Japanese years are commonly associated with the twelve animals Mouse, Cow, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.  2012 is the ‘Year of the Dragon’…  Enter the Dragon!

On New Year’s eve in Japan you can hear the sound of bells ringing 108 times at temples. This symbolizes the expulsion of the 108 human defilements believed to have accumulated in the past year.  The temples are packed with some of the popular ones getting thousands of visitors.

Many Japanese visit their local temples and shrines in the first few days of the New Year.   I went out again yesterday to explore some of the local temples to see the activity.   The custom when approaching the temple is to ring the bell.  After ringing the bell people clap their hands twice, bow once and pray silently.   I always visit the temples during this time as it is a great way to capture Japanese culture with my camera.  Many of the temples have a big bell with a long rope hanging but this small temple I went to yesterday morning had this little charming set of bells.

Look at the support structure a gardener has put in place for this tree to help it to survive winter.

I went and visited Yuntenji Temple…

I was lucky enough to arrive as a service was going on…

Many people bring and leave offerings…

There is so much detail to be seen at these temples that if you don’t walk slow and pay attention you can easily pass by some interesting things without even noticing them.

Thanks for stopping by today…


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