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Kumano Shrine (Ayabe)

Kumano shrine near Ayabe in Kyoto prefecture has an air of mystery about it. The grounds includes a large shrine and garden as well as several smaller shrines and is tucked away deep in the mountains. The founding date of the shrine is unknown and its remote location gives it the feeling of being a hidden shrine; especially in winter when it is covered with snow or shrouded in fog. Yet, all this means that the shrine sits among unspoiled natural beauty. While the shrine is not well known, it is revered by those who do know about it.
The nearby town is famous for being home to the Heike clan who lost a war over 800 years ago and moved to the gorge in exile and are immortalized in the tale "Heike no Ochiudo Densetsu." The clan built the shrine to the diety Kumano and is where it gets its name from. The town is also well known for being an excellent source of Japanese “washi” paper due to the abundance of mulberry trees and the clear water of the gorge river.

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Shakuzen-ji Temple

Shakuzen-ji, located outskirts of Kameyoka city, is a temple of the Nishiyama Zenrinji School of the Jodo Buddhism. It is believed to have been built before 1190 but records have been destroyed in many fires so the exact date is not known. According to folklore, The temple was built by a close vassal of Sugawara no Michizane, or Tenman-Tenjin, who is revered as the "Kami of Learning" in Shinto.
On the grounds, rocks called "Sakuraishi" that looks like a cherry blossom petal when a cross section is cut into the rock can be found. This beautiful pattern is a result of contact between granite and slate during the rocks formation. This feature is designated as a national natural memorial in Japan. Shakuzen-ji is also a hidden spot for autumn leaves and what sets it apart for the others is the wide range of fall colors with golden yellows, orange, and red mixing all around. Particularly beautiful is the long stairway to the temple and the attached shrine.

Woodland Kyoto

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MIYAMOBI spring

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MIYAMOBI autumn

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MIYAMOBI chii

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MIYAMOBI miyajima

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