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Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Temple of Peonies in spring

Hase-dera Temple is located in Hase valley surrounded by the peaceful mountains in Sakurai City.  Hase valley has been a holy sanctuary sine ancient times.  




Different from the stillness of the mid-winter, the temple is bustling with people in early May when many peonies are in bloom.  They are blooming in the ground and along the climbing roofed corridors composed of 399 steps.  As you climb step by step, you'll gain peace of mind. Why 399 steps?  It is said that they avoided the number containing "four" because the number four is unlucky in Japanese as it sounds the same as "death". 




There are about 7000 peonies of 150 varieties.







 




Along the corridor, rhododendrons are blooming, too.









At the Bell Tower, the highest place of the temple, the priests tell the time of noon by blowing conch-shell horns.  This rite has been conducted from the time immemorial.



This is Hon-do,  Main Temple Hall (National Treasure).  Destroyed 9 times by fire or natural disasters, rebuilt each time, the Main Hall's last restoration was completed in 1650.  Floors are given a good shine being taken care of well.


Five-storied Pagoda


I remember how I enjoyed myself strolling around the temple last year. These photos were taken at that time. If you have a plan to visit the temple, leave your home early so that you can reach there before the gate is opened at 8:30 a.m., and you'll have quieter time for the high season.





I’m in a great mood today as my mother has gotten better miraculously.   She is amazingly tough, tougher than I had thought.  On the other hand, another health problem which is like a booby-trap was found during the hospitalization.  My siblings and I have thought what would be the best for the 91-year-old mother.   We’d like to take her back home so that she can lead the normal life as long as possible while the symptoms are mild. 
I closed “reader comments” this time.   Thanks for your visit and reading.  Have a nice weekend.  Have a nice Golden Week.
Yoko