Japan / Temples & Shrines

Day 9 (part 2): Visiting Myojoji

After our brief trip to the sea, we were off again with the bus but this time, to visit a temple.

By the time we got there, the sun had come out and it was really really hot. I had to shed all of my layers from the morning in order to feel comfortable with the sudden heat.

We went through a lanai-like area where we purified our hands before going to the temple. Above the water basin were growing tons of wisteria (as well as attracting tons of bees).

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Pretty wisteria!

After that, we went through the main gate and into the inner complex of the temple. Two huge statues guarded the entryway looking fiercely at visitors. I was told that they were meant to differentiate between the honest people and the dishonest ones coming through the gate. The statues guard the temple from impure people, or so I understood (a kind of “you shall not pass” attitude). The statue had crazy marble/glass eyes meant to “look into your soul” to help it decide if it was going to kill you or not.

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Warrior deity guarding the main entrance

The complex beyond the entryway wasn’t as striking as the one I saw in Narita. You might recall the buildings were highly coloured and eye-catching however, Myojoji’s buildings were all very bland. Even so, the most appealing feature here was the woodwork on the buildings. Obviously, that was the main attraction for visiting this temple because the details were absolutely stunning.

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Beautiful!

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Impressive woodwork!

Behind the temple was a lush bamboo forest which reminded me of the Miyazaki movie ‘Princess Mononoke’. There was also a huge cemetery, where I walked around for a while with Vincent. We were searching for a bird that was emitting the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. Unfortunately, we never found the bird, and we managed to creep out our guide who told me afterwards “do you really like graveyards that much?”. In truth, I don’t even like going anywhere near those places but the bird’s song pulled me in.

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Bamboo forest

After that, I got separated from the group and ended up in a little corner of the complex where I took the occasion to pray a little bit. Although I’m not Buddhist (nor anything else really), I figured I’d ask a favour just the same. They say you’re not supposed to strike deals with a God but hey, I promised that if I get my wish granted, I’ll become a Buddhist. I guess I’ll have to wait and see if I have to convert or not!

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A struck a deal with this guy here. I don’t know who he is but if it works, all the better!

There was also a huge statue of Buddha inside one of the halls. It was so big, I had to put my camera on panoramic view to get a picture of it!

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Huge 5 meter tall Buddha!

I made friends with a salamander at the foot of the building. Our guide found me hanging around *lost* and brought me back to the group. We departed shortly afterwards for our lunch break at some distance from Myojoji.

My experience at the temple was nice, I got to admire beautiful architecture and woodwork. The day is still young though, and everyone is impatient for lunch time to come rolling in.

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My new friend “Okane”, because he had the colour of a 500円 coin

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