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Hillside Delights and Giant Buddhas at Hasedera Temple, Kamakura

Ah, Kamakura. The historic seaside town brimming with ancient wonder. Though it's perhaps best known for the Giant Buddha (Daibutsu) at Kōtoku-in, there are plenty of other impressive attractions in Kamakura. For example, the Hasedera Temple, only minutes away, perched on a...

The Mystical Taya Caves at Josen-ji Temple, Yokohama

Kanagawa Prefecture is Tokyo’s southern neighbour and home to some of the most popular day-trip locations, like the lively Yokohama and the spiritual sea-side towns of Kamakura and Enoshima. But with this notoriety inevitably comes the tourist crowds. For those looking for...

All about Shojin Ryori: Zen Buddhist Vegetarian Cuisine

Shojin Ryori is the traditional fare of Zen Buddhist monks in Japan. This plant-based dining style, along with Zen Buddhism itself, started making its way around Japan in the 12th century, and is still an integral part of the practice today. Despite...

Okuno-in: Kōyasan’s Pathway Through Time

A banner image of Buddhist monks climbing steps.
A line of Buddhist monks walk the stone path of Okuno-in. In the footsteps of Kobo Daishi. Deep in the mountains of Wakayama prefecture, shrouded by a rolling sea of dark-hued cedar, lies a...

Miyajima’s Stunning Mountain Temple: Daisho-in Temple

The forested hills of Miyajima Island are full of beauty and wonder. Wild deer and tanuki forage for food in the underbrush while the native maple trees display a spectrum of colours throughout the seasons. And at Mount Misen’s base you’ll find...

The Jizo Statue: Japan’s most helpful Buddhist icon

As you journey across the Japanese countryside, riding the rails or walking the forest paths, there are a few things you’re likely to see time and again. One is the iconic torii, a red-painted wood or stone gate which marks the entrance...

The Tranquil Gardens of Kodaiji Temple: A Higashiyama Must

Kyoto’s eastern Higashiyama area is positively packed with beautiful historic temples, shrines, statues, pagodas, gardens and much, much more. But with so many outstanding places to see, where should you start? One of my personal favourite spots in the area is Kodaiji...

Ryozen Kannon Temple: One of Kyoto’s Best Kept Secrets

Kyoto’s Higashiyama district may be jam-packed with countless temples and shrines, but in terms of aesthetic difference, the Ryozen Kannon Temple is quite literally head and shoulders above the rest. Sharing a carpark with Kodaiji Temple—my intended destination—I mistakenly walked toward the...

A Thousand Glittering Treasures at Kyoto’s Sanjusangendo Temple

Not far from Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Taisha lies the temple famously home to 1001 statues of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Its name—Sanjusangendo— however, refers to an old method of measurement, literally translating to ‘hall with 33 spaces between columns’. 

A Great Half-Day Hike Near Kyoto: the Kibune – Kurama Hike

Looking for a way to enjoy nature, soak up culture and get some exercise, all at the same time? Well, look no further than the Kibune – Kurama hike. This easy two hour hike covers almost 4 kilometers through the Kitayama mountains...

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