Sunday, July 30, 2017

Orochi Spectacular


Last night we went to Hamada to see the annual Orochi Spectacle. They close off the center crossroads in town and put on regular kagura and end with a unique version of Orochi.

Most versions of Orochi don't show the start of the dance which depicts the second to last daughter being sacrificed to Orochi, the 8-headed serpent.

Then the hero Susano arrives. Usually he is alone but a second hero accompanied him in this version. My guess would be his son Isotakeru who according to one of the versions of the myth came with him from the Korean peninsula.

The parents of Kushinada, the last daughter, are instructed by Susano to prepare vats of sake which are then drugged so as to disable the serpents. In return for saving Kushinada from her fate she is given to Susano as a bride.

Then the Orochi arrives. Originally the dance only had a single dancer dressed as the serpent. Here in Iwami it was developed to include 8 serpents in the dance, though many shrine performances will only have four due to space and kagura group size limitations. What is unique about this performance is fully sixteen serpents take part.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Nachi Cliche

Ranking up there with a bullet train in front of Mount Fuji, a geisha in Gion, a tunnel of torii at Fushimi Inari, and sunset at the floating torii of Miyajima, the pagoda with Nachi Falls behind it is a full fledged Japan photo cliche.....

So here are a few of mine.....

Taken on the first day of my walk along the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, the first few days of which follow the Kumano Kodo....

Earlier that morning I had visited Fudarakusan Temple where monks would set of on suicide boat journeys,..... earlier today I was reading that monks used to jump off from the top of the falls as another way to quickly reach Kannons paradise...

Monday, July 17, 2017

An Oita Shopping Arcade

On my way out of town to walk upriver to Bungo Ono I passed through one of Oita's covered arcades.

This one had a huge model of what I believe is a Portuguese sailing ship. commemorating the city's historical connection with Portuguese trade as well as Christianity.

Arcades are a pleasant way to walk across a city without having to deal with traffic too much

Though during the daytime they can be crowded with pedestrians and bicycles

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Shodoshima Pilgrimage Temple 6 Tanoura-an

Early morning on my first day walking the Shodoshima Pilgrimage  and I came down out of the bamboo forest into the upper part of the little, but famous, fishing village of Tanoura.

Tanoura-an is the small buddhist temple for the village, but it is also the shrine. They are quite clear that they didn't separate the two when ordred to by the government in the late 19th Century.

Obviously there was once a huge tree here :). The main deity of the temple is Amida.

In its own little case was a Jizo statue that attracts people from further away than the village as it has a reputation for removing warts.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Kyushu Pilgrimage Day 12 Oita to Bungo Ono

Day 12 was going to be a long day, but I kept my room in Oita and would come back by train so I could walk the day without a heavy pack.

My route was inland following the Ono River as far as Bungo Ono. Along the way there would be numerous shrines, some cliff carvings, 2 pilgrimage temples, and some great views.

The second of the pilgrimage temples has a claim to be the oldest temple in all of Japan......

The weather was great in late February, though a little chilly in the shadows....

Friday, July 7, 2017

Yukie Shrine, Osafune

Coming to the end of my first day walking along the Chugoku Kannon Pilgrimage and after spending a few hours walking down the banks of the Yoshii River in Okayama, I arrived at the village of Osafune.

Yukie Shrine is at the north end of what was a swordmakers village. The kami enshrined is known as the patron of swordsmiths, though I could not find a name. Sometimes Inari has that role.

It is known as a shrine to pray for relief from eyes diseases as the legend says that Takauji Ashikaga prayed here and his eye disease was healed.

Just south of the shrine are workshops where swords are still made and a sword museum, and that is where I headed to end the day.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Samurai carvings at Yasaka Shrine in Oita

Unlike the carvings on the gate at Yusuhara Hachimangu, the carvings on the Yasaka Shrine gate are cruder.

Another big difference is that are they painted quite brightly.

The subject of the carvings is also different..... here they are of samurai.though I have een unable to find out the story that is being depicted.