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Osorezan: Peak Colors

Osorezan, lit. "Fear Mountain", is one of Japan's most spiritual spots. Located on the remote Shimokita Peninsula in Aomori Prefecture, this volcanic mountain is as close as you can get to the afterlife, and many people visit the temple to seek contact with lost ones. At the center of the mountain lies Usoriko, a blue-colored, highly acidic lake, and Bodaiji Temple, the only human-made structures in the area.

Because of the severe winters, Bodaiji Temple closes every year from November through April. So, one week before its winter closure, I stayed overnight at Bodaiji's temple lodging and checked out the local autumn colors. Surrounding the temple on all sides, the colors were at their best today, and I expect them to remain spectacular until the temple's closure on October 31.

Seeing the blue lake with its white shores, surrounded by eight peaks covered in autumn colors, I gained a certain understanding for why Ennin, the temple's founder, recognized this remote corner of the world as the Buddhist paradise about 1200 years ago.

The temple grounds and surroundings are volcanically active, and there is a constant smell of sulfur
The temple grounds seen from behind the Jizodo Hall
Wind mills for the souls of lost children and unborns
Kannon for Great Peace
Picturesque shores of Lake Usoriko
Jizo statue and wind mills
Stone mountains to help deceased children to cross the Sanzu River into paradise
The Jizo Bodhisattva helps children to reach paradise
Sulfuric vents are found here and there around the temple grounds
Autumn colors at their peak
Approaching the shores of Lake Usoriko
More Jizo statues
The shores of Lake Usoriko
It takes about an hour to explore the grounds of Bodaiji Temple at a leisurely pace
Bodaiji Temple
Gender-segregated hot spring bath huts are located on the temple grounds (included in the admission fee)
The bath water is highly acidic and sulfuric
Staying overnight at the temple lodging allows you to see the temple after dark
Yesterday was full moon
Leaving Bodaiji Temple
Road leading to the Osorezan Observation Deck
Osorezan Observation Deck, a ten minute drive from the temple