JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when in crowds.


Most viewed - Kora 甲良町
zj127-IMG_1951.jpg
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.608 views
zj133-20100508_2482.jpg
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.412 views
zj132-20100508_2481.jpg
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 MAP363 viewsHe supervised the construction of many famous buildings.
ks031-IMG_1582.jpg
Oda Nobunaga burned Saimyoji right after scorching Enryakuji on Mt. Hiei. Fortunately, the main hall and the pagoda survived. 3-story pagoda, a National Treasure338 views
zj111-20100508_2336.jpg
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.324 views
ks037-IMG_1522.jpg
3-story pagoda and fall colors. Photography is not allowed inside, but I highly recommend going inside. Admission 1,000 yen.278 views
zj109-20100508_2444.jpg
Torii gate to Zaiji Hachiman Shrine in Kora, Shiga.254 views
zj108-20100508_2434.jpg
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. MAP239 views
ks017-IMG_1640.jpg
At the top of the stairs217 views
tr271-20100508_2598.jpg
Ninja show213 views
ks024-IMG_1462.jpg
Japan's first National Treasure undergoing renovation of the roof. Saimyoji temple's Hondo hall (National Treasure) in Kora, Shiga. 本堂200 viewsIn 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.
tr252-20100508_2505.jpg
Cute warrior200 views
ks008-IMG_1372.jpg
Incredibly beautiful198 views
ks001-IMG_1654.jpg
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.193 viewsThe 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.
ks025-IMG_1587.jpg
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181 views
tr200-20100508_2334.jpg
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.173 views
ks040-IMG_1540.jpg
172 views
tr277-takatorasummit.youtube
My YouTube video of the Takatora Summit in Kora.165 views
tr248-20100508_2500.jpg
151 views
sh010-IMG_1983.jpg
Small shrine near the entrance to Shimonogo.133 views
zj123-IMG_1900.jpg
Kora town manhole with a wisteria design taken from Zaiji Hachiman Shrine, Shiga Pref.128 views
tr247-20100508_2496.jpg
Takatora Summit in Kora, Shiga126 views
tr276-20100508_2648.jpg
Dig this van with a ninja on top.122 views
ks002-IMG_1355.jpg
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. MAP119 views
ks030-IMG_1578.jpg
3-story pagoda, a National Treasure117 viewsIn 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.
ks007-IMG_1369.jpg
The path was a stunning showcase for autumn foilage.115 views
ks051-IMG_1658.jpg
Convenient shuttle bus. Visit Kongorinji temple next.114 viewsDuring 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.
tr275-20100508_2639.jpg
The festivities and summit ended at 6:30 pm.112 views
ks049-IMG_1651.jpg
Saimyoji was my favorite Koto Sanzan temple109 views
ks050-IMG_1657.jpg
Tourists come by the busloads107 views
ks028-IMG_1550.jpg
Hondo grounds99 views
ks003-IMG_1366.jpg
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96 views
ks027-IMG_1552.jpg
Inside Saimyoji temple's Hondo hall.95 views
ks034-IMG_1482.jpg
Saimyoji's 3-story pagoda, a National Treasure.95 views
zj100-20100508_2330.jpg
Zaiji is about a 20-min. walk from Amago Station. Quaint general store in Zaiji. Looks like Japan from the 1950s or '60s.92 views
ks005-IMG_1361.jpg
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89 views
ks047-IMG_1629.jpg
Horaitei garden88 views
sh012-IMG_1987.jpg
Shinmei no Taki waterfalls are these small waterfalls along the road. Kora, Shiga Prefecture.87 views
ks004-IMG_1359.jpg
Cherry blossoms which bloom in Nov. Designated as a Natural Monument and Cultural Property of Shiga. 不断桜82 views
ks006-IMG_1368.jpg
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.75 views
ks026-IMG_1601.jpg
Temple grounds73 views
ks029-IMG_1475.jpg
Hondo grounds73 views
ks022-IMG_1448.jpg
View from gate72 views
ks046-IMG_1625.jpg
Miniature Kannon. Pay money to have your name under one of them.72 views
am010-IMG_2042.jpg
Ohmi Railways Amago Station, Kora town's only train station. It is parallel to the shinkansen bullet train tracks on the left.72 views
ks010-IMG_1391.jpg
Autumn leaves and stone wall71 views
ks014-IMG_1402.jpg
71 views
ks038-IMG_1523.jpg
Closeup of pagoda69 views
ks012-IMG_1398.jpg
68 views
ks011-IMG_1395.jpg
68 views
ks020-IMG_1444.jpg
Nitenmon Gate to main temple (Hondo)68 views
ks019-IMG_1429.jpg
68 views
ks018-IMG_1628.jpg
68 views
ks015-IMG_1414.jpg
66 views
ks013-IMG_1401.jpg
66 views
ks045-IMG_1621.jpg
Miniature Kannon66 views
ks042-IMG_1545.jpg
Temple bell, donate 50 yen to ring it66 views
ks016-IMG_1405.jpg
Stairs to autumn heaven. Up to here, the path was just filled with colors. And more still awaited.65 views
ks041-IMG_1566.jpg
Temple bell65 views
ks048-IMG_1638.jpg
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.)65 views
zj143-IMG_1968.jpg
65 views
ks009-IMG_1384.jpg
63 views
ks032-IMG_1471.jpg
3-story pagoda, a National Treasure62 views
ks023-IMG_1446.jpg
61 views
ks021-IMG_1452.jpg
View from gate61 views
ks035-IMG_1478.jpg
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.61 views
ks039-IMG_1531.jpg
61 views
ks044-IMG_1624.jpg
11-faced Kannon statue61 views
ks043-IMG_1607.jpg
61 views
ks036-IMG_1491.jpg
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.60 views
zj141-IMG_1895.jpg
59 views
ks033-IMG_1600.jpg
3-story pagoda, a National Treasure58 views
tr237-20100508_2401.jpg
Shrine maiden mascot from Taga, Shiga.57 views
zj142-IMG_1964.jpg
56 views
tr239-20100508_2410.jpg
Tora-nyan, Kora's official mascot.53 views
tr274-20100508_2622.jpg
53 views
tr242-20100508_2511.jpg
Shiromochi-kun from Tsu. シロモチくん52 views
tr272-20100508_2645.jpg
Capping the day's events was the Takatora Taiko troupe from Tsu. 高虎太鼓52 views
tr273-20100508_2619.jpg
51 views
tr244-20100508_2493.jpg
Samurai procession on stage.49 views
tr204-20100508_2468.jpg
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.47 views
tr243-20100508_2516.jpg
Toramaru from Tsu, Mie.46 views
tr245-20100508_2494.jpg
They wear home-made armor.45 views
tr251-20100508_2501.jpg
Mayors vow to meet at the next Takatora Summit.43 views
tr241-20100508_2425.jpg
Hiko-nyan41 views
tr203-20100508_2451.jpg
A giant taiko drum was also on display at the shrine.39 views
tr222-20100508_2351.jpg
Statue of Takatora in a pond at Takatora Park.39 views
am015-IMG_1840.jpg
Ohmi Railways Amago Station front view. 尼子駅38 views
am020-IMG_1846.jpg
Kora Shrine torii. MAP38 views
tr238-20100508_2407.jpg
Toramaru from Tsu, Mie. 藤堂とらまる38 views
tr264-20100508_2538.jpg
At 3 pm, the keynote speaker gave a talk about Takatora.38 views
tr263-20100508_2534.jpg
Afterward, they played traditional games.38 views
tr270-20100508_2582.jpg
38 views
zj140-IMG_1927.jpg
Walking around Zaiji is quite pleasant. Rural area with traditional-style homes. The murmuring of streams is everywhere.38 views
sh029-IMG_2024.jpg
Little shrine in Shimonogo Sports Park37 views
tr266-20100508_2544.jpg
A ninja show performed by an Iga-ryu ninja trouope called Kurondo from Iga, Mie. 黒党37 views
tr267-20100508_2547.jpg
37 views
tr217-20100508_2420.jpg
36 views
tr231-20100508_2374.jpg
Each mascot was introduced in detail by its handler.36 views
zj137-20100508_2485.jpg
Sightseeing map of Kora-cho.36 views
am012-IMG_1834.jpg
The Amago Station building is called the Amago Community House. Built in Nov. 2003, it's still quite new, but looks under used.35 views
sh028-IMG_2021.jpg
Shimonogo Sports Park35 views
tr210-20100508_2343.jpg
This booth was from Iga, Mie Prefecture.35 views
tr221-20100508_2422.jpg
Banner reads "Birthtplace of Lord Todo Takatora."35 views
tr268-20100508_2557.jpg
35 views
zj128-IMG_1954.jpg
35 views
am018-IMG_1844.jpg
Kora Shrine (Kora Jinja) 甲良神社34 views
tr211-20100508_2344.jpg
Iga's booth.34 views
tr254-20100508_2507.jpg
34 views
zj101-20100508_2649.jpg
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.34 views
am011-IMG_2039.jpg
Ohmi Railways Amago Station platform. The station building (community house) can be seen ahead on the left.33 views
am013-IMG_1837.jpg
Entering Ohmi Railways Amago Station which is also a community house.33 views
am017-IMG_2035.jpg
Ohmi Railways train near Amago Station. Also see my YouTube video here.33 views
am032-IMG_1870.jpg
Kora Jinja's Gonden Hall33 views
tr232-20100508_2383.jpg
Non-chan is a horse from Imabari. Imabari Castle was built by Takatora. のんちゃん33 views
tr255-20100508_2509.jpg
They drummed on the giant taiko.33 views
zj103-20100508_2333.jpg
33 views
zj104-20100508_2652.jpg
33 views
zj139-IMG_1981.jpg
Kora Shrine33 views
am016-IMG_2036.jpg
Ohmi Railways Amago Station side view32 views
am034-IMG_1863.jpg
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32 views
sh027-IMG_2026.jpg
32 views
tr228-20100508_2368.jpg
Mayor of Tsu, Mie Prefecture. Tsu Castle was built by Takatora.32 views
tr233-20100508_2389.jpg
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32 views
zj102-20100508_2332.jpg
Azalea and stream32 views
zj138-20100508_2492.jpg
Kora Shrine Honden is another Kora Shrine. Also called Hoyoji temple. The Honden main hall was repaired by Kora Bungo-no-Kami Munehiro.32 views
am023-IMG_1853.jpg
31 views
sh011-IMG_1986.jpg
A short walk from Zaiji is the entrance to Shimonogo, another small cluster of homes in Kora town.31 views
sh019-IMG_2002.jpg
More roadside streams with flowers.31 views
sh018-IMG_2001.jpg
"Say hello before the other says hello." Conveying the importance of greeting people.31 views
tr205-20100508_2460.jpg
31 views
tr206-20100508_2473.jpg
Zaiji Hachiman Shrine also offered a rest place where tea and sweets were served.31 views
tr208-20100508_2341.jpg
The road from Hachiman Shrine to Takatora Park. Another giant taiko drum.31 views
tr207-20100508_2338.jpg
The shrine's Haiden Hall was used as an entertainment stage during the Takatora Summit in Kora.31 views
tr216-20100508_2350.jpg
More booths.31 views
tr229-20100508_2371.jpg
Mayor of Iga, Mie.31 views
tr246-20100508_2495.jpg
31 views
tr249-20100508_2497.jpg
31 views
tr256-20100508_2523.jpg
At 2 pm, the "Summit" was held on stage.31 views
tr269-20100508_2571.jpg
31 views
am021-IMG_1877.jpg
Kora Shrine30 views
am019-IMG_1845.jpg
30 views
am022-IMG_1851.jpg
Kora Shrine30 views
am033-IMG_1859.jpg
30 views
sh013-IMG_1991.jpg
Waterwheel too.30 views
sh016-IMG_1997.jpg
Togenkyo monument 桃源郷の碑30 views
sh023-IMG_2009.jpg
30 views
sh031-IMG_2015.jpg
"Keep our rivers clean"30 views
tr201-20100508_2335.jpg
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.30 views
tr212-20100508_2346.jpg
30 views
tr230-20100508_2373.jpg
Mayor's representative from Imabari, Ehime.30 views
zj120-IMG_1909.jpg
Zaiji Hachiman Shrine's Honden main hall.30 views
zj125-IMG_1940.jpg
Large stone Lord Takatora once transported to rebuild Osaka Castle. It was abandoned in Kiso River. Called the "Consolation Stone." 残念石30 views
zj122-IMG_1913.jpg
About Zaiji Hachiman Shrine in Japanese and English.30 views
am024-IMG_1856.jpg
29 views
am029-IMG_1860.jpg
Kora Shrine Honden Hall29 views
am027-IMG_1874.jpg
Kora Shrine Honden Hall29 views
am036-IMG_2031.jpg
29 views
sh015-IMG_1993.jpg
29 views
sh032-IMG_2027.jpg
View of rice fields on the way back to Amago Station.29 views
sh026-IMG_2019.jpg
Katsuragi Waterfall 桂城の滝29 views
tr202-20100508_2337.jpg
The beautiful wisteria was in full bloom. The name "Todo" includes the kanji character for "fuji" or wisteria. 藤29 views
tr209-20100508_2475.jpg
The road near Takatora Park was lined with souvenir booths and food stalls.29 views
tr214-20100508_2478.jpg
This was good, from Kora.29 views
tr250-20100508_2499.jpg
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 2000.29 views
tr257-20100508_2518.jpg
29 views
zj114-20100508_2340.jpg
29 views
zj119-IMG_1906.jpg
Zaiji Hachiman Shrine's Haiden Hall.29 views
zj134-20100508_2488.jpg
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.29 views
am026-IMG_1864.jpg
Kora Shrine28 views
am030-IMG_1867.jpg
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28 views
am035-IMG_2033.jpg
28 views
sh017-IMG_2000.jpg
Shimonogo 桂城神社28 views
tr236-20100508_2398.jpg
Hikone's Hiko-nyan also made it to the summit. Hikone is Kora's the neighboring city.28 views
zj105-20100508_2651.jpg
28 views
zj113-20100508_2450.jpg
28 views
zj121-IMG_1910.jpg
Zaiji Hachiman Shrine's Honden main hall.28 views
zj131-IMG_1959.jpg
Stone lanterns with the Todo family crest.28 views
am028-IMG_1876.jpg
27 views
sh014-IMG_1992.jpg
27 views
tr215-20100508_2347.jpg
Sightseeing pamphlets from all the Takatora-related cities who came.27 views
tr218-20100508_2419.jpg
Sculptures made of styrofoam.27 views
tr220-20100508_2424.jpg
Takatora Park was decorated with these banners.27 views
tr224-20100508_2358.jpg
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.27 views
tr227-20100508_2366.jpg
About 10 mascot characters were introduced on stage.27 views
tr240-20100508_2416.jpg
Mochi-tsuki.27 views
zj107-IMG_1917.jpg
27 views
zj116-20100508_2436.jpg
27 views
zj124-IMG_1932.jpg
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. MAP27 views
am014-IMG_1839.jpg
Inside Ohmi Railways Amago Station26 views
am031-IMG_1865.jpg
Kora Shrine's Gonden Hall is believed to date from the early Edo Period.26 views
sh033-IMG_2029.jpg
Shinkansen in the distance.26 views
tr219-20100508_2349.jpg
Day's schedule.26 views
tr225-20100508_2360.jpg
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26 views
tr234-20100508_2393.jpg
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.26 views
tr235-20100508_2375.jpg
By coincidence, I've been to all these castles related to Takatora.26 views
tr260-20100508_2524.jpg
Jogakuji temple of the Jodo Shinshu Sect held a terakoya session. A short walk from Takatora Park. 浄覚寺26 views
zj112-20100508_2435.jpg
26 views
zj118-IMG_1904.jpg
26 views
zj130-IMG_1953.jpg
26 views
zj136-IMG_1975.jpg
Kora Town Hall. MAP26 views
sh021-IMG_2007.jpg
Also see my YouTube video here.25 views
sh020-IMG_2004.jpg
Even before the spring flowers bloom, they find ways to color the streams.25 views
sh030-IMG_2025.jpg
25 views
tr213-20100508_2477.jpg
Todo Takatora sake.25 views
tr223-20100508_2354.jpg
25 views
tr226-20100508_2365.jpg
25 views
zj106-IMG_1926.jpg
25 views
zj110-20100508_2445.jpg
25 views
zj115-20100508_2437.jpg
25 views
zj117-20100508_2429.jpg
25 views
zj129-20100508_2517.jpg
Local sightseeing map in stone.25 views
zj126-IMG_1945.jpg
Statue of Lord Todo Takatora who became lord of Tsu Castle in Mie.25 views
zj135-20100508_2489.jpg
About Kora Bungo-no-Kami Munehiro.25 views
sh024-IMG_2012.jpg
Nenshoji temple 念称寺24 views
sh022-IMG_2008.jpg
24 views
tr258-20100508_2522.jpg
24 views
tr261-20100508_2527.jpg
Terakoya session at Jogakuji temple. There was a storyteller, kami-shibai, and traditional games for kids.24 views
am025-IMG_1858.jpg
Kora Shrine Honden Hall23 views
tr265-20100508_2541.jpg
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23 views
sh025-IMG_2013.jpg
Nenshoji temple is noted for its standing wooden Buddha statue designated as a Cultural Property of Kora town.22 views
tr259-20100508_2521.jpg
22 views
tr262-20100508_2528.jpg
Before schools were established in Japan, the temples served as educational institutions for the children. 浄覚寺 寺子屋の再現22 views
tr253-20100508_2503.jpg
21 views
224 files on 1 page(s)