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Hase-Dera Temple: Flowers

The temple with a view and lots of flowers.
( Kannon-do Hall)
My morning started off good with a nice cruise down to Hayama Beach for breakfast at Denny's.   Instead of my usual eggs and bacon I ordered a traditional Japanese style breakfast which was seaweed, a small portion of salmon, miso soup, and rice.  I promised my students I would refrain from eating red meat for two weeks.  They have been (criti)vising me on how to lose the paunch.  I am trying, but there's just too much good food and sake to eat and drink here.   The Denny's in this photo is Hayama Beach which has excellent views of  the sea and Enoshima Island.
From my table view.
This is a Denny's...? This shot is from the front door of this huge Denny's.
Hayama Beach.  Light house and Torii
Enoshima Island
After breakfast and three more cups of black I jumped on my baby and rode down the coastal route.  The sun and cool ocean breeze was really nice against my face and body today.  On the way to Hase-dera I was anticipating an excellent afternoon watching hydrangeas and temples.  Once arriving there I was pleased to discover that the tour buses hadn't arrived yet.  I got there early and had plenty of time to enjoy the sites and sounds.  
The Sammon Main Gate
This is a great temple.  It's been a little over a year since I started including temples in my blog.  This is because I mostly fancy shrines which represent the Shinto faith, the indigenous religion of Japan, but not in the religious sense that Westerners and other Asians view religion.   Shrines and temples are not the same.  Like I said, shrines in Japan represent the Shinto faith, and temples represent Buddhism, both of which have successfully complemented each other over the centuries.    The origins of this temple is based off of legend.  A monk named Tokudo Shonin discovered a large camphor tree in the mountin forest near the villge of Hase.  He then built a statue of an eleven-headed goddess which marked beginning of this temple.
In today's blog post I will be introducing a place that is regarded as one of the most well known and venerated temples in Japan.   A temple not only noted for its beauty but for its Kannons.  It's called, as the title says Hase-dera.
If you can appreciate the beauty of statues, tiny little gardens, motes, and Kannons then Hase-dera is one of the best places you can visit.
Although Kannon is usually described in English as " the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy," strictly speaking it is neither masculine nor feminine.   Kannon is Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva--a Bodhisattva is a future Buddha, destined for enlightenment, who has vowed to save all sentient beings--and represents compassion, mercy, and love.
When visitors come to Hase-dera temple one of the first things they note is the observation platform.  On the far side of the upper level is a platform overlooking Yuigahama/Zaimokuza Beaches and Sagami Bay with Zushi Marina and the Miura Peninsula in the distance.   This is a great spot for pics and even picnics. 

Next up is a place called Jizo-do Hall and it's halfway up the first set of stairs.  Inside is a statue of Fukuju Jizo, or happy Jizo is enshrined.
Surrounding the hall are thousands of little jizo stone statues standing in long rows, some wearing bibs or knitted caps and festooned with cute charms.   The statues are there to comfort the souls of unborn children.
This is Jizo-Bosatsu and he represents the blessings of the earth.  The little miniature  statues represent the unborn children from parents who have either miscarried or who were lost by some unexplained event.
I recall seeing little statues like this quite often at temples.  I remember the compassion that Buddhism bestows upon the unborn and the dead.   Smelling frankincense as it burns, a hallowed alter, sacred grounds, the low murmur of a holy voice uttering ancient scriptures for blessings and protection and for the enlightenment of all mankind. 
At Hase-dera temple you can get a real appreciation for the flora here.  In the summer you can see Azalea, Hydrangea, Rose of Sharon, Wisteria, St. Johnswort, Crape Myrtle, and Trumpet Creeper.
Walking up this concrete flight of stairs I entered into a different world.
climbing obasaan
On the way up these stairs I snapped a picture of the top of the Kyozo Sutra Archive.  Here is housed rotating book racks called rinzo, which are where the important scriptures of the Buddha are kept..
temple top
Walking up here I was impressed at all the lush greenery.  Just my kind of place. 
Picture taken from the top of the hill over looking the main hall.
temple top1
General information:

Hours 8am to 4:30.  Open everyday of the year.
Admission Fees: 300 yen per adult/kids 100 yen
Directions: Take the Enoden Line and get off at Hase Station. 

Thanks for reading.

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