Located in a little south of Nara city in Sakurai city, Hasedera temple stands as the main temple of the Buzan sect of Shingon Buddhism. Perching precariously on the hillside of Haseyama mountain and overlooking the valley of the Hase river in the middle of luxuriant wood and flower, the terrace of Hasedera is compared with the great Kiyomizu temple in Kyoto. As a fairy scene, the grandiose structure including the main hall, a five storied pagoda and various halls of different sizes blooms as a flower halfway up the slope of Hase-yama, enchanting visitors all around the year by its mellow aroma of sophisticated buildings and artistic treasures.
Source: Hasedera Temple
The story about the construction of Hasedera can be told by a bronze plaque carving a three-storied pagoda and two sitting Buddhas. In about 686, the monk Domyo used this plaque to pray for the lealth of Emperor Temmu inside a building halfway on Haseyama mountain. Later, the Emperor ordered to construct Hasedera temple at the former site of the building. The very first statue of the Eleven-Faced Kannon was enshrined here in 727 by the priest Tokudo Shonin. He was also the one who helped to spread Hase Kannon belief throughout all of Japan.
A little street leads you down to the valley, over a small red bridge cossing Hase river the the main approach of Hasedera temple, an old stairway tearing wood up to the temple precinct. Crossing the rest building Souketsuke with a drink vending machine, you will meet the Niomon gate, opening a 200 meter sloping corridor of 399 steps. The corridor dated back to 1039, consisting of 3 parts covered by roof, leading to the Main hall. The Main hall features a large veranda outside offering a breathtaking view of the Hase valley and surrounding hills and mountains. The hall contains the main ceremonial stages and a number of Buddha statues.
Source: Hasedera Temple
The Eleven Faced Kannon is the principal Buddhist image enshrined at Hasedera, even having the own name of Hase Kannon. It is said that the statue of Eleven Faced Kannon used to housed inside the main hall was carved out of a camphor tree in the year 727 within just three days but the present one was recreated in 1538 at the height of about 10 meters, standing as the model of all Hase Kannon statues in Japan. Generally, visitors can only see the statue from a distance. However, in some occasions of year, in spring and autumn for example, you can pay for being allowed to touch the statue. The Five storied pagoda was erected in 1954 in traditional Japanese architecture, surrounded by a number of rare Buddhist statues from India, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Hasedera is also well known as the Temple of flower. There is almost no moment of year that the temple stands alone without colorful blossoms of cherry, Chinese peony and hydrangea. Not only flower, the temple attracts tourists by the blazing light of lanterns lit up in amount of thousands on the occasion of the Kannon 10000 Lights Ceremony in New Year Eve.