A SPECIAL FEATURE OF THIS COMMUNITY IS THE EXOTIC ROW OF TENEMENT HOMES..WHICH IS UNIQUE TO THIS AREA ..
IT IS SAID THAT THE FARMING HOMES TOOK ON THIS SHAPE DURING THE END OF THE MEIJI ERA (1868-1912)..
DURING THE NARA (710-784) AND HEIAN (794-1185) PERIODS, THE TOKAIDO HIGHWAY (EAST SEA) PASSED THROUGH THIS AREA....NOW CALLED THE YAKITSUBE PATH...
THE HANAZAWA COMMUNITY IS A FARMING COMMUNITY , GROWING SATSUMA ORANGES AND TEA GROWN ON MT.TAKAKUSA IS THE SYMBOL OF YAIZU CITY..
I WILL SAY THE BEST TIME TO WALK THIS LITTLE COMMUNITY IS IN SPRING WITH THE SAKURAS IN FULL BLOOM AND THE MAGNOLIAS....ALSO IN THE FALL , WITH THE MAPLES LEAVES.....
At Hokkenji TEMPLE....you will find a little table just outside the main door....this one was a "selfserve". selling talismans to bring good luck or keep evil away ..
. Lucky charms and protective amulets are called o-mamori. Most shrines and Temple also sell o-inori,prayers to the kami (god)written on pieces of paper that magically help students pass examinations or sick people recover from an illness.
Prices ranging from 200yen to 500yen....The booklet for the shrine and a calendar was free...but other item had sell price on them..Just pick the one you want and drop your money in the little wooden box....
This grouping of 6 jizo are found commonly in Japan, Jizo Bosatsu vowed to protect all beings in the 6 realms ...they are quite common to see sometimes placed at busy intersections or at graveyard..like in this case....these I found were in Hanazawa village ... Jizo often carries a staff with six rings..
Among Buddhists, all living beings are born into one of the 6 states of existence .We are doomed to death and rebirth in a recurring cycle over countless ages -- unless they can break free from desire and attain enlightenment.
After death, all beings are reborn into a lower or a higher realm depending on their actions while still alive.
Within the 6 realms or states, the lowest 3 are called the 3 evil paths. They are the states of
(1) people in hell, the lowest and worst realm, wracked by torture and characterized by aggression.
(2) hungry ghosts, characterized by great craving and eternal starvation...
(3) animals, characterized by stupidity and servitude.
Above these 3 realms are the states of
(4) Asuras,The realm of anger, jealousy, and constant war; the Asura , semi-blessed beings; they are powerful, fierce and quarrelsome; like humans, they are partly good and partly evil.
(5) Humans, beings who are both good and evil; enlightenment is within their grasp, yet most are blinded and consumed by their desires.
(6) Devas,The realm of heavenly beings filled with pleasure; the deva hold godlike powers; most live in delightful happiness and splendor; they live for countless ages, but even the Deva belong to the world of suffering for their powers blind them to the world of suffering and fill them with pride -- and thus even the Deva grow old and die; some say that because their pleasure is greatest, so too is their misery.
Jizo is one who achieves enlightenment but postpones Buddhahood until all can be saved. He promised to remain among us doing good works, to help all those spinning endlessly in the six realms..:)..
While walking up the path at Hanazawa town you will see many stone statues of Batou Kannon (Kannon with Horse's Head) they are usually set up along dangerous paths and byways to protect travelers and their horses from injury. Batoo Kannon has been known in Japan since 7th century.
There are a few walking path long the Temple....
A visit to any graveyard in Japan is full of mystery.Specially the Tomb Stones that are very different to the western world
This gravestone found at a Temple in hanazawa..has a shape call
Gorintou , which means five-ring pagoda or five-tier tomb..Whatever you may call it is made of five pieces of stone and serves as a grave marker..They are considered indigenous to Japan and not found in other countries.
Each piece in the five-story pagoda corresponds to one of five elements. The bottom story is square and corresponds to the earth ring. Next is the spherical, water ring , then he triangular ring of fire ....Above this is a reclining half-moon shape , representing the wind, and topmost is the gem-shaped ring of space
Each story of the pagoda is usually inscribed with the Sanskrit character for the element represented, as you can see in the picture...
After the Heian period, the Gorintou was often used as a funerary monument. Most Gorintou are two to three meters high...
While walking the path at Hanazawa village you will see many of these sign....translated into different languages...english, portuguese, korean, chinesse....
The sign reading.."becasue slope failurres are likely to occur, please take great caution in the event of a heavy rain".......
One of the objectives of visiting Hanazawa is to see what remains of Hanazawa Castle ruins, a mountain fort ruled by Imagawa Clan in mid 16th century. It is just for experienced fort ruins hunters. The only thing that shows there was a castle is a wooden monument poll that was place at the entrance of the castle ruins. But the trail to the core part of the ruins has been lost. The only thing you can do is to go up the south part of hill and enjoy the view.