Osorezan, a sacred place where the souls of the dead are gathered
Osorezan is a sacred place located in Shimokita Peninsula.
It has been said by the locals that if you die, you will go to Osorezan.
Osorezan is said to be the closest place to the other side of the world, and as a place to make offerings to and remember the dead, visitors from all over Japan regularly visit this place.
Although called "Osorezan," no mountain exists with this name.
There is a lake surrounded by eight mountains, and on the shore of the lake is the sacred site, Osorezan Osorezan Bodaiji Temple.
An entrance fee is required to visit the temple.
The majestic gate appears in front of you.
Jizo statues are enshrined along the mountain road leading to Osorezan.
The closer you get to Osorezan, the more Jizo statues you see and the thicker the smell of sulfur becomes.
After leaving the mountain path and walking along the eerily clear lake, the first thing you will see is the Taiko Bridge.
The Taiko Bridge over the Sanzu River is believed to be a bridge between this world and the next.
The sacred site of Osorezan has a 3km course that takes about 40 minutes on foot to complete.
When you enter the precincts of Osorezan Bodaiji Temple through the main gate, the first thing you will see is the majestic "Sanmon" gate.
After passing through the main gate, you will see the Jizo Hall, which is surrounded by a number of Jizo statues, with more enshrined in the temple grounds.
Each of the Jizo statues has its own unique expression.
136 Hell and Life Extension Jizoson
To the left of Jizoden is the "Hell" formed from volcanic rocks.
It is said to represent the 136 hells where people are punished for their sins in this world.
The area is desolate and almost devoid of vegetation, with volcanic gases spewing out from everywhere, creating a truly hellish landscape.
Stones and small Jizo dolls piled up by visitors to the temple as offerings are placed haphazardly.
The highest point in Hell is Enmeijizoson, which is the main image of Osorezan Bodaiji Temple.
There is also a Jizo doll at the foot of Enmeijizoson, indicating that many worshippers have gone through the rocky terrain to vow to prolong their lives.
The white sandy beach and the crystal clear surface of the lake. The enchanting paradise beach
After passing through the rocky area from hell, the scenery changes drastically and the lake comes into view.
This place is called "Paradise Beach," and on a clear day, the surface of the lake is incredibly clear and beautiful.
The white sandy beach and the emerald shining lake shore are eerie.
Is it paradise or heaven? It is as if you have come to a completely different world from the desolate atmosphere just earlier.
The Great East Japan Earthquake Memorial Tower erected at Gokuraku Beach is a mecca for memorializing the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Dozens of handprints of various sizes are carved on the back of the pagoda, which resemble the handprints of the deceased, so that visitors can join hands with the deceased.
There are four hot springs with different qualities on site.
There are four bathhouses on the grounds: these alternate between men/women with one for mixed bathing too.
All of them are sulfur springs, and worshippers are free to bathe in them.
Some people come from far away to take a bath in the hot springs.
Osorezan is a place where you can feel the activity of people who are remembering and mourning the deceased.
Because it is a place where the thoughts and feelings of so many people have been gathered, it looks like both hell and paradise.
Please consider this as you admire the scenery.
- Osorezan Reijo