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Sunday, September 24, 2017

The temple of Hase was built during the the Hei'an period right outside the Yamato, in the "less civilized" Uda region, to provide the court nobles with a relatively near yet secluded "vacation resort" of the times.

As nobles moved with their escorts and servants, this created immediately the need for an infrastructure of services that the local people of the town in Uda was eager to provide. The temple complex created a small but rich set of satellite activities hosted in the otherwise hostile valley behind the Miwa mount. The Hase village still lives of the tourism and pilgrimage activity generated by the temple and the nearby shrines, and the micro-shops grabbing on the narrow valley sides must look much alike they looked like one thousand years ago:

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Before vising the temple, I am attracted by a writing reciting that there is a "power spot" (literally "pawa- supotto" in Engirish) market by the Yokitenman Jinja. And when I see a power spot and a staircase leading to it, I cannot resist:

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The shrine is halfway up the mountain, and http://www.niccolai.cc/nucleus/images/button-media.gifthe staircase is very steep, but the beauty of the shrine is worth the visit.

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Luckily, there's a forest path linking the shrine with the base of the temple, so I don't have to go back through the staircase.

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At the end of the path, I witness a quite interesting thing. Despite this place is literally packed with temples and shrines, a new shrine is under construction, and a sacred wand has been planted in the place where the honden will be built.

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And this despite this shrine is besides another one, newly built, packed with commemorative plaques naming the donors that financed the construction.

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Looks like the newly built shrine wasn't enough to satisfy all the people in the area eager to donate to have their names enshrined in the proximity of a kami.

But enough fooling around, and let's get to the main course: the Buddhist Temple of Hase.

The view is not all that impressive from below the stairs...

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But after paying the 500 yen admission fee, we immediately realize the scale of the place with a simple glance at the covered stairs past the main gate.

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The place would be the a delight for an anthropologist in search for religious synchretism. Not only the temple has more kami shrines than prayer halls...

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... See if this image of the Benevolent Kanon Buddha reminds you of something else:

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But besides the various faiths that this site evokes, it's the beauty of the nature in which it lies to be the real master of the scenery, like this view from the highest shrine:
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or this from the main hall, built with a panoramic terrace that reminds the one of the famous Kiyomizu temple in Kyoto.

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And considering this steep and difficult area, the magnificence of the buildings is even more impressing. The main hall is a very large building, to be a wood construction:

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And the 5 stores pagoda (smaller than the magnificent pagodas in Nara, but still remarkable):

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But the complex dedicated to the study of Buddhism, the equivalent of a Christian seminary, is even more remarkable, so much well it was sited in the harsh valley slope.

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In short, this massive temple sits royally in this wild strip of nature without suppressing it, but even exalting it. Sure worth the visit, and maybe a longer stay which I couldn't afford.

I can well understand the fascination the Hei'an nobles had for this place.

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