Archives for the day Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Yassy’s Japan Trip Diary November 2012; Day 4 Part 2

 4th day in Japan, we have headed to visit the most popular tourist spot in Nagano prefecture; Zenkoji Temple.

 On the way to the temple, we saw many beautiful Japanese maple trees with deep red leaves..

Japanese maple leaves (Momiji)..

 The scenery was breathtaking.

 The picture above is Japanese maple leaves and,it changes its color to deep red in the autumn. When maple leaves changes its color to the deep red, it is the season of autumn to us Japanese and, we call the change of the color of the leaves “ko-yo”.

 Many people across Japan come visit Nagano prefecture to enjoy beautiful ko-yo scenery during the autumn.Viewing the koyo is very popular activity in Japan during the autumn.

More Japanese maple trees…

 When spring comes, we visit popular spots for the cherry blossom trees to enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms and, we have Hanami (viewing the flower).

 Some families have a picnic under the beautiful cherry blossom tree.They sit on mats under the cherry blossom trees, and enjoy eating,drinking,singing and of course enjoy viewing the blossoms under the cherry blossom trees.

 From March through May,when flowers bloom at best,many places hold Hanami festivals (Cherry blossom festivals) and sometimes, you will find various street vendors near the cherry blossom tree spots.

 I think we Japanese enjoy the nature very much as one of our customs.

 The day was very sunny day but at the same time, it was a bit windy and chilly.

 However, when you walk up to the Zenkoji Temple and welcomed by the beautiful maple trees,you will forget how cold it was. It just was beautiful maple trees welcoming you at the entrance area.

Zenkoji temple entrance area, with beautiful Japanese maple trees as a background..

Zenkoji temple main building..

 Zenkoji temple is the most popular tourists spot in Nagano prefecture.

 The Zenkoji temple was built about 1,400 years ago,about 6th century, and this temple is one of the oldest temples in Japan.

 The temple said to have the very first Buddhist image (Ikko-Sanzon Amida-Nyorai) ,which is also called “hi-bu-tsu”,a hidden Buddha statue, that has never been on public display.

 Every 6 years, replica of “Hi-bu-tsu” is on public display for a few weeks.

 According to Japan guide website, the next opportunity to see the replica of “Hi-bu-tsu” is in 2015.

 You can read the full article on Zenkoji temple at Japan guide website here.

 The main hall of Zenkoji temple is one of National treasure.

 What makes interesting about this temple other than the secret statue “Hi-bu-tsu” is the story behind it.

 According to website, the “Hi-bu-tsu” was brought to Japan in the 6th century by a delegation sent by Korean prince arrived at the court of the Emperor of Japan.

 The Koreans brought an image of Amitabha Buddha, and a letter from the Korean prince praising the dharma. This was the official introduction of Buddhism to Japan.

 To read the full article about Hibutsu at website,please click here.

 We have visited the main building and prayed by tossing the 10 yen coin (US 10 cents value coin) into the box in the lobby,and we asked the security guard to take a picture of us in front of the main building at the temple.

 Before going down the stairs, I took the picture the view from the main building to show you how crowded it was.


The view from the main building..

Family picture with Zenkoji temple main building as background..

 You may wonder what kind of smoke it is behind my family. It is the smoke coming from the lion statue (incense burner).

Lion incense burner..

 My mother told me that if we catch the smoke by hand, and rub the smoke on wherever you would like to get better, it is believed that the lion smoke will give you the blessing and help you get better on the area.

 Therefore, I lined up around the incense and rubbed the smoke on me too.

 In the past entry on Yassy’s Japan trip diary, I wrote that Nagano prefecture hold 1998 winter Olympic.

 The bell that rang the start of the winter Olympic in 1998 was the bell from Zenkoji temple. Did you know that?

The bell that rang the start of the winter Olympic in 1998..

 We also found “Roku jizou”. “Ro-ku” means “six” in Japanese and “ji-zo-u” means “guardian deity of children and travelers” in Japanese.

Ro-ku Ji-zo-u..

 In Japan, Ji-zo-u is believe to save people from suffering and,these 6 guardian deity a.k.a. “Ro-ku Ji-zo-u” are believed to give up their own enlightenment to help others achieving the salvation.

 Also, according to Japanese Buddhism website,they are believed that they could commune with 6 realms; hell, starvation, beasts, carnage, human beings, and heaven.

 You can read more on Zenkoji temple at Japanese Buddhism website here.

 Then,it was about lunch time so,we decided to have a lunch somewhere at Sando street,which is the street that lead to the temple. You get to see many souvenir shops and eatery places along the street.

Sando street..

 On the way to eatery place, we strolled a little bit more in the Zenkoji temple and snapped a bit more picture before leaving.

Scenery at the Zenkoji temple court yard..

 The Nagano prefecture is famous for noodle so we dined at the noodle shop and,headed back to our home in Aichi prefecture.

 It was short family trip but,we all enjoyed the time spent with our family in Nagano prefecture.

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Apr 14, 2013 | Comments are off | Uncategorized