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.

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Sanjusangendo Temple, Kyoto

 

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Kodai-ji Temple, Kyoto

 

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Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto

 

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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.

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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