Autumn Nara, day 3. Tanzan Shrine and Hase-dera

Early morning of day 3 in Nara we headed to Tanzan shrine, it's somewhat outside of Nara, but promised very nice views.

First we spent some time in a train to Sakurai station

Christmas tree at some JR station
On the way to Sakurai station we passed this place with apparent preparations for New Year.

At the Sakurai station we found that the bus we needed (the instructions provided a number, but it turned to be unnumbered, just a special bus stop for it) would only arrive in 40 minutes or so. Some local man (with very poor English, but combined with our Japanese that was ok) helped us to understand the bus arrangement and then shown us the way to the shrine from there.

Tanzan shrine grounds
Arrived at the site

Tanzan shrine grounds

Tanzan shrine grounds

Tickets to Tanzan shrine
Tickets to Tanzan shrine, 500 yen per person.

Tanzan shrine was dedicated to Fujiwara Kamatari (614-669 A.D.).

Tanzan shrine waterfall

Tanzan shrine grounds

Tanzan shrine grounds

Tanzan shrine grounds
Staircase to the main hall.

Thirteen story pagoda at Tanzan shrine
13-story memorial stupa (pagoda) built near the Tamatari tomb.

What follows is a lot of fall color pictures.

Fall colors

Fall colors

Fall colors and pagoda

Fall colors and pagoda

Fall colors and pagoda

Fall colors and pagoda

Fall colors and pagoda

Fall colors and pagoda

Fall colors

We also entered into Honden (A big hall)

Honden with lanterns
Honden is lined with lanterns on the outer end.

Honden with lanterns

rusty metalwork on lanterns
Some metalwork is pretty rusty and probably old too.

Honden with lanterns

Fall colors

Look from honden outside

Inside honden

Look from honden outside

Look from honden outside

Tanzan shrine grounds

Fall colors

Honden at Tanzan shrine
This is Honden from outside.

Fall colors and pagoda

Fall colors and pagoda

Fall colors

Fall colors

Red banners at some shrine
Some secondary building.

From Honden we see a big staircase down:

Stairs at Tanzan shrine

Children at a stair

Children at a stair

Children at a stair

Torii and stairs at the entrance to Tanzan shrine
The stair ends with this Torii gate and nothing else too see there, just turns out to be another entrance to the shrine, so we return back to the pagoda.

Tea drinking at street vendor
A street vendor is selling very expensive tea.

Tea-making at Tanzan shrine

Tea-making at Tanzan shrine

Stairs to mountain-top at Tanzan shrine

Near the entrance we used, behind the pagoda we suddenly notice these stairs uphill and indeed looking at a map, there is something at the top.

I try to ask in ticket-booth if it's worth going up to see whatever is there and through the language barrier it seems we are promised a great view or something of that nature, so we decide to climb up (the sign promises 510m of stairs).

Fall colors

Stairs to mountain-top at Tanzan shrine

Mid-platform

Mid-platform
This is the intermediate stop at 290m or so, nothing to see at all, so we hope for the best and keep climbing.

Forest on a mountain

Way to the top of the mountain
The mountain has ершы sort of forest all over it. (no idea about the ladder).

Top platform at the mountain-top
Finally the last stretch of stairs to the (hidden) torii gate visible on a map.

View from observation platform
And this is the supposedly great view from top ;)

some sort of monument at mountain top

Stairs at the mountaintop

Forest on a mountain

Looked a bit around at the top, we turn back.

Forest on a mountain

Trail at the mountaintop

Tanzan stupa

Fall colors and stupa

Small dog in a bag

Small dog in a bag
Near the exit we see this small fluffy dog.

Tanzan shrine grounds

Tanzan shrine grounds

Bamboo grove
Bamboo grove on a way back to the bus stop.

Fall colors

Fall colors and buses
Bus stop for tourist buses.

Reinforced hill-side
On a way back to the Sakurai station we see this hillside reinforced with concrete.

Tunnel
And some tunnel under a mountain.

After a ride in another train we are getting to Hase.

Yomogi mochi
Yomogi mochi shop. Doing mochi from grass.

Hase streets

Tickets to Hase-dera
And finally we are at the Hase-dera main gate (Nio-mon). Tickets are 500 yen per person.

Palm trees near Hase-dera
Something seems to be out of place and then we understand that we are looking at some palm trees.

Nobori-ro
Nobori-ro encircling corridor. It has 399 steps, because 4 is an unlucky digit in Japan (and is pronounced as the word "death"). But in fact after this corridor ends, there are three more steps just before the main hall where Kannon is set. This tells us that to reach Kannon is to overcome the death.

Rose under cover
On the sides of the Nobori-ro we can see some covered flowers. It's full of blossoming flowers in Spring and Summer, so one of places that could be visited any time of the year.

More palms
And another palm tree.

Lanterns besides Nobori-ro
The corridor takes a turn to the right and now it's lined with stone lanterns.

And finally we reach the main building - Hon-do.

Hasedera grounds

Goju-no-to Five story pagoda
Views that open from Hon-do platform.

Hondo of Hasedera
Hon-do itself. It was built in 1650.

Pagoda and a lantern

Some sort of Buddha?
Inside first we see this red statue. Everybody was trying to rub some part of it. I wonder if it is another Binzuru statue?

Eleven-faced Kannon
Eleven faced Kannon - the main Buddha to which the Hon-do is dedicated.

And some shots inside Hon-do.

Inside Hondo

Inside Hondo

Inside Hondo

Inside Hondo

Inside Hondo

Fall colors

Hondo from a side

Five storied pagoda
We set our sights to the Pagoda and decided to see if we can get any closer.

View to Hase

Near a five storied pagoda

Five story pagoda
Sure we can. It turned out this pagoda was only built in 1954. The roof is made out of traditional Japanese cypress that rots away in 30 years, so it was already repaired once in 1990.

Monks
Monks walking around. Hase-dera is one of the very few active temples where monks can study in Japan. Only about 20 students are allowed to stay at the temple grounds.

Stairs

Nobori-ro


Nobori-ro

Berries

Tengu-sugi
Tengu-sugi (a flying squirrel cedar). About 300 years ago there were cedar trees lining both sides of the corridor. At the time a young monk Eigaku was tasked with lighting the lanterns of the corridor, but the flying squirrels put them out. Eventually the monk became the abbot and it came time to repair some building and he decided to use the cedar trees in these repair, the only tree was left for the flying squirrels and for the memories of his youth.

Tea-house and living quarters of students

View to Hondo

Honbo - lecture hall
Honbo - lecture hall.

Fall colors through Honbo

Five-storied pagoda

Suddenly a taxi came into the gate and two monks waved goodbye to some official-looking man.

Man getting into a taxi

Monks praying for safe travel

Hondo

Road to Nobori-ro

Nio-Mon
It was becoming late, so we went out. Last look at the Nio-mon.

Yomogi-mochi

Yomogi-mochi
Yomogi-mochi preparations again.

Yomogi-mochi with bean paste
The end product with bean-paste. We tasted it and it's pretty strange ;)

Some private yard
Some nice garden behind open gate. Also very cryptic sign on the gate.

Sunset over Hase

Sunset over Hase

At the station we met this interesting couple of schoolchildren:

Highschool children at a train stop in Nara

Colored train in Nara

Colored train in Nara
We took this colored train back to Nara.

At the station we got some food

Kare udon with cheese
Curry Udon with cheese,

Some chicken dish
some fried chicken dish

Pickled vegetables
and a bit of pickles.

This concludes the day three in Nara.

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