Japanese Gargoyles (Onigawara)

As part of my research for the fifth Jaya Jones novel, I visited Japan. I’ll share much more about that experience when the book comes out next year, but in the meantime here are a few of my favorite photos from the trip, beginning with onigawara — Japanese gargoyles!

Oni means demon, and onigawara means demon tile. These carvings adorn Buddhist temples and other buildings, much like European gargoyles adorn both Christian churches and many other buildings.


Sanjusangendo Temple, Kyoto



Kodai-ji Temple, Kyoto



Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto



Dragon head at Kodai-ji Temple, Kyoto


And these aren’t onigawara, but this was my favorite temple I visited: Otagi Nenbutsu-ji on the outskirts of Kyoto, past the famous bamboo forest. More than a thousand statues were carved by hundreds of people, many of whom were amateurs, but the figures they created show such character and humanity.


For some reason this magical place is off the beaten path, so we had it all to ourselves for almost half an hour. If you find yourself in Kyoto, I recommend the extra effort to get here.


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And I’ll end with a couple more of my favorite photos of Kyoto. More stories to follow when the novel comes out in the fall of 2017.

Dragons at Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Dragons at Kiyomizu-dera Temple


Autumn in Kyoto

Autumn in Kyoto