At the Temple itself, photos were discouraged or (in some places) prohibited. Perhaps it is best known for its hibutsu (secret Buddha statue, also called "The Image of Sangoku Denrai" ), thought by some to be the oldest Buddha image in Japan (Created in India and brought to Japan in 552). However, the hibutsu is not displayed: In fact, not even the high priest is allowed to ever view it. It lies beneath the Temple in total darkness. However, for 500 yen (about $5.00), one can gain entrance to a totally dark hallway through a part of the basement adjacent to the statue. A small, hinged extension of the statue can be found by carefully feeling along the wall of this wooden passage. This extension is said to be the key to salvation, and for those who get a grasp, it is believed to lead all to the Buddhist Pure Land regardless of their status, gender or creed (All this for less than the price of a Starbuck's Latte!).
It is quite an experience, groping around in total darkness along with several other folks (whom you can't see, but whom you run into as you search). Even though none of the other folks in the passageway spoke English, it was not difficult to tell whenever one would find the metal "key."
Oh, and in case you are concerned, Bev and I both found it. Otherwise, I may have asked for my money back (just kidding).
This view is looking back down the business pathway as we walk away from the Temple.