Hase-dera Temple in early May is filled with peony flowers. Fields alongside the covered stone steps toward the main hall are ablaze with 500 varieties totaling 7000 peonies of white, pink, magenta, and red flowers. It is just gorgeous when all the flowers begin to blossom all at once! I enjoyed each of the 399 steps of the Nobori-ro Corridors that invite us up into the holy precincts. Finally I reached the main hall on the hilltop. There was an open terrace commanding a great mountain view. Overlooking distant mountain ridges, I took a deep breath. And another. And another.
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Japan is a small island nation, but we have a huge number of surprising things to discover here. Many of these delights can be found when you step off the main street onto small side paths. I really enjoy studying about and researching various aspects of traditional Japanese culture, and then sha...