Wednesday, September 26, 2012

(144) Tengu

Although Kasuisai is a Zen Buddhism temple (and a training center for Zen priests/monks at that) it is, in typical Japanese fashion, perfectly fine with hosting in its grounds a temple dedicated to Akiha Sanjakubo Daigongen, a local shaman who could control fire and who with time was transformed into a tengu (天狗); tengu are human shaped flying spirits with either a very long nose or a crow's head and with a particular talent in martial arts. Two of these tengu can be seen in the stairs leading to Akiha’s temple; quite an unusual sight for buddhist temples. By the way, the Zen monks perform a part of their service in there (apparently to honor their illustrious guest) and I must say that it was one of the most intense things I have experienced in my life.

(For a bigger version of this picture both in color and black and white, check my "Japan Arekore" set on Flickr)

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