Wednesday, October 22, 2008

STL DPB On The Road: Harugo-San

Harugo-san is a sacred mountain in north-central Honshu, the largest of the Japanese islands. We stayed at Saikan Shokubo, a traditional inn at a religious site. Quiet, simple, very traditional Japanese. No chairs in our little room, just cushions on the floor. No doors or locks but rather sliding panels made of wood and thick paper. You sleep on futons and a comforter on the very, very hard and not at all comfortable floor. My American back has had enough of this but unfortunately we’re not quite through with it.

The Japanese have a traditional form of memorial to dead children called jizo. It is usually a simple stone statue of a round-face little person, covered in a dark red cloak and cap. Small toys or children’s juice boxes are often at their feet. On Mt. Haguro there is a forest of jizo, more than a thousand. Many are simple wood stakes. Others are statues wearing what we took to be the child’s own clothing, most with a little cloth change purse around their neck so they have a few coins to spend wherever they have gone. It is on of the most touching places we have ever seen.


Virginia said...

Now don't go making me tear up this early in the morning. Lovely capture. Pass the Kleenex!

PJ said...

I didn't know what to say the first time I saw these photos. They're just heartbreakingly beautiful.