Hasedera temple [長谷寺]
Hasedera is a Buddhist temple of Shingon school which is one of major Japanese Buddhism.
It is located about 25 km south-southeast of Nara city, and is in the mountain to the east of Nara Basin.
It is said that this temple was founded around the early 8th century.
Since the 10th century, it had developed as an important temple.
The temple is on the slope of mountain.
There is a big Niomon gate (仁王門) at the entrance.
It was rebuilt in 1894.
After passing through Niomon, we walk up Noborirou (登廊) which is a sloping corridor with 399 steps.
It was built in 1039, but the middle and lower parts were rebuilt in 1894.
At the top of Noborirou, there is the main temple, Hondou (本堂).
It is designated as a national treasure, and has a terrace like Kiyomizu temple in Kyoto.
Hondou had been destroyed by fire seven times from the first construction to the late 16th century.
Current Hondou was rebuilt in 1650.
"Jûichimen-Kannon" (Goddess of Kannon with 11 faces) is enshrined in Hondou as the principal Buddhist image.
A big sacred tree washed up on the banks of the Hatsuse River near current Hasedera in 720, then the first Kannon statue was created using the tree.
That was a legend, but current statue was recreated in 1538.
The height is 10.2 meters.
There are some other buildings including Five-story Pagoda built in 1954 in the precinct in the mountain.
Most of them are designated as important cultural properties.
Hasedera has been known as Temple of flower.
Around this temple, there are many peonies, and the flowers are in full bloom from late April to early May.
Not only peony but also cherry blossom, hydrangea and several other flowers bloom seasonally.
How to get here
By Osaka Line of Kintetsu Railway, get off at Hasedera station.
About 53 minutes from Osaka-Uehonmachi, about 11 minutes from Yamato-Yagi (Transfer station from Nara, Kyoto).
Then, about 15 minutes walk from there.