Hase-dera Temple is famous for its peony garden and has 7,000 plants from 150 species of peony planted in the grounds. It is a breath-taking site when they are in full bloom.
Hase-dera temple in Nara Prefecture was a popular, if arduous, pilgrimage for Heian-era ladies, and a stop for other pilgrims on their way to the Grand Shrine at Ise.
The temple is set on a mountainside, surrounded by forest, and is reached by crossing the Hase-gawa River, once lined with pilgrim's lodgings. In The Jeweled Chaplet chapter of The Tale of Genji, Hatsuse is where Genji's servant discovers Yugao's daughter on a pilgrimage.
Hase-dera dates from 686 and contains one the most stunning images of Kannon in the whole of Japan. Carved in 1538, the eight-metre high eleven-faced Juichimen Kannon gazes out through the temple's main hall across the valley beyond.