Monday, August 3, 2020

Torinji Temple the Oldest Wooden Building in Okinawa


Torinji Temple belongs to the Rinzai Zen sect and was established on Ishigaki Island and built in 1613, the same time as neighboring Gongendo Shrine. Like Gongendo Shrine it was built by the Satsuma Clan who had invaded the islands.

It is said that the building is the oldest wooden building in all the Okinawan Islands. In the gate are two Nio statues that are also credited with being the oldest wooden statues in all Okinawa.

Buddhism was introduced into Okinawa from China in the 13th century, but unlike in Japan, where it had been introduced from Korea in the 6th Century, it was never used to politically unify the country.

It would seem that both the shrine and temple were established by the Satsuma samurai for themselves as Zen was the sect of choice for many samurai. Behind the small main hall is the remains of a small garden.

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