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Image: PIXTA/ オフィスK

Hasedera or the 'Temple of Flowers' resides high on mountainside in Nara Prefecture

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By Arpita Mitra

Hasedera Temple in Nara Prefecture is the main temple of the Buzan sect of Shingon Buddhism, giving rise to 3000 member temples in Japan. This temple is beautiful throughout the year because of an abundance of seasonal blooms, earning the name “Temple of Flowers.” Additionally, there is also a magnificent five-storied pagoda on the temple grounds.

Tales From History

Climb up the 399 steps. Image: PIXTA/ Hiroko

Hasedera Temple was built in 686 and was expanded in 727 by order of Emperor Shoumu. The temple can be reached by climbing a series of 399 stairs, believed to be holy by the pilgrims.

One of the temple highlights is a statue of the deity Kannon or the Goddess of Mercy. It was carved out of a camphor tree that was large enough to make two statues, one remains in Nara and the other in Hasedera Temple in Kamakura. Legend states that out of the two statues, one would remain in Nara while the other would be released into the ocean to appear where people need help. After fifteen years, the other Kannon statue washed ashore in Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Traditions and Culture

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It's one of my favourites. Best to go in July or August when there are fewer people because it is too hot for them to climb up the stairs, though it is also nice in autumn.

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