The Japanese has a deep appreciation for flower-viewing. Their reverence for the transient colours that accompanies every season often brings them to different locations, all in the hopes that they may capture that moment in their memories.
Hondo-ji is one such location. Also known as Ajisai (Hydrangea) Temple, it is a popular spot for hydrangeas viewing in June. However, its fall colours are no less captivating, with the red and orange colours setting the ground ablaze. Thus, it was how we found ourselves in Hondo-ji one late November afternoon.
Hondo-ji is, a large temple complex dating back to 1277 when it served as the residence of the Genji-clan. Members of the Genji-clans bore the last name of Minamoto, and were said to have been royalty who had been demoted to commoners during the Heian period. Subsequently, it was converted to a Nichiren Temple by Nichiro, a prominent disciple of Nichiren in the 13th century. Its importance as a sacred site was not to be dismissed as the ashes of Buddha was said to be housed in its five-storey pagoda.
We strolled along the small path leading to the temple, stopping to browse at the traditional sweets and pickles for sale. Passing through the solemn-looking gate, we followed a winding path which took us around the temple complex.
It seemed that we were a little early for the fall colour, as most of the trees were still green with a mere hint of red. Nevertheless, we enjoy the peace and tranquility within its grounds, while acquainting ourselves with its history.
Despite not being able to admire the fall colours in all its glory, the temple was still a relaxing way to spend a beautiful afternoon.