Monday, December 25, 2006

Rakanji Temple

Oops - another bit of a lapse in the blog entries... It isn't that we haven't been doing anything, it is just that we have been doing too much! I'll try to split the entries into smaller parts to make it less daunting to read!

First trip... Rakanji Temple. I find this temple quite amazing. It is built into the cliffs of a mountain about 50 minutes drive from here and is home to 524 stone buddahs in one cave as well as many other buddahs in other caves close by. To get to the temple you can either walk up the steep path or, if you are lacking in time (and energy) - like we were, you can take the ski lift up to the top.
Once you get to the top you are greeted by little surprises dotted in the many cave-like areas that are there. Of course there are stone buddahs everywhere, but there are also a lot of wooden rice spoons with everyone's wishes written on them. The old man who was there told me that as a rice spoon is used to provide you with nourishment, it is seen as something which can make your wishes come true and is therefore used for good luck.
The temple and buddahs were made approximately 600 years ago as Buddhism came to Japan from China. One thing that always surprises me is how they could have possibly brought all the materials up the steep terrain and built such a place 600 years ago. The old man also told me that the stone used for the carvings was brought from another area - making the task even more difficult! I did ask "why"... but wasn't really given a full answer (or one that I could understand anyway!).
Dawn - we learnt well from you and held all our belongings safe in our pockets this time!

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