Hi, and welcome back! Today, it’s time to see what temples you should be visit in Japan: more specifically, my most beloved temples in Japan – so far!
Disclaimer: We are talking exclusively about buddhist institutions, I use the word temple as the translation for tera which identifies the buddhist building.
Disclaimer2: I know, there are PLENTY of more that I didn’t include in the video, I will update the list in the future!
My top #5 temples to visit in Japan
#1. Sanjusangendo – Kyoto
I will not keep talking about this place, as I have already mentioned it several times…
This place is consacrated to Kannon Bosatsu – or Bodhisattva: this term identifies someone who reached the enlightenment but (instead of entering Nirvana and becoming a Buddha) decides to remain in this world to save every other living being. So, you can understand this is a very beloved deity in the buddhist pantheon, and in Japan, and I think there is no place like the Sanjusangendo to experience the powerful emotional connection with this lovely bodhisattva.
#2. Hasedera – Kamakura
This is again consacrated to Kannon. It’s quite an impressive building with different halls, and among them you will find a quiet area dedicated to Jizo, another bodhisattva quite dear to the Japanese because he is the protector – and saviour – of travelers and children. In Hasedera, Jizo statues are particularly connected with the so-called Mizuko-kuyo, the rituals for the mizuko, the souls of children and aborted fetuses. Therefore, this is quite a touching place, that will really strike you heart.
#3. Kiyomizudera – Kyoto
This too is one of my favorites, and I am sure I talked about it several times already. Among the many reasons to love this place, I think the location and the position of this temple makes the difference: on the top of the hill, partly in the wood, with a stunning view over Kyoto. This is reason enough to add it to your itinerary in the city.
#4. Bodaiji at the Osorezan – Aomori-ken
We move North, because here you can find a unique place – I think – in the whole country. Osorezan is the mountain of hell, as I wrote before, and the temple at its feet is somehow part of the whole landscape. Here you can attend different celebration in Summer and Fall, and from here you can discover the different hells the the mountain embodies.
#5. Todaiji – Nara
Sometimes, tourists forget about Nara and its importance in the Japanese History (it was its first steady capital!); the Todai-ji is surely a very good reason to visit the city for a couple of hours; this is the biggest wooden buddhist structure in the world, and today it’s even smaller than the original building. Even now it is impressive, and the surprise will continue as soon as you enter inside, with the three immense Buddha statues looking down at you, with peace and understanding. I strongly suggest you don’t miss it!
BONUS: DISCOVER THE KINKAKU-JI IN KYOTO
History, literature, religions… do I really have to explain why? More important, the unbelievable effect of the golden surface on your eyes and heart.