Created 28-Sep-12
15 photos

The beautiful, Jingoji, Buddhist Temple in Takao district dates from the ninth century. Once an isolated mountain retreat, it is one of Japan's 3 oldest playgrounds for high officials. The others are Togano-o, Kozanji Buddhist Temple, and Makino-o, Saimyoji Temple. Literally translated, Takao means "high end" and refers to the precinct's cliff-like location. Jingoji means, "God protection". The Jingoji's 200,000 square meters of sculpted pine, cherry and maple trees is a four season contemplation garden. In spring, cherry blossoms decorate the whole mountain; in summer, the air is filled with the buzzing of cicadas and the music of fronts singing. In autumn, only the vermilion Kondo (Main Hall) competes with the brilliant colours of the Japanese maple trees. Winter snows enhances the retreat's feeling of solitude so treasured by the Shingon sect of Buddhists. The Daishido (Founder's Hall) in mellow with the seven centuries of weathering. The name Daishido contains the word taishi, or mentor, in this case specifically referring to the great teacher, Kobo Daishi. The Taho Tower stands out in the greeneries. At the Jizoin, at the far western end of the complex, you can throw "kawarake" (earthen cup) over the Kiyotaki River ravine and perhaps make a wish come true.

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