|Painting of Buddhist hell, Daihonzan Naritasan Temple, Kurume, Japan.|
I had no idea there was a Buddhist hell. I first caught a whiff of it this week in Unzenonsen, Kyushu, Japan. Hydrogen sulphide, boiling water bubbling out the ground, steam.
Unlike the Biblical version, you are born in Naraka, and it's not for ever. The experience clears you of all your bad karma, and you're ready to be reborn in a higher life.
Directly after Unzenonsen, I was in Nagasaki. Enough said.
Today I took trains from Nagasaki to Hita, a town that gives me quick access to some trailheads. Along the way, I changed trains in the town of Kurume.
Imagine my excitement when I Googled Kurume, only to discover the Jibo Kannonzou statue of a large motherly figure at the Daihonzan Naritasan Kurume Temple.
It's big, it's made of concrete, you can climb inside it. But, here's the kicker: there's an animatronic depiction of Buddhist hell in the basement of the statue.
Yes, a statue can have a basement.
I had to go.