After seeing Shirasaki, my friend drove us to Kôya-san (高野山) in Wakayama.
The first thing I noticed was how completely different the weather was–it was snowing!
Blue skies and white snow made the red of the buildings pop. I love the seemingly impossible brightness and clarity of the colors here.
The vibrant colors in the dead of winter lifted my spirits.
Having a shrine in a temple complex is totally normal. Buddhism and Shinto, once enemies, now coexist in harmony. (Michael Hoffman has written several pieces on this in The Japan Times.)
The Nakanohashi cemetery (中の橋霊園), where Takeda Shingen, Uesugi Kenshin, and Oda Nobunaga (!!) as well as monks, lay buried in snow.
The newer part of the graveyard hosts some interesting company advertising–here lies some employees of UCC Coffee.
Outside the cemetery is the Tokugawa mausolea. Tokugawa Yoshimune (both the real one and the fictional female Shogun from Ôoku, Vol. 1) was from Kishuu (紀州), the province that is now Wakayama prefecture (和歌山県), and the Tokugawa often visited Kôya-san.
Sadly, you can’t take photos of the Okuno-in (奥の院) or the Kōbō-Daishi Masoleum, where Kūkai (空海), posthumously Kōbō–Daishi (弘法大師), is said to be in a Schrodingerian state of eternal prayer. But here’s one of a statue of Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Mercy, watching over the living and the dead.