Located at the foot of Mt. Hase, Hase-dera Temple is not only famous because it is the eighth temple of the Saigoku Pilgrimage, but also because its temple grounds are especially beautiful; ranging from beautiful flowers like sakura to peonies in the spring, to breathtaking leaves in the fall.
The History of Hase-dera Temple
Hase-dera dates back to the 686, when the monk Domyo, built a little temple and three-story pagoda in the hopes of curing the illness of Emperor Tenmu. Later in 727, Tokudo, the founder of the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, carved a statue of Juuichimen Kannon Bosatsu [十一面観世音菩薩]. He enshrined the statue in a small temple as the main deity and expanded the temple, ergo creating Hase-dera Temple.
Hase-dera has had a rough time throughout the centuries. It fell into disrepair around the 16th century i.e. the Sengoku Period. In order to revive the temple, Toyotomi Hidenaga, the brother of Hideyoshi, ordered the monks of Negoro-ji to move to Hase-dera after their war against Hideyoshi. For this reason, Hase-dera and Negoro-ji have a strong relationship and today share the same beliefs.
After walking fifteen minutes or so from the Hase-dera Station, you will be Hase-dera. When we went there, peonies were full bloom and many people flocked to the temple to photograph the flowers.
After the Gate, you will see a long staircase, called Toro. The toro leads to the main temple grounds and has a total of 399 steps.This staircase is very rare and is iconic of Hase-dera.
Hondo of Hasedera
After climbing up long stairs, you will see Hondo. The hondo of Hase-dera is so big!
The original hondo was built by Toytomi Hidenaga in 1588 but Tokugawa Ieyasu demolished it for unknown reasons. Overall, Hase-dera has burnt down as many as seven times. Tokugawa Iemitsu, the 3rd Tokugawa shogun, built the current hondo in 1650.
The main Buddha is an astonishing 10 meter tall statue of Juuichimen Kannon Bosatsu. The original, unfortunately, burnt down long ago. The current statue is still quite old, however, and dates back to the Muromachi Period.
When you look at the main Buddha statue, you will immediately notice it is very unique. It has a bottle in his left hand like other Kannon statues but it has a cane in his right hand, like Jizo Bosatsu. This is because this Kannon can appear in the human world and help people, like Jizo does for lost children.
After you see the main statue in the hondo, enjoy walk around the temple grounds. Especially in spring, there are many kinds of flowers throughout the temple.
Information: Hase-dera Temple
|731-1 Hase, Sakurai, Nara Prefecture|
|Take the Kintetsu Nara Line from Namba Station and get off at Hase-dera. It roughly takes an hour or so from Namba. From Hase-dera Station, you will have to walk about fifteen minutes. The road to the temple is pretty straight forward and there are signs everywhere.|
|Apr-Sep: 8:30-17:00 Oct, Nov, Mar: 9:00-17:00 Dec-Feb: 9:00-16:30|
|Adults: 500 yen Children: 250 yen|