Friday, 11 January 2008

Temple No.9 Akechi-ji

Temple No.9 Akechi-ji in Yokoze valley is a small temple maintained by the local community who have replaced the run-down Kannon Hall with the current unusual hexagonal one. The Kannon has a reputation for being kind to mothers and children and on 16 January a festival for the safe childbirth attracts many female worshippers, according to my guide book. It originated from the story of a healed blind mother using a sutra delivered from a monk to her son. Despite being billed as 'small', I found the modest garden elegant and the outside statue refined and tranquil, albeit the temple stands right next to a concrete quarry chopping away at Bukō-san. It is also within view of Temple No.6 and close to No.10. On my return journey, I visited the organic food market where I picked up fresh citrus-tinged soba, some yellow mōchi flavoured with a spice (I think), and more shisō juice - a great source of vitamins in winter and a striking puce colour contrary to the brilliant green appearance of shisō leaves on the plant. It was a peculiar weather, with an even matte of overcast mistiness obliquely veiling the sun in mid-afternoon.