Kurodani-dera (黒谷寺) again – a reprise & update.

Back in November 2009  I posted a piece here on Kurodani Temple (or Kurodani-dera), which is situated in the quiet Okazaki, Sakyo Ward of Kyoto (Kyoto’s east side).  One of these days — though not today — I’m going to work-up and offer a comprehensive article on Kurodani-dera, its history and such.  For now, suffice to say that Kurodani-dera (formally known as “Konkai-Komyoji-dera“) was founded in 1175 and is one of eight head temples for the Japanese Jodo Sect of Buddhism.

Kurodani-dera, November 2009.

For the past 8 or 9 years, whenever I’m in Kyoto (1-3 times per year), I try to make it over to Kurodani-dera.  If at all possible I visit in the early morning when the priests can often be heard chanting their morning “Namu Amida Butsu” chant.  Very beautiful.

As mordant as it may sound, I also enjoy walking up the hillside behind the temple-proper into the ancient cemetery:  very peaceful and offers some pretty views of Kyoto, down and to one’s left.  In fact, last week when I guided a group of Samford University MBA students to Tokyo and Kyoto (and Nara and Yamazaki and into Osaka one night), we took a 20 minute detour into Kurodani, the cemetery and caught that view, for example:

Looking Southwest into Central Kyoto from above Kurodani-dera. May 29, 2010.

.   .   .

A few weeks ago,  during the second week of May, in fact, I received word from the Birmingham Museum of Art that one of my photographs, from Kurodani-dera in fact, had finally been installed at the Museum as the centerpiece image of the BMA’s new “Meditation Station.”  (no Press Release, yet.  Maybe they won’t do one.  So it goes.)  This had been in the works since last summer, but I didn’t want to tell many people as I didn’t want to be wearing egg on my face if the project/installation ended up not working out.   Here’s one of many photos  — this one just a snapshot, really —  I’ve taken of this favorite-of-mine stone Buddha (I’ve come to regard him as a friend I visit whenever I’m in town), quite dissimilar to the one now being used, on exhibition, at the BMA as it’s taken from a completely different angle:

At Kurodani-dera. November 2009.

I think the earliest photo I have from Kurodani-dera goes back to either 2001, certainly 2002.  I’d have to check.

.    .    .

So, a week ago today I find myself back at Kurodani-dera, this time with a dozen people in tow.  They all seemed to enjoy it.  For the first time I had my photo taken near the image of my Amida Butsu friend.  This is that photo.  I’m embarrassed to say that I can’t remember who took it, either Michael or Deena.  But thank you to whomever snapped it.

At Kurodani-dera. Last Saturday, May 29.

.         .         .

Update:  3 photos just found (May ’11) from Summer ’04 . . .

Kurodani-dera 黒谷寺. 2004.


Kurodani-dera 黒谷寺. 2004.


Kurodani-dera 黒谷寺.  Detail.  2004.


Kurodani Main Gate. 2003.

.         .         .

  1. Love the pictures – thanks for pointing me to your blog! 🙂

      • letsjapan
      • June 8th, 2010

      Thank you, and you’re very, very welcome.

      Hope to see y’all soon!


  1. November 8th, 2010
  2. March 31st, 2012
    Trackback from : Melanie dera | Susankienitz

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