.
Kyoto’s Slightly Odd Tanukitanisan Fudouin Temple
NOTE: Images with an icon next to them have been artificially shrunk to better fit your screen; click the icon to restore them, in place, to their regular size.
Grinding It Out Running stairs at the Tanukitanisan Fudouin Temple, Kyoto Japan -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm cropped — 1/800 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Grinding It Out
Running stairs at the Tanukitanisan Fudouin Temple, Kyoto Japan
狸谷山不動院 (京都市)

The guy in the photo above was finishing his 8th trip from the bottom, a round trip that takes about 8 minutes. He told me that he intended to do ten round trips, but said it in a way that implied that he knew he'd never make it.

I was in north-east Kyoto this morning to pick up a cake for Fumie's dad's birthday, at a shop that sells a Japanified green-tea tiramisu. Scouting the location on Google Maps I noticed that the road it was on wound up into the mountains, ending at a temple, so I popped over on my scooter to check it out.

Past some parking lots at the end of the road was the temple...

Tanukitanisan Fudouin Temple -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/6.3, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Tanukitanisan Fudouin Temple
狸谷山不動院

“Tanukitanisan” means “Tanuki valley mountain”, with tanuki being a kind of animal between a raccoon and a dog. Tanuki have an odd place in Japanese culture, about which you can read an earful in the “Tanuki” Wikipedia entry (and slightly less delicately, in this Alice Gordenker “What the Heck is That?” Japan Times column). You can see a lot of ugly tanuki statues — there are no other kind of tanuki statue — around the base of the monument above.

But something told me that this temple was most importantly related to sports. I gathered this from the large group of high-school baseball players milling about in full uniform, and from this set of monuments between the main temple-name monument and the entrance stairs...

Sports Monuments -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/6.3, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Sports Monuments

The big gravestone-looking monument with a tiger engraving commemorates the Hanshin Tigers baseball team's league championship in 2003, while the pillar next to it is a memorial monument for Yoshio Yoshida, one of their famous players in the 50s and 60s, and later a (relatively) successful team manager. Despite the “memorial” nature of the memorial, Mr. Yoshida is still alive and well.

Anyway, I started up the long winding path...

Main Entrance Gate -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/6.3, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Main Entrance Gate
Looking Back Down lots of gates and an athlete running stairs -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/6.3, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Back Down
lots of gates and an athlete running stairs

With the row of orange gates I thought it might be a smaller version of the Fushimi Inari Shrine, but the gates covered only a short distance of the entire (long) path. There were a lot of athletes going back and forth, running stairs, who I'm sure wished the entire path were shorter.

But it wasn't short... it kept going. At one point there was a larger-than-life statue of a Buddhist Monk standing for alms...

Standing in Silent Disinterest as a monk is trained to do -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/80 sec, f/6.3, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Standing in Silent Disinterest
as a monk is trained to do

It's wearing a hat (as seen held by a real monk in this photo) and is covered by little mini-sandal talismans. All the athletes running stairs, along with the footwear nature of the talismans left by individuals for good luck, makes me think this statue is supposed to be good luck for running-related sports, but that's just a guess. The athletes running stairs ran right by without pausing.

Mid-Way Plateau -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/6.3, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Mid-Way Plateau

The path was lined with short stone pillars as prayers for some inscribed wish. Most that I noticed were for household safety, many listing both a husband and wife making the wish...

Prayers For Family Safety -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Prayers For Family Safety

I really liked these, both for the thought, and for their looks (all the more because of the beautiful veneer of lichen).

Eventually the stairs disgorged you at a large courtyard, with a building towering over to the left, and more stairs off in the distance...

Final Flight Tiny in the distance, guy in white shirt and blue pants takes the final flight of steps -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/2500 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Final Flight
Tiny in the distance, guy in white shirt and blue pants takes the final flight of steps

This photo was taken at the base of a bunch of pillars supporting the main temple building far above, at the level of a courtyard where larger events are evidently held.

Here's a photo looking down at the courtyard from above...

Courtyard From Above with remnants of some kind of fire festival staining the dirt -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/16, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Courtyard From Above
with remnants of some kind of fire festival staining the dirt
Main Temple Building as two boys race for the final flight -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/16, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Main Temple Building
as two boys race for the final flight
Happy To Be Done -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/16, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Happy To Be Done
Offering Placards at the main temple building -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/7.1, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Offering Placards
at the main temple building
Baseball Team Streams Up -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/7.1, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Baseball Team Streams Up
Ailment Placards specific areas of pain are marked -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/7.1, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Ailment Placards
specific areas of pain are marked

I'm guessing that these wooden placards will go up in smoke during a rite in the courtyard, along the same lines as seen in my “Intense Burn” post a few years ago.

Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/320 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

I didn't have much time before having to pick Anthony up from swimming class, but on the way down I decided to document all the flights of stairs....

Looking Down the Final Flight -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/400 sec, f/3.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Down the Final Flight

Descend those stairs, then cross the courtyard, and you're at the top of...

A Couple More Flights Down To “The Plateau” -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.2, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
A Couple More Flights Down To “The Plateau”

Descend those flights, cross the plateau, and you're at the top of...

Surprise! More Steps! -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Surprise! More Steps!

Descend the long flight, then a few shallow steps, and you're at another flight overlooking....

Flight Overlooking the Monk being attended to by a non-athlete, treating it with respectful devotion -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.2, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Flight Overlooking the Monk
being attended to by a non-athlete, treating it with respectful devotion

Descend past the monk, then down some more stairs to where the path bends...

Getting Twisty Toward the End -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.2, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Getting Twisty Toward the End
Past The Area of Gates -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.2, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Past The Area of Gates

.. and finally to the lowest flight:

End of the Road literally, this is where Kyoto's Manjuin Street ends -- Tanukidanisan Fudoin Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.2, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
End of the Road
literally, this is where Kyoto's Manjuin Street ends

Looking at the temple's web site (warning: flash, circa 1998) I don't notice anything about athletics. The temple is apparently famous for car dealers, and for people to get talismans for their cars. Odd. But much about Kyoto is. :-)


Comments so far....

A really interesting temple – and nice post. I so wish that we had time to visit these more off-the-beaten track temples. The problem is that as a tourist somewhere, you just don’t know they exist or if you do, they’re not exactly on the subway. I guess it’s nice as a local to be able to enjoy these sorts of moments without a lot of tourists (except for the local variety that is, especially the high-school sports playing variety)

— comment by AdelaideBen on November 1st, 2010 at 5:57am JST (3 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

First shot is the best :-)

— comment by Damien on November 17th, 2012 at 1:03pm JST (1 year, 8 months ago) comment permalink
Leave a comment...


All comments are invisible to others until Jeffrey approves them.

Please mention what part of the world you're writing from, if you don't mind. It's always interesting to see where people are visiting from.

More or less plain text — see below for allowed markup

You can use the following tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe without commenting