Homyoin Summer Stairs

Today I decided to pay a short visit to Homyoin Temple (法明院) in Otsu. Homyoin Temple was built in the early 1650s for Tendai Esoteric Buddhism. It's also where Ernest Fenollosa and William Sturgis Bigelow's graves are located. Fenollosa and Bigelow played an important role in the preservation of many important Japanese cultural artifacts in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Both of them converted to esoteric Buddhism and so they were interred here.

The temple is a very quiet place, and I might say, almost forgotten. Out of the countless times I've been here I've seen only a few people, but plenty of sign belonging to inoshishi (wild boar) and deer. Recently there seems to be some effort to restore the temple buildings and grounds a bit. I hope that it continues to restored because there's a lot of potential for it to rival other more famous temples in terms of beauty. There is actually a tea hut here as well, but it seems to not have been used for many years.

I had no particular scene in mind to photograph today. Sometimes it's good to go without a plan and just have a walk around. For the longest time though, I've been trying to figure out a good way to photograph these stairs. On either side of the stairs there is nothing of interest and mostly bare dirt with a scant cover of ferns. Nothing that would make a good photo. So today I thought why not shoot through the maples leaves at the bottom of the stairs to cover up the bleak looking sides and add some interesting color and framing. Here is the result.

Not bad for a short walk. I think that I'll go for a similar shot in the autumn season, but that's a few months down the road. Thank you for reading! See you next time.



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