Gateway Into Another World ~ Mysterious Japan

Close off the mind, and you open the infinite.
—Zen saying


It sure seems that way, anyways. I don’t mean in any kind of spiritual sense, as the above proverb may lead you to believe, but in a very literal one. Approaching the gate, you are surrounded by nothing but white walls. The gate itself, while nice, is kind of dark and drab. It’s a very monotone environment. But then, you get closer and closer and closer; you look inside the gate and see all this color and light of the temple garden. You can’t help but feel a little like you are stepping into another world. Kind of like Dorothy stepping into Oz. It’s kind of neat. I’m sure they designed it to provoke this exact effect.

The Temple

The name of this temple is zui’nenji (随念寺). It’s located in downtown Okazaki. It was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1563, the man who would go on to conquer all of Japan and be made Shogun.

The temple contains the tombstone of Ieyasu's great aunt, Hisako. Hisako raised Ieyasu after he was separated from his mother. The temple overlooks the Tokaido Road, an ancient highway that connected Edo (home of the Shogun---present day Tokyo) and Kyoto (home of the Emperor).

By the way, see those stickers in the doorway of the gate in the first photo? Here's a closer look:


They are called senjafuda (千社札); travelers would stick them on temples they visited. You can still buy senjafuda today, but most temples have banned the practice of sticking them to their buildings. The stickers from past travelers often remain, however.

Some modern senjafuda:

Hi thereDavid LaSpina is an American photographer and translator lost in Japan, trying to capture the beauty of this country one photo at a time and searching for the perfect haiku.

If this blog post has entertained or helped you, please follow/upvote/reblog. If you want to further support my writing, donations are welcome.

BTC: 1Gvrie5FDBNBb6YpGBiaTvA5AyvsP814BN
ETH: 0x2Ce5c2b5F3f1a888b50A7bA9002E4F742784dF9c
BCH: qrzdazep5xfxax0ydppun89cxfts2vup9q4wnfn025
Dash: XoGzWrhdgbLKBG5kn4GjWfaJDJ6AWkDiqU


Thank you for sharing this vision. I’m trying to create a Japanese style in my landscaping. I’m at 5000 feet elevation in Hawaii and have a similar climate to much of Japan. There’s also a very strong Japanese culture here so I have many gardens and temples for ideas, but I always love seeing new ones.