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August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

Important Cultural Property: part 1


“Shoro Belfry and Kuro Bell  and Drum Tower were built in Buddhist style at Nikko Toshogu.  I really love the balance with cedar and the dignity of this tower.

One note that a lot of people don’t blog about on this tower and Buddhism in  general is that Buddhism has been, for centuries, one of the most culturally and racially inclusive religions in the world.   Some of the bell drum towers surrounding Toshogu were donated from countries as far as Denmark, and then built according to Buddhist techniques.

Toshougu is arguably the only “shrine that is a temple, and a temple that is a shrine” all in one. The melding of these two archaic religions go back centuries and is what has shaped Japanese people and its culture over the ages.  

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