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Enlightened Shrine Garden

The Lotus, Iga Hachiman Shrine, and Enlightenment!

The Lotus

The lotus is considered a somewhat holy flower in much of asia. Because they rise from murky water they are seen to represent purity, non-attachment, and lots of other things. It’s not uncommon to find just about every asian deity around pictured seated on one (Buddha, Vishnu, etc). They come in shades of pink and white. I prefer the white ones, but the pink seem most common here in Japan, at least in all the places I look.

The lotus flowers growing out of this pond were huge! Taller than me. I suppose part of the reason they were so tall is the pond must be very shallow. I’ve never seen any so tall, but according to wikipedia there are reports of them growing up to 5 meters (over 16 ft) high.

Iga Hachimangu

The shrine here is Iga Hachimangu (Ee-ga Ha-chee-mahn-gu), or Iga Hachiman Shrine. It is dedicated to Hachiman, the god of war, and was a special shrine for the Matsudaira family. Tokugawa Ieyasu’s1 grandfather moved the shrine to Okazaki from Mie and it was built up to it’s current form by Ieyasu’s grandson, Iemitsu.

The Matsudaira and Tokugawa lords would come here before major battles to pray for victory. When praying for victory, the armies would stay at the shrine until the torii gate at the entrance (in the background of the above photo) moved, signifying Hachiman’s blessing. Knowing this and wanting to boost morale, Ieyasu would order ninja from Iga Province to secretly move the torii at night. Clever guy, eh?

Daily Photo: Enlightened Shrine Garden

Today’s photo comes from a shinto shrine with a large pond filled with these huge lotus flowers.

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  1. Remember Ieyasu – he’s the guy who more or less conquered Japan in 1603. His family ruled until 1868. Read more about him

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