Hondoji Temple (Ajisai Dera)

So, a break in the rains gave me the chance to explore one of the jewels in my city’s modest crown. Hondoji temple, just a short walk from Kitakogane station, has a 750-year history and is an important spot for the Buddhist religion in Japan. It’s said that under the 5-storey pagoda overlooking the temple, are some bone fragments of the actual man himself. We can also see the final resting place of one of the wives of the famous shogun, Tokogawa Ieyasu.

For the less devout, non-history buffs, there are several other reasons to visit this spot; about 10,000 to be more precise, especially in June. Hondoji Temple often goes by its other name, Ajisai Dera (the temple of the hydrangea). In its grounds and gardens can be found somewhere in the region 10,000 hydrangeas, of all types and colours. Quite a sight when they are in full bloom (mid to late July). There is also an iris field in the centre of the garden that is definitely worth a look a little earlier in the year.

It really was a beautiful day; a real crowd-puller. I saw some really nice gear, and one or two very impressive, how should I say, stances. I love the way people in Japan throw their whole being (and their life savings) into their hobbies. Well if you’re looking for something to fill your time, and you have several million yen burning a hole in your pocket, why not?

By the time I left at around 11, it was really busy. It had become quite difficult to get elbow room for shooting, never mind tripod space. Getting there early turned out to be a great call.


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