Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Getting to the Kyushu National Museum

The Kyushu National Museum is located in the ancient western capital of Dazaifu in Fukuoka.

It's built on a hill overlooking Dazaifi Tenmangu, the temple built around the last resting place of Sugawara Michizane that became a shrine in the Meiji Period, and probably the most major tourist spot in Dazaifu.

To get between the two there is a series of escalators and moving walkways. The museum was designed by the famous Metabolist architect  Kiyonori Kikutake, and I suspect the escalator and walkway too.

What makes it worthy of note and inclusion in my occasional architecture postings is the light show. A sequence of different colors shoot down the tunnel as you travel along, as well different colored lighting along the wall.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 7 Kanda to Nakatsu

I took an early train from Kokura back to Kanda to begin the days leg of my walk around Kyushu. Today would be a tad over 30 kilometers and would not include any of the pilgrimage temples, though I would visit a couple of small temples are quite a few shrines including a couple of fairy big ones.

The weather was glorious as I crossed over the first of two rivers that cut through Yukuhashi.

Cloudier weather from the south drifted in by the time I crossed the second river, though intermittent sun continued all day.

At Unoshima I passed the big powwr plant. because of the large tanks I am guessing it is oil powered.

I was into the outskirts of Nakatsu by the time the sun set.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Shikoku Pilgrimage Temple 32 Zenjibuji

Located on a hilltop on the Pacific coast south of Kochi City, Zenjibuji is temple number 32 of the 88 temples that make up the pilgrimage.

The grounds contained a lot of rocky outcroppings and is said to resemble Fudaraku, the paradise of Kannon placed in southern India.

The honzon of this Shingon temple is an 11 faced Kannon, said to be carved by Kobo Daishi who is also claimed as the temples founder, though other sources attribute both to Gyoki.

While I was visiting a group of modern day yamabushi were in the process of leaving. In their immaculately clean costumes and air-conditioned tour bus it was hard for me to reconcile them with the yamabushi of old.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Kokura Illuminations

At the end of my sixth day walking the Kyushu Pilgrimage I reached Kanda and took a train back to Kokura where I had a good deal on a hotel room.

It was still early in the new year so the illuminations were still up along the river near the Riverwalk Complex.

And there's not much else left to be said.......

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fudo Myoo of Shikoku part 11

Continuing with more photos of Fudo Myo statues found along the Shikoku Pilgrimage. This first one is at Jofukuji, bangai temple 14, commonly known as Tsubaki-do, in Ehime near the border with Kagawa on the way to Unpenji.

This smaller one is also at Tsubaki-do

When I reached Unpenji there had been snow overnight.....

Set among a group of other statues, Zentsuji, temple 75, is a massive complex due to it being the birthplace of Kobo Daishi.

This final one is at temple 76, Konzoji, not far from Zentsuji.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Matsuo Shrine, Minamikokura

Just around the corner from the Sohachiman Shrine was the back entrance to a smaller shrine named Matsuo Shrine, a branch of the famous Matsuo (or Matsunoo) Taisha near Kyoto.

The two main kami are Oyamagui and his wife Nakatsushimahime,  believed to be the ancestral kami of the Hata clan who founded Matsuo Shrine as well as Fushimi Inari. The signboard here also lists Onamuchi, one of the names of Okuninushi.

It also lists a Taga Shrine as a Massha. Massha and Sessha are secondary shrines usually within a shrine grounds. Historically the two were a little different but the distinction is no longer valid, basically it means that the kami of the secondary shrine has some sort of relationship, often familial, with the main shrine kami.

The kami of the Taga Shrine is unclear.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Kikuya Residence

The Kikuyas were a rich merchant family who helped build and run the old castle town of Hagi. Their residence was built in 1602 and is one of the oldest and best preserved example of Edo Period merchant architecture in Japan.

The interiors of the buildings are filled with displays, including an office area. In many ways the Kikuya residence was built way above their station as merchants were the lowest of the 4 classes with only various "non-persons" below them, but as the Edo period went on they became richer and richer and the highest class, the samurai, became poorer and poorer.

The kitchens and domestic areas are also open and filled with artifacts.

Previously I posted on the gardens surrounding the residence, but next up is the neighboring park-like garden that contains a more modern mansion residence

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sohachiman Shrine

Located in Nakanuki, near Sone in Minamikokura, Sohachiman shrine is quite a popular shrine in the area and is known particularly for prayers for a long life and also for enmusubi, finding a partner.

As a Hachiman shrine the main kami enshrined here is listed as Homuda Wake, the name of Emperor Ojin, but unlike most other hachiman shrines it does not list his mother, or father, or wife. It does however enshrine the three Munakata goddesses, Takirihime (Tagorihime), Ichikishimahime, and Takitsuhime.

However the main focus for visitors to the shrine is a massive boulder, split in two, called Suzuiwa, which enshrines the goddess Iwanagahime, one of two daughters of Oyamatsumi offered to Ninigi, the grandson of Amaterasu and mythical ancestor of the imperial line.

Ninigi rejected here because she was not as pretty as her sister, and in response she vowed that from now on the lives of the emperors as well as all other humans would be as brief as the blossoming of the cherry blossoms. This is why she is prayed to for longevity. The fact that the rock is split into two parts, one male the other female, is the reason people come here to pray for enmusubi.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Walk Around Dogo Day 1

By the end of the first day of my walk I had reached a small campsite in a beautiful little cove. I had been wanting to walk around Dogo, the largest of the Oki Islands, for a long time and last May I finally made it. Not a long walk, only 75 kilometers, and it took just three days.

The day started with some bullfighting, or rather bull sumo, a tradition of the Oki islands and still very popular on Dogo.

Then I headed east until I hit the coast, stopping in at shrines along the way looking for Kojin, the serpents made of straw....

On the way up the east coast I stopped in at Sasaki-ke, a traditional residence of a well to do family,

Then up the coast as far as the Jodogaura coast, one of the many areas of special geologic interest around the coastline. I had the campsite to myself.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Shodoshima.... more words, more photos

Last Christmas and new Year I spent 10 days on Shodoshima, primarily walking the 88 temple pilgrimage route. I really enjpyed the island and pilgrimage, and I have started to post about it here on this blog, but I have already posted lots of articles and photos over at, so here are the links.
First a general article about the pilgrimage

then 4 articles on the amazing cave temples found there

finally a series of diary blogs from the pilgrimage