The Lucky Daruma Temple - Katsuo-ji in Osaka, Japan
I visited Katsuo-ji on a late Autumn day in November - when the leaves bath in the color of sunset. Katsuo-ji temple is considered one of the best destinations in Japan for viewing red maple leaves. However, nature wasn't the only thing leaving the best impression in me, there was also other unique characteristics nowhere to be found outside of Katsuo-ji. Let's find out more in this article!
Katsuo-ji is located in Mino city, Northern to Osaka. According to legends, 1100 years ago, the Emperor was seriously ill and came to this temple to pray for health. After that, his wish indeed came true. He was very thankful and granted this temple the name Katsuo-ji (with the Chinese characters meaning Victorious King Temple).
We went to Senri-Chuo station and boarded the Hankyu 29 Keito bus to get to the temple. It was only 9AM but there was already a crowd waiting to buy the bus tickets. An adult ticket cost 400 yen and a child ticket was 300 yen.
Coming through the first big gate, we saw a small bridge crossing a huge pond. Before us, there were small shrines and temples peeking through the trees, showing only the roofs. Many trees in the front were colored in autumn shades, but some in the back were still green, as if it was a canvas unfinished by Mother Nature.
Under the bridge, there were also some special fog machines. Layers of fog gently laid on the pond's surface, blurring the figures of people in front. There were times when the fog covered the whole bridge, creating the sense that the temple was floating on a cloud in a spiritual realm.
Before such a scene, I was reminded of Han Mac Tu's poem: "Ở đây sương khói mờ nhân ảnh - Ai biết tình ai có đậm đà"
Roughly translated to "Here, the fog blurs one's image - Who knows if one's love is still as passionate"
There were a small shrines built on a large rick mound near the pond. It made me think of a resting spot for monks. From here, a gorgeous and poetic scenery unfolded before me.
I stopped to enjoy the refreshing atmosphere, getting the feeling of old time's poet leaving their luxurious life to find tranquility and peace. In the temple, there were many palm-sized Daruma puppets standing everywhere in the temple, like mini soldiers guarding the area.
We walked on the pavements made from stones. The temple, although standing through so many years, still seemed so new and clean. I bet the temple must be restored quite a few times in order to both preserve its original beauty and also prevent deterioration. On both sides of the road, there were lamp posts made from stone. If visiting at night, I would certainly be able to see another kind of beauty in Katsuo, one that brilliantly shines.
We saw the Daruma everywhere on our way. They were like the temple's mascot, standing everywhere from incense bowls, rooftops, roadsides, stone slabs and... even on trees.
Daruma have significant meaning for the visitors of this temple. There were a place where everyone could place these lucky mascot of Japan.
We each bought a small puppet. The puppets were made from wood, they had a round shape and no limbs. They also had a face, moustache, nose, but no eyes. The eyes would be drawn by the visitors of the temple. After the ceremony, I made and drew on the left eye of the puppet. When my wish came true, I would visit again to give my thanks and draw on the other eye. Truly an interesting and unique tradition, isn't it!
We walked along the road leading to the top of the temple. Here, if we don't want to pray for good luck with the Daruma, we can also buy lucky plagues to write our wishes and hang them.
The temple's bell tolled ceaselessly with its long resounding hums. We left after 2 hours of sightseeing and picture-taking. I hope I can return here in the near future to complete my very important mission: drawing the remaining eye for my Daruma.
Hi guys, my name is Huong Giang. I love travelling and Japan is the place that I can do what I desire to do. I hope my experiences will inspire you and it would be glad if we can share our things in common <3
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