japanese garden

 

The garden of Hasedera Temple

According to the legend,in 721 AD AD the pious monk Tokudo Shonin found a large camphor tree in the mountain forests in the vicinity of Nara. The trunk was so large that it would be enough for two statues of the goddess of mercy Kannon. The first one he made from the from the lower part of the tree and then he requested to put it in the Hasedera temple near Nara. The second one was carved from the upper part of the trunk and then it was thrown into the sea, not far from the present-day Osaka. The action was accompanied by a prayer for the salvation of the people.

Fifteen years later, the statue was washed ashore not far from Kamakura, and, as they say, it was sending out rays of light. The statue of the goddess was brought to Kamakura a temple was constructed to honor it.

Hasedera Temple belongs to the Jodo sect, that is most famous for its statue of the goddess of mercy and of love Kannon. She has eleven heads, each head has its own expression. The height of the gilded statue is 9.18 meters, it is one of the largest wooden sculpture in Japan.

Hasedera is built along the slope of a wooded hill. At its foundation there is a beautiful garden with ponds. At the entrance to the garden of Hasedera temple you can see a tsukubai complex where you can wash your hands. The compositional center of the garden is a large pond with shallow waters, streams and a natural waterfall. Large stone bridge divides the pond into two parts. On the one of the banks you can see a water device of impressive size. It consisting of three bamboo chutes poured the water on the large black stone and then this water disappears in the pond. There are several approaches to water made as wooden decking or as stone steps. Several pallets with blooming irises floating in the water like little islands. Many bright carps koi are scurrying between them.

In the temple there is another small garden made in the form of a dry stream flowing between artificial hills covered with moss. Several large rocks and a few cedars formed in daysugi style placed on the hills. To enter this garden you have to pass through a small bamboo gate and then follow the path made of stepping stones.

The temple's main buildings are built further up the slope, reached via stairs. Along the way stands the Jizo-do Hall with hundreds of small statues of the Jizo Bodhisattva who helps the souls of dead children to reach the paradise.

Next to the Kannon-do Hall stands the Amida-do Hall, which exhibits an almost three meter tall golden statue of Amida Buddha. Nearby is also an observation deck with views over the coastal city of Kamakura and a small restaurant where Japanese sweets.

Next to the temple garden at the base of the slope stands the Benten-do, a small hall that contains a figure of Benten (also known as Benzaiten), a goddess of feminine beauty and wealth. Sculptures of Benten and other minor gods can be found in a small cave (Benten-kutsu) next to the Benten-do.

The garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera Temple

The garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera Temple

The garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera Temple

The garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera Temple

The garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera Temple

The garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera Temple

The garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera Temple

The garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera Temple

The garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera Temple

The garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera Temple

The garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera Temple

The garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera Temple

The garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera TempleThe garden of Hasedera Temple

 

Photo - Alexandra Shurupova

Text - Irina Andrianova

 

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