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Yamagata, Japan

立石寺五大堂(山形県山形市宝珠山阿所川院立石寺)

This temple was originally built in 860AD, and it was burnt down at least twice and rebuilt each time. …just like the Phoenix rising from its ashes. In July of 1689, the writer Basho had visited and left one of the most famous haiku. “閑さや岩にし み入る蝉の声” “I watch the reflections of the clouds on the hills and take in the haphazard precision of the placement of the houses. There is a small blue shed that catches my attention on the bank to the right and a series of wet rice fields glisten to the left: the green hills, lush and luminous from the rains, seem to glow in the distance. I track the sounds of running water and the flap of wings overhead. A hammer strikes somewhere nearby, beating out an irregular rhythm, as a farmhouse is repaired for the thousandth time. I breathe deep and catch the smell of rice and grilled fish mixed with a delicate scent of incense burning to an unseen presence or lost loved one.”

- William Corey