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stone and dust

travel, photography and musings on cemeteries, monuments, and other memorials

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Japan

Site 124: Osaka’s Shitennōji Temple & Cemetery

Shitennōji Temple is one of the oldest temples in Japan (593 CE) and the first state one. Prince Shotoku, who supported the introduction of Buddhism in Japan, is the one that founded this temple. It’s been destroyed by fire several times since it was built, but it has always been faithfully Continue reading “Site 124: Osaka’s Shitennōji Temple & Cemetery”

Site 123: Osaka’s Mozu Kofungun

Most people are not aware that one of the largest burial tombs in the world is right here in Japan, in the southern part of Osaka. These kofun are scattered throughout Japan. Although they are referred to as keyhole tombs, they do come in a variety of other shapes, from Continue reading “Site 123: Osaka’s Mozu Kofungun”

Japan’s Day(s) of the Dead: Celebrating O-bon

Japan is no stranger to disaster: earthquakes, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, plagues, flooding, and landslides have been a part of this island-nation’s landscape since the beginning. Even now, recent disasters as of June-August 2018 including the flooding and landslides in Continue reading “Japan’s Day(s) of the Dead: Celebrating O-bon”

Site 122: The Burial Mounds of Nara

Japan is an old country, and it’s capital has moved a few times. Of course now it’s currently in Tokyo, but before that was Kyoto, and before that was Nara. The establishment of the Heijō Palace palace in Nara in 538 is what is considered the beginning of the Asuka period Continue reading “Site 122: The Burial Mounds of Nara”

Site 121: Koyasan’s Okunoin Cemetery

If you know of any cemetery in Japan, it’s probably this one. Okunoin often features on the top 10 or 20 best/most beautiful cemeteries in the world to visit, and it definitely deserves a place on those lists. I first came here on New Years Eve 2001 with some friends, as they ring Continue reading “Site 121: Koyasan’s Okunoin Cemetery”

Site 120: Bishamondo Temple Cemetery

Ever notice that when you live close to a place, you kind of take it for granted? I guess you could say that’s the story of my life. I live in Kyoto but I rarely go out to explore what this city has to offer, something I’m sure most people understand – it’s hard to be a tourist in Continue reading “Site 120: Bishamondo Temple Cemetery”

Site 119: Kyoto’s Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple

Ah, hanami season. The cherry blossoms are in bloom, and so are the tourists. It’s Kyoto after all. I love living here, it has so many wonderful places to visit, but…during certain times of the year, namely March and April, and all of November, this can be a difficult place to get Continue reading “Site 119: Kyoto’s Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple”

Site 87: Random burial places, Kyoto

I was on my way to work when I decided to do a little detour to visit a couple of sites in the local area that I always meant to visit, but never did. Even though it’s been quite a cold winter here in Kyoto (in fact, the morning started with a blanket of snow, but was gone by the time I Continue reading “Site 87: Random burial places, Kyoto”

Site 86: Kyoto’s Nison-in Temple Cemetery

The Arashiyama district in Kyoto is one of the most popular, and therefore crowded, areas of the city. During the fall foliage season, the number of visitors to this area seem to increase tenfold, making it a crush of humanity no matter where you go. As such, this is usually a place I avoid. Continue reading “Site 86: Kyoto’s Nison-in Temple Cemetery”

Site 83: Kyoto’s Kurodani Temple Cemetery

I like going for walks and exploring different neighbourhoods, but I often return to the same places time and again. Which often leads me to explore lesser known areas, which is how I stumbled across Kurodani Temple, just north of Heian Shrine and a bit west Continue reading “Site 83: Kyoto’s Kurodani Temple Cemetery”

Site 79: Kyoto’s Tenji Mausoleum

I like going for walks, especially at night when it’s quite and there are fewer people about. I’ve been slowly exploring the outer reaches of my neighbourhood/district, and as such, have come to realise that I have easy access to the Biwa Canal route. This is a canal that for years brought water (and Continue reading “Site 79: Kyoto’s Tenji Mausoleum”

Site 76: Hagi’s Tenjuin Mausoleum

This is a small cemetery that I stumbled across while visiting Hagi. I had gone up to the castle grounds and had planned to buy some hagi yaki (pottery from Hagi – it’s quite well-known and has a distinctive look). However, when I went to pay for my purchases I realised that I had left my Continue reading “Site 76: Hagi’s Tenjuin Mausoleum”

Site 75: Hagi’s Daishōin Cemetery

…or the twin cemetery to Tōkōji, or perhaps I should say its elder sibling, as it was established several decades earlier, in 1656. The first, and even-numbered Mori lords are buried here (the odd-numbered ones, minus the first, are at Tōkōji). It definitely takes a little more Continue reading “Site 75: Hagi’s Daishōin Cemetery”

Site 74: Hagi’s Tōkōji Cemetery

Ah, the dilemma. Should I write about Tōkōji and Daishoin together, or separately? They are virtually twin temples/cemeteries here in Hagi, but they were built at opposite ends of the city. There are some slight differences though, and to help me keep them Continue reading “Site 74: Hagi’s Tōkōji Cemetery”

Site 72: Nagasaki’s Sakamoto Int’l Cemetery

Not far from the one-legged torii that stands near Sano Shrine is Nagasaki’s most well-known cemetery, the Sakamoto International Cemetery. It’s claim to fame lies mostly in the fact that is the final resting place for Thomas B. Glover, a Scottish industrialist who Continue reading “Site 72: Nagasaki’s Sakamoto Int’l Cemetery”

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