Not just the Hasedera temple

There are a further eight objects of interest within this temple area. A golden seated statue of Yakuyoke (Protector from Evils Spirits) which was made in 1194 at the request of the first shogun of Japan. It is 2.8m high.  Then there is the temple bell which is rung 108 times at about midnight on 31st December each year to dispel the 108 sufferings of humanity. From the Observation platform it is possible to see Sagami Bay, Miura Peninsula and some beaches.

Near this platform is a restaurant and beside that the Kyozo Sutra Archive which is like a huge prayer wheel. The Buddhist sutras for the temple are kept here and it is possible to see both pages and scrolls behind glass and wooden doors. This archive is rotated at New Year and on 18th of each month.

30 Archive

There is a small temple part way down the slope called ‘Happy Jizo’ (Fukuju Jizo). This shrine is surrounded by thousands of stone statues in rows, some wearing bibs or caps and festooned with charms. They are there to comfort the souls of unborn children.

30 unborn children

The museum displays cultural and archaeological items discovered at the time of the temple’s reconstruction in 1992 – we were not able to go into this. Finally there is the Benten-do Hall and Benten-kutsu Cave. In the cave Benzaiten and 16 children are carved in the rock walls. She is the sea goddess and the only female among the Lucky gods of Japan. She is the patron of music, the fine arts, and good fortune in general and usually carries a biwa (Japanese mandolin).

This post is an extract of my mother’s travel journal written during a tour of Japan in 2014.


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