JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when in crowds.


Last additions - Kora 甲良町
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My YouTube video of the Takatora Summit in Kora.Jun 06, 2010
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Jun 01, 2010
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Kora ShrineJun 01, 2010
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Walking around Zaiji is quite pleasant. Rural area with traditional-style homes. The murmuring of streams is everywhere.Jun 01, 2010
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Kora Shrine Honden is another Kora Shrine. Also called Hoyoji temple. The Honden main hall was repaired by Kora Bungo-no-Kami Munehiro.Jun 01, 2010
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Sightseeing map of Kora-cho.Jun 01, 2010
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Kora Town Hall. MAPJun 01, 2010
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About Kora Bungo-no-Kami Munehiro.Jun 01, 2010
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Local museum dedicated to Kora Bungo-no-Kami Munehiro. Unfortunately, the museum was closed when I was there. It's open only once or twice a week or so.Jun 01, 2010
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Near Kora Town Hall is this statue of Kora Bungo-no-Kami Munehiro (1574-1646). Born here, he started a famous lineage of shrine/temple carpenters. 甲良豊後守宗廣 MAPHe supervised the construction of many famous buildings.Jun 01, 2010
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In 1604 at age 30, the Tokugawa government called him to Edo to supervise the building of Zojoji temple (where many Tokugawa shoguns are buried). He also supervised the building of the famous Toshogu Shrine in Nikko. This same statue is at Toshogu Shrine.Jun 01, 2010
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Stone lanterns with the Todo family crest.Jun 01, 2010
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Statue of Lord Todo Takatora who became lord of Tsu Castle in Mie.Jun 01, 2010
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Local sightseeing map in stone.Jun 01, 2010
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Kora town manhole with a wisteria design taken from Zaiji Hachiman Shrine, Shiga Pref.Jun 01, 2010
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About Zaiji Hachiman Shrine in Japanese and English.Jun 01, 2010
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Large stone Lord Takatora once transported to rebuild Osaka Castle. It was abandoned in Kiso River. Called the "Consolation Stone." 残念石Jun 01, 2010
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A short walk from Zaiji Hachiman Shrine is Takatora Park, dedicated to Zaiji's most famous son, Lord Todo Takatora who became lord of Tsu Castle in Mie. MAPJun 01, 2010
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Zaiji Hachiman Shrine's Haiden Hall.Jun 01, 2010
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Zaiji Hachiman Shrine's Honden main hall.Jun 01, 2010
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Zaiji Hachiman Shrine's Honden main hall.Jun 01, 2010
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Zaiji Hachiman Shrine also has wisteria which bloom in early May. Planted by Todo Kagemori, the founder of the Todo clan in the 14th century.Jun 01, 2010
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Torii gate to Zaiji Hachiman Shrine in Kora, Shiga.Jun 01, 2010
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Zaiji Hachiman Shrine, the family shrine of the Todo clan. This place in Zaiji (Kora, Shiga) was Lord Todo Takatora's birthplace. Takatora later became lord of Tsu Castle in Mie Prefecture. MAPJun 01, 2010
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Azalea and streamJun 01, 2010
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Zaiji has numerous little streams along the roads and houses. You often see flowering plants decorating the streams. It is one of the town's symbols.Jun 01, 2010
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Zaiji is about a 20-min. walk from Amago Station. Quaint general store in Zaiji. Looks like Japan from the 1950s or '60s.Jun 01, 2010
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Jun 01, 2010
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Dig this van with a ninja on top.Jun 01, 2010
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The festivities and summit ended at 6:30 pm.Jun 01, 2010
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Capping the day's events was the Takatora Taiko troupe from Tsu. 高虎太鼓Jun 01, 2010
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Ninja showJun 01, 2010
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A ninja show performed by an Iga-ryu ninja trouope called Kurondo from Iga, Mie. 黒党Jun 01, 2010
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The keynote speaker was Abe Ryutaro, a novelist who wrote a novel about Takatora. Some people hope that his novel will be turned into a TV drama series. 安部龍太郎Jun 01, 2010
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Afterward, they played traditional games.Jun 01, 2010
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At 3 pm, the keynote speaker gave a talk about Takatora.Jun 01, 2010
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Before schools were established in Japan, the temples served as educational institutions for the children. 浄覚寺 寺子屋の再現Jun 01, 2010
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Terakoya session at Jogakuji temple. There was a storyteller, kami-shibai, and traditional games for kids.Jun 01, 2010
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Jogakuji temple of the Jodo Shinshu Sect held a terakoya session. A short walk from Takatora Park. 浄覚寺Jun 01, 2010
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At 2 pm, the "Summit" was held on stage.Jun 01, 2010
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They drummed on the giant taiko.Jun 01, 2010
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Cute warriorJun 01, 2010
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Mayors and other dignitaries look forward to the next Takatora Summit at Iga-Ueno Castle. Each city take turns hosting the summit held every two years. The last time Kora hosted it was in 2000.Jun 01, 2010
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Mayors vow to meet at the next Takatora Summit.Jun 01, 2010
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Takatora Summit in Kora, ShigaJun 01, 2010
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Samurai procession on stage.Jun 01, 2010
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They wear home-made armor.Jun 01, 2010
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Toramaru from Tsu, Mie.Jun 01, 2010
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Shiromochi-kun from Tsu. シロモチくんJun 01, 2010
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Hiko-nyanJun 01, 2010
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Mochi-tsuki.Jun 01, 2010
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Tora-nyan, Kora's official mascot.Jun 01, 2010
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Shrine maiden mascot from Taga, Shiga.Jun 01, 2010
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Hikone's Hiko-nyan also made it to the summit. Hikone is Kora's the neighboring city.Jun 01, 2010
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By coincidence, I've been to all these castles related to Takatora.Jun 01, 2010
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Toramaru from Tsu, Mie. 藤堂とらまるJun 01, 2010
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Ninta and Shinobu ninja mascots from Iga. Iga-Ueno Castle was renovated by Takatora who constructed high castle walls. にん太・しのぶJun 01, 2010
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From Kameyama, Kyoto. Kameyama Castle was built by Akechi Mitsuhide and Takatora contributed to later construction. Only castle walls and moats remain. Now occupied by a religious group.Jun 01, 2010
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Non-chan is a horse from Imabari. Imabari Castle was built by Takatora. のんちゃんJun 01, 2010
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Each mascot was introduced in detail by its handler.Jun 01, 2010
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Mayor's representative from Imabari, Ehime.Jun 01, 2010
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Mayor of Tsu, Mie Prefecture. Tsu Castle was built by Takatora.Jun 01, 2010
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Mayor of Iga, Mie.Jun 01, 2010
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About 10 mascot characters were introduced on stage.Jun 01, 2010
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The MC was Kayme, radio personality from from FM Shiga (e-radio). She introduced the names of all the mascots on stage. ケイミーJun 01, 2010
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Statue of Takatora in a pond at Takatora Park.Jun 01, 2010
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Takatora Park was the main venue for the Takatora Summit. The first program started at 11 am and they introduced official mascots from Takatora-related cities.Jun 01, 2010
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Banner reads "Birthtplace of Lord Todo Takatora."Jun 01, 2010
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Takatora Park was decorated with these banners.Jun 01, 2010
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Day's schedule.Jun 01, 2010
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Sculptures made of styrofoam.Jun 01, 2010
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More booths.Jun 01, 2010
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Sightseeing pamphlets from all the Takatora-related cities who came.Jun 01, 2010
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This was good, from Kora.Jun 01, 2010
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Todo Takatora sake.Jun 01, 2010
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Jun 01, 2010
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Iga's booth.Jun 01, 2010
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This booth was from Iga, Mie Prefecture.Jun 01, 2010
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The shrine's Haiden Hall was used as an entertainment stage during the Takatora Summit in Kora.Jun 01, 2010
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The road near Takatora Park was lined with souvenir booths and food stalls.Jun 01, 2010
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The road from Hachiman Shrine to Takatora Park. Another giant taiko drum.Jun 01, 2010
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Zaiji Hachiman Shrine also offered a rest place where tea and sweets were served.Jun 01, 2010
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Zaiji was the former Todo village (藤堂村). Lord Todo Takatora was a famous daimyo who was expert at building castles. He had a hand in building castles in Tsu, Kameyama, Imabari, Edo, and more.Jun 01, 2010
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A giant taiko drum was also on display at the shrine.Jun 01, 2010
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The beautiful wisteria was in full bloom. The name "Todo" includes the kanji character for "fuji" or wisteria. 藤Jun 01, 2010
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Torii to Zaiji Hachiman Shrine, the birthplace of Todo Takatora (1556-1630). Since 1998, the Takatora Summit has been held once every two years in one of four places (Kora, Tsu and Iga in Mie, and Imabari, Ehime) having a close connection with Takatora.Jun 01, 2010
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The Takatora Summit was held in Kora-cho's Zaiji area on May 9, 2010. It was Kora's second time to host the summit. The first time was in 2000. Zaiji Hachiman Shrine was one of the festival venues.Jun 01, 2010
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Statue of Lord Todo Takatora (in Kora, Shiga Prefecture) who became the 11th lord of Tsu Castle (Mie Pref.) in 1608. Behind it is the Takatora Waterfall.May 30, 2008
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"Keep our rivers clean"May 30, 2008
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May 30, 2008
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Katsuragi Waterfall 桂城の滝May 30, 2008
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Shinkansen in the distance.May 30, 2008
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Little shrine in Shimonogo Sports ParkMay 30, 2008
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Shimonogo Sports ParkMay 30, 2008
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View of rice fields on the way back to Amago Station.May 30, 2008
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Nenshoji temple 念称寺May 30, 2008
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Nenshoji temple is noted for its standing wooden Buddha statue designated as a Cultural Property of Kora town.May 30, 2008
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"Say hello before the other says hello." Conveying the importance of greeting people.May 30, 2008
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Even before the spring flowers bloom, they find ways to color the streams.May 30, 2008
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Also see my YouTube video here.May 30, 2008
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More roadside streams with flowers.May 30, 2008
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Shimonogo 桂城神社May 30, 2008
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Togenkyo monument 桃源郷の碑May 30, 2008
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Waterwheel too.May 30, 2008
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Shinmei no Taki waterfalls are these small waterfalls along the road. Kora, Shiga Prefecture.May 30, 2008
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Small shrine near the entrance to Shimonogo.May 30, 2008
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A short walk from Zaiji is the entrance to Shimonogo, another small cluster of homes in Kora town.May 30, 2008
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On the right of the Honden Hall is this Kora-ishi rock. Although the triangular rock looks small above ground, it is believed to be a huge rock underground. Size unknown. They say that touching the rock brings misfortunes. So it is fenced off. 甲良石May 30, 2008
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Kora Shrine's Gonden Hall is believed to date from the early Edo Period.May 30, 2008
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Kora Jinja's Gonden HallMay 30, 2008
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Kora Shrine's Gonden Hall is on the left of the Honden main hall. This is an Important Cultural Property. It used to be the Honden before the shrine was renovated in 1883. 権殿May 30, 2008
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Kora Shrine Honden HallMay 30, 2008
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Kora Shrine Honden HallMay 30, 2008
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Kora ShrineMay 30, 2008
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Kora ShrineMay 30, 2008
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Kora Shrine Honden HallMay 30, 2008
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Kora Shrine torii. MAPMay 30, 2008
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Kora Shrine (Kora Jinja) 甲良神社May 30, 2008
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Kora ShrineMay 30, 2008
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Ohmi Railways train near Amago Station. Also see my YouTube video here.May 30, 2008
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Ohmi Railways Amago Station side viewMay 30, 2008
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Ohmi Railways Amago Station front view. 尼子駅May 30, 2008
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Inside Ohmi Railways Amago StationMay 30, 2008
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Entering Ohmi Railways Amago Station which is also a community house.May 30, 2008
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The Amago Station building is called the Amago Community House. Built in Nov. 2003, it's still quite new, but looks under used.May 30, 2008
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Ohmi Railways Amago Station, Kora town's only train station. It is parallel to the shinkansen bullet train tracks on the left.May 30, 2008
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Ohmi Railways Amago Station platform. The station building (community house) can be seen ahead on the left.May 30, 2008
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Tourists come by the busloadsDec 08, 2005
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Miniature Kannon. Pay money to have your name under one of them.Dec 08, 2005
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Convenient shuttle bus. Visit Kongorinji temple next.During the peak fall season from mid-Nov., you can buy an Omi Railway train/bus pass for only 1,800 yen to visit all three Koto Sanzan temples plus Eigenji Temple. Ride on the Omi Railway Line to the closest train station (Hikone or Yokaichi) and hop on a shuttle bus like this one to visit the Koto Sanzan Temple Trio, plus Eigenji. There's a shuttle bus every hour or so that shuttle between the four temples. The pass is good for 1 day.Dec 08, 2005
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Saimyoji was my favorite Koto Sanzan templeDec 08, 2005
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Horaitei gardenDec 08, 2005
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Temple bell, donate 50 yen to ring itDec 08, 2005
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Miniature KannonDec 08, 2005
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I thought the fall colors were most abundant at Saimyoji. We could also enter the 3-story pagoda, a National Treasure. (You cannot enter the pagoda at the other temples.)Dec 08, 2005
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3-story pagoda and fall colors. Photography is not allowed inside, but I highly recommend going inside. Admission 1,000 yen.Dec 08, 2005
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Closeup of pagodaDec 08, 2005
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11-faced Kannon statueDec 08, 2005
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Temple bellDec 08, 2005
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3-story pagoda, a National TreasureDec 08, 2005
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Saimyoji's 3-story pagoda, a National Treasure.Dec 08, 2005
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During the peak autumn season in Nov., the public is allowed to enter the pagoda to view the precious paintings on the wooden walls and pillars.Dec 08, 2005
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3-story pagoda, a National TreasureIn 1571, Oda Nobunaga ordered Saimyoji to be burned down right after scorching Enryakuji on Mt. Hiei. Fortunately, this Kamakura-Period main hall and the pagoda survived. The pagoda is 23.7 meters high.Dec 08, 2005
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Hondo groundsDec 08, 2005
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Veil of autumn leaves. Only several people can fit inside the first floor of the pagoda at one time, so you may have to wait in line.Dec 08, 2005
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Oda Nobunaga burned Saimyoji right after scorching Enryakuji on Mt. Hiei. Fortunately, the main hall and the pagoda survived. 3-story pagoda, a National TreasureDec 08, 2005
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Saimyoji temple Hondo Hall (National Treasure) in Kora, Shiga. In 1571, Oda Nobunaga ordered Saimyoji to be burned down right after torching Enryakuji on Mt. Hiei. Fortunately, this Kamakura-Period main hall and the pagoda survived. 本堂Dec 08, 2005
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3-story pagoda, a National TreasureDec 08, 2005
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Inside Saimyoji temple's Hondo hall.Dec 08, 2005
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Temple groundsDec 08, 2005
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View from gateDec 08, 2005
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Hondo groundsDec 08, 2005
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View from gateDec 08, 2005
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Japan's first National Treasure undergoing renovation of the roof. Saimyoji temple's Hondo hall (National Treasure) in Kora, Shiga. 本堂In 1571, Oda Nobunaga ordered Saimyoji to be burned down right after scorching Enryakuji on Mt. Hiei. Fortunately, this Kamakura-Period main hall and the pagoda survived.Dec 08, 2005
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At the top of the stairsDec 08, 2005
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Nitenmon Gate to main temple (Hondo)Dec 08, 2005
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Stairs to autumn heaven. Up to here, the path was just filled with colors. And more still awaited.Dec 08, 2005
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Autumn leaves and stone wallDec 08, 2005
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The path was a stunning showcase for autumn foilage.Dec 08, 2005
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Cherry blossoms which bloom in Nov. This is full bloom. Not as glorious as the cherries in spring, but unusual to see them in Nov. 不断桜Dec 08, 2005
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Crossing the Meishin expressway. There's a bridge over a busy and noisy expressway which you cross to get to the other side of the temple grounds.Dec 08, 2005
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Incredibly beautifulDec 08, 2005
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Cherry blossoms which bloom in Nov. Designated as a Natural Monument and Cultural Property of Shiga. 不断桜Dec 08, 2005
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Front gate. This is where you pay the admission fee of 500 yen. During fall, the autumn leaves are brilliant, and you can enter the three-story pagoda (National Treasure) to see the wall paintings. MAPDec 08, 2005
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Established in 834 and located in Kora-cho town, Saimyoji is a Tendai Buddhist temple and the northern-most one in the Koto Sanzan Temple Trio. Map of temple grounds.The main temple hall, designated as Japan's first National Treasure, houses statues of gods with a carving of the 12 Oriental Zodiac signs on the head. Accessible by bus from Amago Station on the Omi Railway Line.Dec 08, 2005
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Soon after you enter the temple, you see this "continuously blooming" cherry tree (fudan-zakura) planted next to a tree showing fall colors. This special cherry tree blooms in Nov. during the fall colors. 不断桜Dec 08, 2005
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