The hike to Nageiredo is the main feature of a visit to Sanbutsuji Temple, nestled into the mountains of central Tottori. However, there is an array of statues and other little quirky things to keep an eye out for. One of my favorite things about visiting old rural temples throughout Japan is keeping an eye out for all these details.

Some are more or less obvious in subject matter, others are more interesting once you know what they mean. Some are hard not to notice, while others blend in the world around them either for subtlety or because they are such a common sight that you would hardly think to notice.




Jizo, a patron of children (in this case, likely deceased children), surrounded by the Seven Lucky Gods


For the people whose shoes were not appropriate for the hike, they had thick socks and waraji (straw sandals) available.


“Misfortune is something you recognize right away, but happiness is something you do not recognize until its gone.”



I love how much character Jizo statues can have.


The prayer beads make a loud clack when they fall as you pull the loop downwards. This wards off bad luck.


“Rather than the things you do for yourself, the things you do for others wind up being for your own sake.”


Pillars baring names of donors


Hey there, Daikokuten!


That was the main temple area rather than the hiking area, though. Beyond the red gates to hiking route, I only noticed one statue.


I liked his face.

My favorite interesting find was this tree, which was situated at a tight turn on the trail back down the mountain. I was puzzled about the shape until I ran my hand along it as I took the turn, and I noticed it perfectly followed the grooves in the tree trunk. Like the footsteps worn into the stone by thousands of pilgrims, I suspect that this tree has also been shaped by thousands and thousands of hands using it for support.

Just goes to show that dedicated effort, however slight each action might seem, clearly can change the world.

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