Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mount Osore

Mount Osore is considered to be one of the three holiest places is Japan and is by far the most moving place I have seen.  The name literally means "Fear Mountain" and is known as the entrance to the afterlife.  The area was found by a Buddhist monk after he had a dream about it.  Many Japanese people come here hoping to communicate with their lost loved ones, especially children they have lost.

With a barren, rocky landscape surrounded by beautiful, lush forest and mountains, the surroundings were amazing yet strangely discomforting..  Spending time walking through all the shrines with stones piled up at their base as offerings to Jizo (a Bodhisattva who protects the souls from evil demons), seeing what people have left behind (car keys, bracelets, shoes) and the absolute silence that surrounds you, is definitely a sobering experience.

Entrance gate

Bodaiji's Temple

Inside the temple

shrine with pinwheels for children


sulfur pool

The edge of Lake Usori

Prayer Huts

A pile of offerings at the base of a shrine

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