Cosmos temple – A visit to Hannya-ji in Nara

It is my least favourite month of the year here in Sweden, with less than five hours of daylight and gray weather, and so to remedy the gloom I have put together a blog post about one of the more colourful experiences during last year’s visit to Japan.

During my stay in Kyoto, I took an afternoon trip to Nara. The trains to Nara are always packed with tourists, and so are its most well-known sightseeing spots, the magnificent Todai temple (東大寺) and Nara park (奈良公園).  On this day, however, I had my eyes set for something different.  I had read about a small buddhist temple just outside the city center called Hannya temple (般若寺). It took some effort to find the right bus to get there, and it was immediately clear that I was going off the beaten path as the bus only had a few passengers, most of the elderly, grocery shopping variety. Frequently checking the bus route map where to get off I managed to find the right stop. After some additional struggle finding the right entrance (a mini adventure around the block together with some equally lost Japanese tourists), I finally arrived at Hannya temple. It is sometimes referred to as Cosmos temple, and when you enter the premises it becomes apparent why. The temple garden is filled with Cosmos flowers, which looked gorgeous this sunny afternoon. The temple itself is small but charming. There were a decent amount of visitors but it was nothing compared to the masses at Todai temple. I leisurely strolled around the area for a few hours, burning through a few rolls of film, and I had a truly serene experience.

Photos were shot with Nikon FE2 using Kodak Portra 800 film. Thanks to Canadian Film Lab for excellent processing and scans.