The unusual guardian statues of Kurama-dera temple in Kyoto, looking like a fantasy version of a tiger, are related to one of the gods enshrined in this temple, Bishamonten, the god of warriors. Photographed here is their representation on an ema, a votive plaque on which worshipers are writing their prayers or wishes.
Bishamonten is associated with tigers because a legend from Mount Shigi says that, during the Year of the Tiger, Prince Shotoku prayed to Bishamonten in a specific moment, during the Hour of the Tiger, on the Day of the Tiger. After the victory, the prince erected a temple dedicated to Bishamonten.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: