Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dodgy and Travel (This week's Photo Hunt themes)

And so my chronicling of sights seen on my recent Japan travels continue... with this entry for Sandi's and Gattina's Photo Hunts offering up images taken on day six of my trip -- specifically in a part of the Kenchoji temple that few people seem to go all the way to.

The first Zen temple erected in Kamakura and considered to be the number ranked of the town's five great Zen temples, Kenchoji was founded in 1253 by Lanxi Daolong (AKA Rankei Doryu), a Chinese Zen master who moved to Japan in 1246.  Although (still) primarily a Zen Buddhist establishment, Kenchoji has some Shinto sections -- along with being an architectural mix of Chinese (specifically Song Dynasty) and Japanese styles.

Some might find this mixed state of affairs to be culturally and aesthetically dodgy but I think it adds to Kenchoji's charm.  Still, this is not to say that I wasn't startled by some of the physical manifestations of this mix -- and particularly when I literally rounded a corner after passing through the torii and going further and deeper into Kenchoji's grounds, and up a hill to the Hansobo shrine erected for the protection of Kenchoji itself.

For suddenly, I was confronted by the startling sight of some un-Zen-like dodgy-looking characters that I later found out -- thanks to the power of the internet! -- are tengu, mountain and forest goblins with both Shinto and Buddhist attributes that are slayers of vanity!! 

After recovering from the shock of encountering the tengu, I continued my trek up the hill -- and was rewarded not only by being able to enter the Hansobo shrine proper but, also, by getting to avail myself of free and refreshingly cold water from a drinking fountain located near the shrine's main building and, further still up the hill, getting grand views of Kenchoji's main complex and wide swathes of Kamakura.  

So if nothing else, the moral of this travel story is: be willing to make the effort to go up a hill (even on a super hot day) and stray off the beaten path -- and you just might get rewarded with unusual and memorable sights, and a tale involving encounters with seemingly dodgy creatures that just might be worth sharing with others! ;b


magiceye said...

:) Indeed! Lovely takes for the themes!

eastcoastlife said...

haha.... are you talking about me? I usually am tooo lazy to climb uphill or too scared to go deeper into some unknown territory. I guess I missed out on quite a lot of stuff.

Anonymous said...

I always believe that you find the most interesting things if you go off the beaten path, dodgy as it may be.

Trekcapri said...

Hi YTSL, those do look like some dodgy characters. :) A very good moral travel story. I agree that some things and experiences can be well worth the effort. Wonderful photos and a great take on the two themes for this week.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Furries said...

Very interesting sculptures. I think I'd rather know what they were before encountering them!

Gattina said...

Interesting post the sculptures look a bit scary !

YTSL said...

Hi magiceye --

:) Thanks!

Hi EastCoastLife --

Teeheehee, I wasn't targeting anyone in particular -- but if the description fits... ;b

Hi ewok1993 --

Of course I prefer not dodgy... but I also prefer to go to places that aren't too crowded! ;b

Hi Trekcapri --

Thanks as ever for reading, looking and commenting. :)

Hi "The Indulged Furries" --

Heheh... I know what you mean. If we were Japanese, we would know they were tengu. Ah well, now I know -- and so do you! :)

Hi Gattina --

They do look on the scary side. And it was a bit eerie to encounter them because no one else was around at the time! :O

sarah bailey knight said...

Hi ytls,

Good photos for this week's theme. I visited Kenchoji on a cold damp day last January and only stayed briefly as much was closed off by gates. After seeing your photos and what I missed I may visit the temple again in warmer weather.

Anonymous said...

I love how travel often exposes you to things that are unexpected and in fact, jarring at times. It's all a happy part of the adventure.

Great shots for the dodgy theme.

Have a super weekend.

Susan Demeter said...

They are fascinating characters! I always try to get off the beaten path, like you said who knows what you might find :)

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

The 'slayers of vanity' might look a bit dodgy... but they have their work cut out for them these days!
Thanks for taking us along~
Happy Hunting y'all!

Carver said...

Great post for the themes. Sounds like an eclectic mix. I enjoyed the photography and narrative. You always do such a good job with the themes.

YTSL said...

Hi sbk --

Sounds like Kenchoji's due a second visit from you. But be warned... the steps up to and past the Hansobo shrine are many and on the steep side (but, at the same time, not dangerous or anything like that)! ;b

Hi JDeQ --

Yes, travel can remind us that parts of this world really are foreign and that this world of ours really is generally pretty diverse! :)

Hi Sue --

I don't know about "always" but if it looks safe enough, why not? ;b

Hi Sandi --

Right you are... about their having their job cut out for them! ;b

Hi Carver --

You're another Photo Hunter whose visits and comments I really appreciate. Thanks for visiting, looking, reading and commenting with thoughtfulness and care. :)