Thursday, December 29, 2016

Komo Shrine

Just a short walk from temple 20 Sanjo-in, and on the route to the next temple, I stopped in briefly at Komo Shrine.

I had been here a few months ago during the fall colors time and so did not hang around this time.

I had thought that this was one of the older Hachiman shrines fromn Kyushu that had been in existence from the time before Hachiman was brought to Yamato, but apparently not. It was founded in the early Heian Period.

Its gate is an Important Cultural Property though and its an important local hachiman shrine. By the end of the day I would reach the original hachiman Shrine in Usa.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Sacred White Snake

White snakes are considered sacred in Japan, and are mostly associated with Benzaiten. I posted before on some white snakes found at Iwakuni.

This one however was on Okinawa at the sacred "power spot" Dai Sekirinzan at the far north of the main island.

Though now part of Japan, Okinawa did not share the ancient myths and gods of Japan, having their own traditions that are more connected to Chinese myths and legends than Japan.

Ishigaki Sea Salt

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Kyushu Pilgrimage Temple 20 Sanjo-In

Sanjo-in, temple number 20 on the Kyushu pikgrimage was a few kilometers outside of Nakatsu not too far from a major shrine, Komo hachimangu.

There were two very small halls and this must have been the main building although it was locked and there was nobody around.

The large Kannon statue was a Bokefuji Kannon, a modern version of Kannon that is becoming increasingly popular as its forte is prevention of senility and dementia.

There were some jizos as well, but there was not a lot to see. For many people the temples are the most important points of a pilgrimage, but for me they are just points along a journey....

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Yokote Otoshi-gu

Located out in the rice paddies in Yokote, a village about halfway between Mount Futago and the coast on the east side of the Kunisaki Peninsula, this shrine was a little unusual

The first unusual thing was that there were no stone Nio guardians that are at most of the other shrines I had visited in the area. This might mean that the shrine was established later than when the area flourished as a Shugendo center and most of the shrines, temples,  and statuary were made, in the late Heian early kamakura period.

The other unusual thing for me was the kami enshrined here, Otoshi, one of Susano's sons that is associated with rice. I don't remember seeing another Otoshi shrine during the past 2 days here in Kunisaki. It would be interesting to now the story of the shrines founding.

There was unfortunately no signboard at the shrine nor anyone around, so I couldnt find out any more.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Kyushu Pilgrimage Temple 19 Fumon-in

Fumon-in, number 19 of the 108 temples on the Kyushu Pilgrimage I was walking was very hard to find.

Just after sunrise I walked along the street of temples in Nakatsu where it was supposed to be but ended up walking past it several times as from its appearance behind a high wall it looked just like an old house.

At this hour there was no-one around, but the small urban yard was filled with statues. Always nice to find a Fudo.

There was also a small Inari Shrine.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Hunting the Fall Color 2016 Kegon-ji

On the tenth and final day of my walk along the last leg of the Saigoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage I reached the last temple, Kegon-ji in Gifu Prefecture.

Once the morning fog had burnt off the day had been sunny with clear blue skies. As I approached the temple the road was lined with maples and there were crowds of people.

In all respects the temple did not disappoint. Plenty of autumn display and plenty of statuary.

As I left there was a brilliant splash of color as a shaft of sun illuminated some maple just in front of the temples main gate. As I waited for the bus it began to cloud over. It rained for the next 24 hours.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hunting the Fall Color 2016 Day 8

The penultimate day of my walk was continuing on along the Nakasendo. The Post Town of Samegai was a pleasant surprise.....

Out in the country between villages a splash of color marked the site of a monument to someone I had never heard of.....

In the garden of a house in Kashiwabara the orange of ripe persimmons was another of the colors of autumn.

There was still a good bit of a sunny day left by the time I reached Sekigahara, and not having a lot of interest in samurai and their bloodthirsty battles I headed back to Hikone to explore some temples and shrines on Mt Sawayama to the northeast of Hikone Castle. The approach to Ii Shrine, enshrining one of the later Ii daimyos in the mid 19th Century was beautiful though the intricately carved shrine is completely enclosed in corrugated metal sheeting as it is in serious disrepair.

The big surprise of the day was Ryotanji Temple with several lovely gardens and a big collection of painted screens.....

Monday, December 5, 2016

Hunting the Fall Color 2016 Day 7

Across from where Nobunagas Azuchi Castle once stood I climbed the mountain on my way to Kannonji, the penultimate temple of the pilgrimage. Halfway up the mountain was Kuwanomidera, a little known but ancient temple that was a real deight not only for its fall colors but also for the statuary.

On top of the mountain was the ruins of a small castle from the warring-states period, then a short way down the other side Kanninji itself, where the Buddha himself was enjoying the Fall colors.

Jizo seemed also to be enjoying it.

The real surprise of the day, and perhaps the whole trip, was Kyorinbo, a small sub-temple located below Kannonji. In terms of Autumn display it rivals anything Kyoto has to offer. The thatched roof covered in maple leaves was particularly stunning.

I was disappointed that I would not be able to make it here for the night time illumination, but the final temple of the pilgrimage beckoned and so I headed off in the sunshine north along the Nakasendo.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Hunting the Fall Color 2016 Day 6

Mid morning I reached Chomeiji temple number 31 on the pilgrimage, and it was a riot of color

A little further on in Omihachiman at Himure Hachimangu they were preparing for some kind of fire festival later that evening. Unfortunately I wouldnt be able to stay for it.

I took the ropeway up to the top of Hachimanyama and found more color among the ruins of the castle there.

I finished walking this section of the pilgrimage early and headed back to Hikone. In the grounds of the castle there this guy was obviously enjoying the view.

The Genkyuen garden next to the castle was, as expected, a blaze of color

Friday, December 2, 2016

Hunting the Fall Color 2016 Day 5

Day 5 started out with a short ferry trip across Lake Biwa to the sacred island of Chikibujima and the shrines and temples there.

Across the lake at Nagahama I visited the Keiunkan, a villa built for Emperor Meiji to stay in. It has a lovely garden.

In front of the reconstructed Nagahama Castle was a small park.

Wandering through the Kurokabe area I glimpsed some nice color along the water.

The Ando house had a very nice, compact, town garden

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hunting the Fall Color 2016 Day4

Fall Colors in Japan

Fall colors in Japan.

Day 3, the walk from Takahama to Obama was fairly dreary and overcast with showers so offered little in the way of fall colors, but day from Obama to the shores of Lake Biwa was fantastic. Instead of taking the direct route I took the opportunity to visit some of the many temples in the mountains south of Obama. This first was at Tada-ji, one of the lesser known temples of the area.


Not far away the Lower Wakasahiko Shrine, one of the main shrines of the aream was carpeted in Gigko leaves.

Fall colors in Japan 2016.

On the opposite side of the valley a little further up was Montoku-ji, known for its delightful garden.

Fall leaves.

Even further up the valley, Jingu-ji was superb and I had a real hard timer choosing from the many photos I took there....

Jinguji Temple.

High up in the next valley south was Myotsu-ji, and it too was a blaze of color throughout the temple grounds.

Carp Streamers in Japan