Buddhism

The Mysterious and Beautiful Temple Built into a Cave: Bishamon-do in Iwate

Over a thousand years ago, a Buddhist Temple was built in the rock wall of a cliff in Hiraizumi, Iwate. It was called Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondo which was primarily dedicated to the warrior gods of the 9th century. At that time, Japanese territories were expanding northwards which was followed by several battles with Emishi…

Mount Shigi and Its Historic Temple: The Lesser-known Attractions of Nara

Located in the northwest of Nara lies the lesser known area of Mt. Shigi. Not only it is a nice place for a simple hike, there is also an interesting “tiger” temple known as Chogosonshi-ji Temple which is more widely referred to as Shigi-Bishamon Temple. At the entrance area of the temple, there is a…

Climb the 1000 Steps to Yamagata’s Scenic Hidden Treasure, Yama-dera

Yamagata City is located in a mountainous area where scenic temples can be seen. One of which is located in the city’s northeast area and is known as Yama-dera Temple. It is a Buddhist temple founded over a thousand years ago and has been considered as a nationally-designated Place of Scenic Beauty and Historic Site.…

A Bar Run by Buddhist Monks? Vowz Bar in Tokyo

Ever thought of mixing booze with religion? Well, everything is possible in the Land of the Rising Sun! If you want to get your enlightenment in a martini glass, then you better go to Vowz Bar in Tokyo. It is located in Yotsuya. The bar offers no TV, no karaoke nor any live bands. However,…

A Must-Visit in Kyoto: Goddess Kannon, the Central Deity of Sanjusangen-do

Sanjusangen-do is a popular temple building in Kyoto which was completed in 1164. It is officially known as ‘Rengeo-in’ or ‘Hall of the Lotus King’ which houses 1,001 human-sized statues of the goddess Kannon. Its temple hall is the longest wooden structure in Japanese history and measures around 120 meters. The temple has actually been…

Discover Japanese Buddhism Visiting These 3 Popular Giant Buddhas

Since Buddhism came to Japan by way of the Silk Route it has permeated the Japanese way of life. Although most Japanese people are very hesitant in committing themselves to a particular religion, it is clear that Buddhism is one of the two predominating religions, as you can see many Buddha statues all over the…

Osaka’s Men Brave Cold Water and Run to the Temple at Doya Doya Matsuri

It’s winter in January in Japan and there are low temperatures in many places. Would anyone dare to take a cold shower in the morning? I bet you would not! But there are some strong fellows risking weather and running (almost) naked while cold water is flung onto them. What is all this craziness? Doya…

Omizutori: a Fiery Festival in Nara

In Japan, there are many ways to repent of your sins, and these ways usually differ per place. In Nara Prefecture people observe a two-week long ceremony that serves as a repentance ritual, with the final observance known as ‘Omizutori’. It has its origins in the Buddhist belief that people need to try to cleanse…

Be in Awe of Konjikido, the Golden Palace of Iwate

Many people know of the very famous building Kinkakuji in Kyoto, the Golden Pavilion. Few people are aware of the golden hall, Konjikido, which stands in Iwate prefecture. Entirely covered in gold, Konjikido is a sight to behold. Tendai Buddhism   japan-iwate.info/ The Tendai sect of Buddhism originated in 805. The founder, Saicho, was influenced…