Finding a Rainy 25-Year-Old Memory on Miyajima Island
Maniden Hall (right) and Main Hall (left) at the Daishoin Temple (大聖院), Miyajima Japan -- Daishoin Temple (大聖院) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Maniden Hall (right) and Main Hall (left)
at the Daishoin Temple (大聖院), Miyajima Japan

During past weekend's trip to Miyajima Island, the impending typhoon brought back memories of my first trip to the island, in 1989 after having been in Japan for only a month. A friend at work (Andy Krantz) had a nice trip planned for the week-long Obon holidays the country takes every August, and kindly invited me along. On this trip we stopped by Miyajima Island, which I knew nothing about (at the time I knew nothing about Japan except Perl Harbor and Sony).

On that visit I certainly would have seen the famous shrine gate, but I don't remember it at all. My only memory of that visit 25+ years ago is of a small gazebo at a temple where one can shake a rope to jingle bells to awaken the gods' attention to your petitions, I guess (as described here). During the visit, we had the island to ourselves because it was nonstop torrential rain... just amazing amounts of water descending from the sky in nonstop torrents. I remember the little gazebo because it provided a short respite from the rain. We shook the rope. It was probably my first visit to a temple of any kind.

So with this memory in mind this past weekend, I wondered where that gazebo was. I don't recall having seen it on any subsequent trip to the island (here and here), so I kept more of an active eye out this time.

Part of my wanderings brought to the Daisho-in Temple, tucked in the mountains 15 minutes from the famous shrine gate. With buildings sprinkled all up the side of a mountain, there are many levels and stairways. Every time I came to the top of a stairway I thought I might find my gazebo, but I reached the top without finding it...

End of the Trail furthest area of the Daisho-in Temple -- Daishoin Temple (大聖院) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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End of the Trail
furthest area of the Daisho-in Temple

I didn't know it at the time, but it turns out that my gazebo is in front of the hall at right in the photo above. Descending back down to where the stairs to the hall starts...

Prayer Wheels (摩尼車) steps leading to Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院 の 摩尼殿) -- Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院の摩尼殿) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Prayer Wheels (摩尼車)
steps leading to Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院摩尼殿)

The idea is that you spin them as you go by, as the person in the photo above is doing. According to the note written down the first support for the wheels, it's believed that spinning a wheel once around provides the same benefits as reading one scroll of sutras. Whatever that means.

Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院の摩尼殿) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院の摩尼殿) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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At the top of the stairs is Maniden Hall, fronted by a gazebo with the rope and bells...

Revisiting After 25 Years -- Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院の摩尼殿) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Revisiting After 25 Years
I Remember This Scene -- Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院の摩尼殿) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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I Remember This Scene

I seem to remember more distance between the gazebo and the building proper, but it was immediately clear that this is the place I remembered. I was happy to have found it.

Looking Back -- Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院の摩尼殿) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Looking Back
Detailed Carvings -- Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院の摩尼殿) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Detailed Carvings

I don't recall the Hall itself on that trip 25 years ago. It was probably shuttered up for the storm. Peeking inside this time...

Ready for a Crowd -- Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院の摩尼殿) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Ready for a Crowd

Following the veranda down the side and to the back, you come to a red-velvet steep stairway...

Steep Stairway -- Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院の摩尼殿) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Steep Stairway
Twisty -- Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院の摩尼殿) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Twisty

It leads to the upper level of the two-story pagoda, which was mostly empty...

Table for Two -- Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院の摩尼殿) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Table for Two

The ceiling was pretty, though less symmetrical than I would have imagined...

Remarkably Unsymmetrical -- Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院の摩尼殿) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Remarkably Unsymmetrical
Nice View -- Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院の摩尼殿) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/11, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Nice View

You can see the five-story pagoda in the distance.

Side Veranda back on the first floor -- Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院の摩尼殿) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Side Veranda
back on the first floor
One More Look Inside the first floor -- Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院の摩尼殿) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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One More Look Inside
the first floor
Spinning they're heading up as I'm heading down -- Daishoin Temple's Maniden Hall (大聖院の摩尼殿) -- Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Spinning
they're heading up as I'm heading down

One comment so far...

The downside of following your blog is that it makes me want to pack my camera and start looking for plane tickets. We might be going to Yokohama next June for my wife’s high school reunion.

— comment by RBMann on October 17th, 2014 at 3:23am JST (2 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink
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