Japan’s Holy Places

The ancient belief in a myriad of native deities resident in the mountains, seas, and trees fostered the earliest sacred sites in Japan. These were added to over the centuries by significant locations in the imported faith of Buddhism. This feature explores Japan’s holy places.

A Clean Bill of Health for Kamakura’s Great BuddhaWaku Miller

Evoking Japanese aspirations of national renewal on the fifth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake is the newly refreshed visage of Kamakura’s Daibutsu, or Great Buddha. The iconic sculpture recently underwent nearly two months of diagnostic inspections, minor repairs, and inside-and-out cleaning at the hands of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. It emerged on March 11 with a clean bill of health and with a redoubled radiance.

Foreign Tourists Flock to the Gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine

The vermilion torii gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine are a major draw for foreign visitors to Japan, who ranked it the country’s top tourist spot in 2014 according to the travel site TripAdvisor.

The Spiritual Pull of Shikoku’s “Henro” Pilgrimage

The henro pilgrimage route on the island of Shikoku is celebrating its 1,200-year anniversary in 2014. Today people from all over Japan and the rest of the world are walking the circuit of 88 temples that spans the island’s four prefectures. This article looks at the history and charms of the ancient route.

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