Monday, September 20, 2010
Kezo-Ji was an unexpected delight. It is a true mountaintop temple located just below a 450 meter high peak in the mountains between Matsue and Mihonoseki.
Getting there is by a very steep and very windy road. The only things on the road are a small abandoned love hotel and a small tea room. Its possible to drive right to the temple, but the best way is to stop and walk up a long flight of steps that passes through the Niomon (guardian gate)
The temple was founded in the 9th Century, but the Nio were donated by the Lord of Matsue when he built Matsue Castle 400 years ago.
The temple lies to the NE of Matsue and was chosen to offer protection from this direction, in the same way that Enryaku-Ji protects Kyoto.
A little further along the mountain trail and one comes to one of the largest Fudo Myo-o statues in Japan.
About 8 meters high, the statue was carved out of a natural rock outcropping about 150 years ago.