Temple 81: Shiromine

Name: Shiromine

Some Information: A good number of stairs up to the temple, but very much worth the climb. Beautifully nestled in the trees, Shiromine is another rustic type of temple. So, that means I like this one quite a bit.

Interesting Features: Inside this temple is the mausoleum of Emperor Suutoku. He was banished from Kyoto after an unsuccessful revolt against his brother. It can be found behind the temple. Several very old buildings can be found within dating back to the 14th century.

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The front gate.
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Stone lantern as you step inside.
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One of the temples inside the gate. The roof is particularly beautiful.

One thing that never fails to impress are the trees and foliage around the temple grounds. Cared for, in varying degrees, the variety of different kinds of trees are best found in places like this where the industries of forestry did not affect them in years past. It is easy to see that what you experience here as you walk through would be very much like it was as Kobo Daishi walked through so many years ago.

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On our way up.

One of the most important things to keep in mind about doing this pilgrimage is to understand that there have been many things along the way that you did not see, and many things that you had no possible way of seeing. All of that needs to be okay with you. All you can really do, and maybe this is true for many things outside this experience too, is to just enjoy the time you have and really focus on being in the moment you have.

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A statue of Ebisu: god of fishing and prosperity.
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The image of the Buddha within was carved from a “shining piece of wood” found in the sea.
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This moss-covered pagoda sculpture is covered in coins.

Coming back down the steps you get a great view of the temples below. There is something good about stopping in your tracks and turning around. So often as you are huffing your way up the steps you can’t see the spectacular views that open up behind you in your footprints.

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A path of prayer through the forest.
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Prayers given as the sun goes down.

There are many darkened corners of these temple grounds, hidden springs and grottos have become overgrown by the forest around. Magical and beautiful, a wonderful place to stop and visit.

Distance to next temple: 5 kilometers.

Let’s get back on the road.