According to legend, an epidemic spread across Japan in the late 700s. To contain it, shrines to the plague gods were erected in 10 locations across Kansai. Taibata Yakuyoke Hachiman Shrine is the oldest surviving of these and located in Suma, Kobe.
The Shingon-shu sect built a temple complex around the shrine a century later. Suma-dera is home to some beautiful art, including a dramatic statue of Buddha and [keep reading...]
Of all the temples I've visited in Japan this is my favourite. It isn't the largest or the most significant by whatever index is in use, but it is a place I feel completely at peace.
Located near the summit of Mayasan, the tallest peak in the eastern Rokko mountains, it seems to have been largely forgotten by the tourists and hikers. Few people [keep reading...]
Sometimes I need a break. My eyes grow tired of staring at a monitor, or inspiration leaves me. The cure is a change of scenery. Not my daily visit to the supermarket for groceries, as much as I enjoy the walk. Somewhere I can wander aimlessly with a camera for an hour.
I'm spoilt for choice. In front of the house is a valley with paddy fields and small holdings that seem to change almost daily. Behind is a mountain trail leading up to some quite stunning views across Kobe. A few kilometres away are the towns of Myodani [keep reading...]
Dating back over 1,300 years, this majestic temple complex hugs the mountains north of Himeji, Japan. [keep reading...]