Words-and-Pictures: The Garan on Mount Koya
(as seen on October
12th, 2001, on the Yamato stage of the
located at on Mt Koya, home of Japan's Shingon Buddhism. Located
in Honshu's Wakayama Prefecture, Koyasan is the proper start and end
point for the 88 Temple Pilgrimage on the Island of Shikoku
You can read more about my visit to the Garan area in my Logbook, or go to the Shikoku
homepage to read about the entire journey. You may also choose to
go all the way to the beginning of my
Aki Meguri and start reading there.
|I won't say much about the uses of these buildings--mostly names and
dates. They are all virtually within eyeshot of one another, so
you can imagine the overall effect.
||The Toto or Eastern
Stupa was built in 1127, burned in 1843, and rebuilt in 1983.
Compare its exterior to the Saito below.
|The Aizendo is dedicated to
the King of Passion. Originally built in 1334 as a result
of a vow by Emperor Godaigo, it was rebuilt in 1816.
Just past it is a small meditation hall (barely visible here)
where the priest-poet Saigyo meditated over a 30-year period.
Beyond that is the Toto seen above.
||The Kondo is the main hall of the
|The Daito or Great Stupa is really great--those
are real people in the foreground! The sign says it was
"initiated by the magnificent idea of Kobo Daishi, but it
was completed long afterward." Meaning I don't know
how old it is, but I think it's pretty new. The Dainichi
Nyorai inside--in front of which I said today's prayers--is 48
||At the edge of the precincts stands
this beautiful Shinto shrine dedicated to the gods who inhabited
this mountain before Buddhism arrived.
|This small, very new sutra repository
fits in well with the other buildings in the Garan, despite its
|The Saito or Western Stupa is a match for the
Eastern one seen above. However, it was built in 887 and
rebuilt in 1834; perhaps the much newer Toto will look this
ancient in a hundred years or so!