This year, Respect for the Aged Day and the autumnal equinox fell in the same week in September, one day apart, so the government declared a “bridge” holiday between them, making a five day weekend. I took advantage of the time off to run to Tokyo for two days for the KuroBasu seiyuu event (with Granrodeo), sleep for one whole day and then putter around for the last two.
Since it’s cooling down, that means field trips. And my first field trip of fall … well, last field trip of summer, actually, was to a lovely temple complex just 20 minutes train ride from Hakata: Nanzoin Temple, which I had learned about just a few weeks before. It’s home to a 41 meter reclining bronze Buddha statue.
The trip was fast and easy and it always surprises me how quickly suburbia suddenly becomes small town. Kido Nanzoin-mae Station is one of of those little sleepy country stations that has one exit, and no real gate, just an IC card reader and an elderly gentleman manning the booth. But it was certainly bustling, as most of us from the short three-car train were apparently bound to see the Buddha.
There weren’t any signs for the temple, but there didn’t really need to be. I just followed the crowd, crossed the one street there and headed up the hill into the complex. And promptly fell head over heels. Most of the complex is built into the hillside, and there are statues everywhere many of them tiny, with exquisitely carved faces.There’s a giant lucky kitty statue, where I picked up a fortune (which claimed there’s a marriage proposal in my future) that came with a tiny cat.
There’s streams and pools throughout the temple grounds, and a lovely waterfall I very much wanted to stand under (there were steps going down to the pool of water under the main waterfall, but I decided not to give it a try). And the trees and bamboo were incredibly tall, towering over everything.
A few spots on the grounds looked out over the valley holding the train tracks. No sign of the big city so near by. Just peaceful, quiet nature … and a lot of people. Interestingly, and perhaps blessedly, I think I was the only foreign tourist there.
I wandered the grounds for a couple of hours, including visiting the Buddha, who was chilling and enjoying a duo on acoustic guitar and fiddle (which meant I couldn’t get directly in front for a picture). Rubbed the belly of one happy Buddha for luck, and left 10 yen on the reclining Buddha’s foot for the same (doesn’t seem to have worked, alas). Could have stared for hours at all the tiny statues. I’m used to Jizo, but these guys were all personable old men, some serious, some silly, some probably in their cups. Big personalities for such small carvings.
I took several hundred pictures in those couple of hours, which you can see here: