.jpg (100093 bytes) Nara Pagoda.jpg (87890 bytes)
The top floor of the Gold Pavilion, which is constructed in Zen style, shows the 3.7 ft. bronze phoenix, which is also plated in gold. In Nara, the Kofukuji pagoda which dates to 1426 is located near Sarusawa Pond, a serene place for citizens to congregate and relax. In Nara, the Kofukuji Temple five storied pagoda dates to 1426 and is a replica of an 8th century pagoda. It is the second tallest in Japan at 162 ft.
Silver Pavilion.jpg (152381 bytes) Kyoto Parking.jpg (77280 bytes) Nijo Castle Main Gate.jpg (92596 bytes)
Ginkakuji Temple, or Silver Pavilion, was built in 1473 as the Shogun's residence. It was never faced with silver, as planned. Ingenious way to solve the parking problem in crowded Japan. Also, in general, vehicles are half the size of American cars and trucks. Peering through Nijo Castle's main gate at the Ninomaru Palace. Built in 1603 in Kyoto, Nijo Castle served as the Shogun's imperial stronghold.
Mom and Pop Shops.jpg (130901 bytes) Higashi Honganji Gate.jpg (121409 bytes) Higashi Honganji Courtyard.jpg (125966 bytes)
Ubiquitous throughout Japan, a street of typical mom and pop shops that sell a wide range of goods. Massive temple gate allows access through the wall to Higashi Honganji Temple in central Kyoto. The Higashi Honganji Gate, in the photo on left, from the main courtyard area.
Heian Shrine.jpg (146959 bytes) Nara Stone Lane.jpg (195339 bytes) Boeing 747.jpg (84868 bytes)
A Heian Shrine gate. Built in 1895, the shrine commem- orated 1,100 years since Kyoto was founded as the ancient capital of Japan. At Nara, ancient lanterns line a stonework lane that traverses a forested park. Boeing 747 that I disembarked from in Tokyo. Although it looked cool and rainy, shockingly I found the weather like a hot, humid sauna.
Restaurant.jpg (132906 bytes) DyDo Drink Paradise.jpg (196781 bytes) Kyoto Tower Hotel.jpg (82486 bytes)
Interior of a Japanese Buddhist vegetarian restaurant. Western people have difficulty eating while sitting on zabuton cushions. A DyDo soft drink vending machine with interesting Japenglish sales pitches on the front. These machines are everywhere. The Kyoto Tower Hotel is the tallest point in the city. I took most of the Kyoto panorama photos in these galleries from here.

Toji Treasure Building.jpg (101806 bytes)

Toji Courtyard.jpg (104388 bytes) Pagoda.jpg (170640 bytes)
Toji Temple complex dates to the 8th century. This Kondo building dates to 1603, but the original on this site dated to 796. Toji Kondo Hall and main courtyard as seen through the main entrance gate. Toji is home to Japan's tallest pagoda. An ancient three-storied pagoda located at the Kiyomizu Temple complex in the foothills of eastern Kyoto.

Heian Tree.jpg (172276 bytes)

Nijo Panorama.jpg (128639 bytes) Nijo Slendor.jpg (123426 bytes)
At the Heian Gardens, this tree exemplifies Japanese pruning techniques that give it a gnarled, tortured look. Another view of Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa's Nijo Castle Garden. The pond is a masterpiece of medieval Japanese garden architecture. At the Nijo Castle Garden a waterfall bubbles forth from the stones on the right, and colorful Koi fish swim in the pond.

Nara Temple Torii Gate.jpg (170272 bytes)

Temple Stone and Sphere.jpg (139999 bytes) Temple Building.jpg (132703 bytes)
At Nara, the oldest capital, two lion-dogs that flank a stone torii gate repel evil on a trail that leads toward a temple complex. A stone and sphere on temple grounds with no indication of when it was created, or who sculpted it. Kyoto is surrounded on three sides by mountains, which are a haven for scores of temple buildings similar to this one at Manpukuji Temple.

Watermelons.jpg (238437 bytes)

Heian Shrine Right Wing.jpg (137643 bytes) Heian Jingu Shrine.jpg (127912 bytes)
Ribbon-wrapped Japanese watermelons are round and expensive. These range from $12.50 to $19, depending on the size. The right wing of the Heian Shrine, which was built in 1895 to commemorate the 1,100th year since Kyoto was first designated a capital city. Main central building of the Heian Jingu Shrine. Two wings extend from this building, the right one is shown on the left.

Todaiji Small Buddha.jpg (156236 bytes)

Horyuji Temple.jpg (153299 bytes) Horyuji Temple Complex.jpg (169925 bytes)
On each side of Todaiji Temple's Great Daibutsu Buddha there are a pair of golden Bodhisattvas. This one is in the left most position. Horyuji Temple's pagoda is one of the world's oldest wooden structures built without nails in the 7th century. Its copper spire alone weighs three tons. The world's oldest wooden buildings reside at Horyuji Temple. It was designated a World Heritage Site and houses nearly 1,800 National Treasures.

Horyuji Dream Hall.jpg (110151 bytes)

Horyuji Main Kondo Hall.jpg (105322 bytes) Horyuji Pagoda.jpg (90415 bytes)
The octagonal Yumedono, or Dream Hall, at Horyuji Temple dates to the 8th century when Japan's rulers governed from Nara and inaugurated it as Japan's first capital. Completed in 680, the Main Kondo Hall at Horyuji Temple is the oldest wood structure in the world. All Horyuji buildings are constructed with Hinoki wood, also known as Japanese cypress. The Goju-no-to, or five storied pagoda, at Horyuji Temple is the world's oldest, built in the late 7th century or possibly a century earlier. A core sample from the Hinoki heart post that runs through the center indicates the tree was felled in 594.

Golden Pavilion.jpg (187632 bytes)

Ninnaji Temple Gates.jpg (115966 bytes) Buddhist Deities.jpg (141197 bytes)
Kinkakuji Temple's Zen-style third floor peeks through the tree canopy on a gorgeous fall day. Two Ninnaji Temple Gates,  one on the left an inner garden gate, on the right a multi-story main complex gate. Life-size Zen Buddhist deities sculpted around the 10th century on display at Toji Temple in Kyoto.

Manpukuji Temple Complex.jpg (189060 bytes)

Manpukuji Temple Gate.jpg (154535 bytes) Manpukuji Deity.jpg (120100 bytes)
A diorama of Manpukuji Temple shows the expansive complex, and the central spine with symmetrical construction on either side. The main gate at Manpukuji Temple exemplifies Buddhist Zen architecture. A close-up of life-size Zen Buddhist deity on display at Toji Temple that is approximately 1,000 years old.

Manpukuji Deity 2.jpg (134201 bytes)

Manpukuji Deity 3.jpg (140939 bytes) Manpukuji Buddha.jpg (179422 bytes)
Life-size Zen Buddhist deity on display at Toji Temple that is approximately 1,000 year old National Treasure. A close-up of life-size Zen Buddhist deity holding a dragon in a bowl on display at Toji Temple. A happy, well-fed Buddha greets worshipers at Toji Temple in Kyoto.

Toji Temple Grounds.jpg (220793 bytes)

Toji Pagoda First Floor.jpg (126453 bytes) Toji Kondo Hall.jpg (160855 bytes)
The main Kondo Hall, built in 1603, amongst the trees on the grounds of Toji Temple in Kyoto, founded in the 8th century. A detail of the first floor of the famous Toji Temple pagoda, built first in 826, rebuilt in 1644, and the tallest in Japan at 187 ft. Side view and eave structure of the Kondo Hall at Toji Temple which was built first in 796 and rebuilt in 1603 in the Momoyama Period style.

Nara Downtown.jpg (146572 bytes)

Kofukuji Pagoda.jpg (135286 bytes) Kofukuji Pagoda 2.jpg (149609 bytes)
Downtown Nara, Japan, with the Kintetsu Railway Station on the left side of the photograph. A close-up of the Kofukuji Temple pagoda located in Nara, which was constructed in 1426. The Kofukuji pagoda and spire rise above the trees that surround Sarusawa Pond in Nara.

Toji Kodo Hall.jpg (130247 bytes)

Toji Kondo Hall 2.jpg (193659 bytes) Ryoanji Hojo Building.jpg (94940 bytes)
The Toji Temple Kodo, or Lecture Hall, dates to 1596 and houses the 21 National Treasure life-size Buddhist deities, some shown in photos above. At Toji Temple, a close-up of the Kondo Hall. Rebuilt in 1603, it is the largest building at Toji and is designated a National Treasure. At Ryoanji Temple, the Hojo, or Abbot's Quarters, is the largest building at the complex. Its six tatami mat rooms open onto a wide veranda, parts of which overlook the famous rock and raked gravel garden.

Jidai Matsuri.jpg (115172 bytes)

Jidai Matsuri Heian Woman.jpg (87349 bytes) Jidai Matsuri 2.jpg (123119 bytes)
In October, over 2,000 celebrants of Kyoto's Jidai Matsuri Festival model dress from the 8th to 19th centuries. A woman dressed in a billowy kimono from ancient Kyoto times marches in the Jidai Matsuri parade. The bygone days of when Kyoto was the capital of Japan are celebrated during the Jidai Matsuri Festival.

Jidai Matsuri 3.jpg (78627 bytes)

Jidai Matsuri 4.jpg (146531 bytes) Jidai Matsuri 5.jpg (95562 bytes)
Two women wear costumes that represent different eras during the Jidai Matsuri Festival. The Jidai Matsuri began in 1895, the 1,100th anniversary of the transfer of the capital to Kyoto. The Jidai Matsuri is also known as the Festival of the Ages because celebrants dress in the garb of ancient Kyoto.

Gion Matsuri Float.jpg (192948 bytes)

Gion Matsuri Float Pullers.jpg (170976 bytes) Gion Matsuri Float 2.jpg (204237 bytes)
During the Gion Matsuri parade every July 17th, 31 colorful floats traverse downtown Kyoto. The festival dates to 869. It takes a lot of men to pull a five- to 12-ton float through the streets, especially when it is time to turn a corner. A close-up of one of the 31 floats that are pulled through the streets of Kyoto during the Gion Matsuri Festival parade.

Gion Matsuri Parade.jpg (151292 bytes)

Kiyomizu Temple Korean Lion Dog.jpg (192757 bytes) Kiyomizu Niomon Gate.jpg (172144 bytes)
A wide boulevard in downtown Kyoto hosts the end of the Gion Matsuri parade. At the west entrance of Kiyomizu Temple, Korean lion dogs (koma-inu) protect the temple from any evil that may enter. At Kiyomizu Temple, a pair of lion dogs flank the western Niomon Gate, which is also know as the Benevolent King's Gate.

Kiyomizu Dori 2.jpg (149679 bytes)

Geisha Footwear.jpg (132633 bytes) Silk Weaver.jpg (123803 bytes)
A narrow lane of shops and restaurants that winds its way up the eastern foothills to Kiyomizu Temple. Four inch platform pokkuri shoes worn by apprentice Geisha, or maiko, in Kyoto. A master craftsman weaves silk that will be sewn into kimonos.

Ornamental Fans.jpg (194878 bytes)

Ornamental Dolls.jpg (167539 bytes) Todaiji Great Nandaimon Gate.jpg (154004 bytes)
Ornamental fans on display at one of Kyoto's fine museums. Ornamental Dolls on display at one of Kyoto's fine museums.


The Great Nandaimon Gate, which was built in 1199, is the main entrance to the Todaiji Temple complex in Nara.

Todaiji Nandaimon Gate 2.jpg (179202 bytes)

Isetan Basement Food Court.jpg (148660 bytes) Tenmangu Shinto Shrine.jpg (180631 bytes)
Todaiji Temple's 800-year-old Nandaimon Gate. Notice the free roaming Nara deer in the opening at the left. Near Kyoto Station, the Isetan Department Store basement food court is a great place to eat.


Off a narrow street in downtown Kyoto, the Tenmangu Shinto Shrine.

Higashi Honganji Lantern.jpg (167424 bytes)

Higashi Honganji Veranda.jpg (139500 bytes) Higashi Honganji Courtyard 2.jpg (120101 bytes)
The great lantern in the courtyard of Higashi Honganji Temple in downtown Kyoto. The veranda of the main temple building at Higashi Honganji Temple in Kyoto. Looking back the other direction from the photo on the left at Higashi Honganji Temple courtyard.


Japan 5

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Copyright 2003 by Daniel L. Hagerman. All rights reserved.
Revised: 25 Jan 2009 14:01:58 -0500 .