Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Honmyoji Temple


At the end of the long approach to Honmyoji Temple, visitors arrive at the Chuomon gate which, to me, looks quite Chinese in design and style. Honmyoji belongs to the Nichiren sect and is the highest-ranking temple of the sect in Kyushu. It was founded by the famous warrior Kato Kiyomasa who was a fervent follower of Nichiren.

It was originay founded by Kiyomasa in Osaka in 1585 to console the spirit of his deceased father, In 1600 the teple was relocated to within the grounds of Kumamoto Castle where Kiyomasa was based. In 1611 Kiyomasa was buried in a grave on the hilltop above where the temple now stands, looking over Kumamototo the castle.

The temple was moved to its present site in 1614. The current main hall however ony dates back to 1884, being rebuilt after it was burned down during the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877. There is a museum devoted to Kiyomasa in the temple grounds. 

The temple and the park around the grave on the hilltop are very popular during the cherry blossom season, and on the last weekend, in March the cherry trees and the approach road up to the temple are illuminated. 

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