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Day 11 Morning
In the morning, we dropped off our bikes at the nearest terminal It turns out riding a bike for 15+ miles in a day when you havent ridden a bike in over 10 years is not a good idea... Sitting down was painful the entire day.
Instead, we headed over to Kousan-ji. This temple is gorgeous! I would highly recommend going there if you are ever near the area. People weren't lying when they said it was like a mini Nikko
Cave entrance, filled with disturbing imagery
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The temple does look absolutetly breathtaking. The detailed carvings of the dragons and figures , the painted pillars, the amazing wood and stone work. plus the sunshine brings out the colours even more.
Indeed if you look at the buildings from a cultural and art point of view, there's actually lots of beautiful buildings and art work in a temple. The carvings on the beams even the beams itself are carefully crafted, mostly handmade. A temple near where I am staying took years to refurnish the temple as they needed to import materials, artisans, craftsman to the site from China.
My 1st impression was, "That's a Chinese Temple!?!" Then I realised Buddhism varies in Japan vs Chinese. What the cave paintings are reflecting are Hell paintings. I do not know how far that caves goes but in mythology, there are 18 lvls of Hell so if you could recall something about 18 lvls or 18 paintings then each reflects the lvl in hell. The worst being the 18th lvl where the murderers and other deep sinners lies.
There's a place called Haw Par Villa here. Its a cultural park went there when I was small and was scared to sheet with the tales and atmosphere there. Selected a less gory pic found online.
It looks like there were 23 images in total, with them getting less and less gory while going through the cave.
There are other areas that is depicted in the mythology like "Bridge of Helplessness" I wiki-ed it because I do not know the English term for it. There is also the Courts of Judgement where the souls will be Judged upon their sins. I believe the 18 Lvls is depicted together with these iconic areas. It is certainly a treat to look at it in artistic and cultural form.
For a while, I dislike going to temples as I had bad dreams of those fierce looking statues due to cultural effect from young and the smoke from joss sticks makes me tears. Have a great day ahead! ^_^
Thanks for sharing your adventures, the temple is really beautiful!
Oh hell yeah, Japan is so adorable and fascinating. I wish I had the money for an extensive holiday.
One of my fellows said, as an European in Japan you feel like an Alien on Earth. :D
Wow, the temple is beautiful. All that detail.