JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when in crowds.


Most viewed - Miidera Temple 三井寺
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Main entrance to Miidera (Onjoji) temple. It is the headquarters temple of the Tendai Jimon Buddhist Sect (founded by Priest Enchin) and former rival of Enryakuji temple on Mt. Hiei, also in Shiga. MAP447 views
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Nagara Jinja Shrine213 views
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Moon-viewing stage 勧月舞台 and cherry blossoms at Miidera with Lake Biwa in the background.206 views
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Miidera's Three-story pagoda (Sanju-no-to)163 views
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Map of Miidera temple showing a variety of structures at the foot of Mt. Nagara (not Mt. Hiei). There are about 40 buildings, but you can enter only a few of them. It's not a huge complex, but allow at least 90 min. to see the major things.156 views
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Nagara Shrine Honden Hall. The original shrine was atop the mountain, but it was later moved here in 1054 at the foot of Mt. Nagara to make it more accessible to worshippers.154 views
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In 860, Miidera Founder Enchin worshipped this shrine as the guardian deity of Miidera.153 views
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Kannon-do complex at Miidera temple, Shiga.128 views
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Priest Enchin (Chisho-daishi) also used the sacred well water for a succession ceremony and called the temple, "Miidera" using the kanji for "three wells." The official name of "Onjoji" was given by Emperor Temmu. Back of Nio120 views
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Daimon Gate (also called Niomon Gate) is the temple's front gate. Built in 1452 and transferred here from Jorakuji temple in Koka by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1601. Important Cultural Property. 仁王門118 views
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Miidera's Kondo Hall and cherry blossoms in Otsu.112 views
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These photos were taken in both April during cherry blossoms season and in summer.107 views
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Somewhat away from the central area of Miidera is another National Treasure called Kojo-in Kyakuden. Unfortunately, it's closed to the public. All you see is this wall and a roof.103 views
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Issaikyo-zo Hall is a storehouse for all of the temple's Buddhist scriptures and valuable books. Built in the Muromachi Period and moved here from Yamaguchi Pref. in 1602 by Lord Mori Terumoto. Important Cultural Property. 一切経蔵102 views
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Cherry blossoms and the Niomon Gate at night in April.100 views
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Hiroshige's woodblock print of Evening Bell at Miidera temple from his "Omi Hakkei" (Eight Views of Omi) series.97 views
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Kondo Hall91 views
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Miidera temple's Kondo Hall, a National Treasure and Miidera's main worship hall built in 1599 in Otsu. 金堂89 views
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Front of Niomon Gate. The name Miidera literally means "Three-Well Temple." It refers to three Emperors (Tenchi, Temmu, and Jito) who as newborns bathed in the temple's Akaiya well. "Mii" 御井 originally meant "sacred well.87 views
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Miidera cherry blossoms at night.86 views
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Miidera's cherry blossoms are also lit up at night. (See photos at bottom.)84 views
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Miidera's Three-story pagoda (Sanju-no-to)84 views
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View from the bridge during cherry blossom season, looking toward the Kondo Hall.83 views
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Back of Niomon Gate.76 views
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Next to Miidera temple's southern boundary is Nagara Shrine. The shrine is not part of Miidera, but it is often included in maps of Miidera temple. 長等神社75 views
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Stone wall and gate to Kangaku-in Hall at Miidera temple (Onjoji), school for priests and a National Treasure but closed to the public. 勧学院74 views
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Built in 1905, gate of Nagara Jinja Shrine.72 views
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This is the closest we can get to Kangaku-in Hall, a National Treasure at Miidera temple in Otsu.71 views
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Inside Issaikyo-zo Hall is an octagonal, rotating Rinzo rack where the scriptures are stored.70 views
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It's a huge bell. After hearing the sound of the bell on Mt. Hiei, Benkei was disgusted with how it sounded and threw the bell back down the mountain.70 views
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About Kojo-in Kyakuden. It also has a Japanese garden not open to the public. 光浄院客殿67 views
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Gate to Kangaku-in Hall, school for priests at Miidera temple in Otsu. Closed to the public.66 views
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Kondo Main Hall, a National Treasure and Miidera's largest building. However, it was undergoing roof repairs in June 2008. Completed in fall 2008. 金堂63 views
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Near the Niomon Gate is the Shaka-do Hall (also called Jiki-do 食堂) which worships the Shaka Nyorai statue. Dating from the early Muromachi Period, an Important Cultural Property. Photography is not allowed inside.63 views
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Cherry blossoms and three-story pagoda at night.62 views
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Otsu-e picture. Details about Otsu-e here.59 views
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Inside Onjoji Akaiya is the sacred spring whose water is drawn to be offered in front of the temple altar. The water was also used to bathe the newborn Emperor Tenji, Tenmu, and Jito. The name Miidera (Three Wells) comes from this spring.59 views
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Steps going up to the Kondo Hall.59 views
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Inside the Miidera Bell Pavilion, the source of the "Evening Bell at Miidera temple."58 views
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Miidera temple56 views
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Path to the To-in complex.55 views
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Vintage postcard view of the same scene in Miidera. Otsu was much less developed.55 views
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Kondo Hall and cherry blossoms.55 views
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Inside Kondo Hall.55 views
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This small building houses a temple bell which, according to legend, warrior monk Benkei from Enryakuji stole from Miidera and carried up to Enryakuji on Mt. Hiei.55 views
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Inside Kondo Hall, built in 1599. Miroku Bosatsu statue is the object of worship.54 views
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Hiroshige's woodblock print of Evening Bell at Miidera temple from his "Omi Hakkei" (Eight Views of Omi) series.54 views
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It costs 300 yen to ring this bell once. (Not supposed to ring it more than once unless you pay again.) Also see my YouTube video here. 三井晩鐘53 views
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Next to Kondo Hall is a small building called the Onjoji Akaiya, an Important Cultural Property. 閼伽井屋53 views
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There is a small opening where you can enter the bell pavilion to ring the gong. 鐘楼51 views
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On the left of the Kancho-do is the Chonichi Goma-do Hall. Important Cultural Property. 長日護摩堂51 views
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Next to the Kondo hall is the famous Mii Bell Pavilion (Mii-no-Bansho). It is one of the Omi Hakkei (Eight Views of Omi) depicted in ukiyoe woodblock prints. Dating from the Momoyama period, it is an Important Cultural Property.51 views
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Inside Kannon-do Hall50 views
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Goho Zenjin-do Hall worships a guardian deity for children. Pray here for a safe childbirth and healthy growth of your kids. 護法善神堂50 views
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The lookout point gives the best views. The Kannon-do is on the left. Central Otsu can be seen in the distance as well as Lake Biwa.50 views
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Kondo Hall 50 views
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When the temple founder was crossing this bridge, a temple in China was ablaze. When he sprinkled water from a well, a mist arose from beneath the bridge and flew to extinguish the burning temple in China. 村雲橋49 views
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Mii Bell Pavilion (Mii-no-Bansho) on the right. The small building on the left is a gift shop where you buy a ticket to ring the bell.49 views
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Steps going to Issaikyo-zo Hall.49 views
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Lotus pond48 views
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Gate to the To-in complex, Miidera's most sacred area where Enchin (Chisho-Daishi) is buried and enshrined. All the buildings are Important Cultural Properties. 唐院48 views
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In front of the Kannon-do Hall is the water basin for purification.48 views
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Another gate to Goho Zenjin-do Hall48 views
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About Kangaku-in Hall.48 views
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Hydrangea in June47 views
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Incense burner inside Kannon-do Hall47 views
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Soroban (Abacus) Monument47 views
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Inside Issaikyo-zo Hall45 views
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Shuho Kannon. Worship her and become prosperous. 衆宝観音45 views
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Built in 1616, Bishamon-do Hall is an Important Cultural Property. 毘沙門堂45 views
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Cherry blossoms at Miidera temple, Shiga.45 views
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Kondo Hall and cherry blossoms.45 views
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In the center of the To-in complex is the Kancho-do Hall. Its a dojo exercise hall for entering the priesthood and conducting Buddhist initiation ceremonies. 潅頂堂44 views
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Side view of Kannon-do Hall.44 views
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Kondo Hall corner wood beam44 views
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Kondo Hall and cherry blossoms.44 views
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On the right of the Kancho-do is the three-story pagoda (Sanju-no-to). It was moved from Fushimi Castle in Kyoto in 1601 by Tokugawa Ieyasu. Important Cultural Property. 三重塔44 views
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Another building in the To-in area.43 views
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Hydrangea43 views
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Bishamon-do Hall. 毘沙門堂43 views
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Steps leading to the Kannon-do Hall on a hill in the southern precinct of Miidera.43 views
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Inside bell tower43 views
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Kannon-do Hall, Miidera temple, Shiga43 views
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Ema tablet43 views
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Ema tablet pavilion43 views
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Behind the Kancho-do Hall is the Daishi-do Hall where Enchin is interred.43 views
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Kondo Hall carvings43 views
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Cherry blossoms in April.43 views
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On the left in the back are steps going up to the lookout deck. A must-see vantage point.43 views
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Going toward the southern precinct of the temple, you see this Bimyoji temple with an 11-faced Kannon statue, an Important Cultural Property. The building was reconstructed in 1776. 微妙寺42 views
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Statue inside Kannon-do Hall42 views
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Beautiful cherry blossoms at night.42 views
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Kondo Hall42 views
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Kannon-do on the left.42 views
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View of central Otsu which is experiencing a building boom along the lake shore. This has prompted local residents to seek a building height limit, otherwise the lake would disappear from view.42 views
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Moon-viewing stage 勧月舞台41 views
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The stone marker on the right indicates where Emperor Meiji was when he visited here.41 views
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Kondo Hall veranda41 views
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Kondo Hall carvings41 views
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Bell tower40 views
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Inside Kannon-do Hall40 views
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On the fringe of Miidera is Somon Gate 総門40 views
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On the lookout deck.40 views
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Tendai Daishi statue39 views
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Kannon-do Hall is the 14th temple in the Saigoku (Western Japan) pilgrimage circuit of 33 temples. Important Cultural Property 観音堂39 views
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The lookout point is like a park with various monuments.39 views
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Monument dedicated to Shiga Prefectural police officers.39 views
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Gate to Goho Zenjin-do Hall39 views
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Kondo Hall roof39 views
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Bishamon-do Hall and maple leaves. Should return in fall.38 views
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Bell tower next to Kannon-do Hall.38 views
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Miidera Station on the Keihan Ishiyama-Sakamoto Line is the closest station to Miidera temple (and Lake Biwa Canal).21 views
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Miidera Station platform.14 views
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Miidera Station platform.11 views
     
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