Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Toyogahashi Bangai 8 on the Shikoku Ohenro


Eitokuji is a small temple between temples 43 and 44. immediately adjacent to a bridge, Toyogahashi.

It is the eighth bangai site on the pilgrimage. I have never read a convincing explanation why there are 88 temples on the pilgrimage. 88 is not a significant number in Buddhism. However, when you add twenty extra temples, known as bangai, you end up with 108 which is a significant number in Buddhism.

Some of the bangai temples entail a diversion from the main route, and most pilgrims don't visit them. However, some, like Toyogahashi, are directly on the main route, and so most pilgrims stop.

Underneath the bidge is a big altar, with the focus being a statues of Kobo Daishi asleep. The statue was wrapped in a new, thick, duvet when I was there.

According to the legend, Kobo Daishi could not find lodgings for the night and so had to spend the night under the bridge. From this legend come the tradition that pilgrims do not hit the floor when crossing bridges as Kobo Daishi may be sleeping underneath.

The temple has a small tsuyado, so that is where I spent the night.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Nakano Park Kurume


Nakano ark in Kurume, Fukuoka, is home to the Kurume City Aer Museum, the Shojiro Ishibashi Memorial Museum, and the main library.

The area behind the Art Museum has a large pond with bridges and koi.

A large section is landscaped as a traditional Japanese garden and includes a small waterfall.

When I visited in mid-winter it was the most enjoyable of the gardens in Kurume,...

Though at other times of the year I suspect the garden at Bairinji Temple, and the nearby Henshoin Garden would be more attractive.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Yakumo Honjin Museum


Yakumo Honjin is a large, Edo-period residence formerly owned by the Kowata Family that also functioned as a honjin, a guesthouse for the Daimyo while he was traveling. It has aso been epanded with the addition of various high-ranking samurai residences that were dismantled and moved from Matsue.

I previously posted  more info and a series of photos of the interiors. This time I will show you some of the displays of artworks and artifacts that were owned by the family.

There was the obligatory suit of samurai armour, but no swords. There was a palanqui, pictured above, and a series of lanterns.

Much of the art in traditonal Japanese residences was in the form of painted folding screens and painted sliding doors, some examples of which you can see in the previous post, but I was intrigued by this object. Not sure what it is, but seems to be a crane ridden by I presume a Daoist "immortal".

There were quite a few examples of hanging scroll paintings.

However, the most interesting displays for me were the collection of old masks. The first is either a tengu or Sarutahiko. The second one of the "strong men" heroes, and the third a Kitsune, fox.

Yakumo Hoinjin is located in Shinji about halfway between Izumo and Matsue, on the south shore of Lake Shinji.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Henshoin Garden


At one end of Teramachi in Kurume is a largish garden called Henshoin. Henshoin still exists , but the garden is a modern creation built adjacent to the temple.

It is a stroll^type garden with a large pond with a bridge. It was designed and built in the 1960's. It also ahs a small tea room which had been brought from Kyoto.

The garden was built to memorialize an Edo-Period samurai called Takayama Hikokuro whose grave is here.

He is said to have influenced Yoshida Shoin, one of the architects of the Meiji Restoration, and was considered an example of an imperial loyalist in the patriotic education of the 1930's. There is a famous statue of him at sanjo bridge in Kyoto.

In the dead of winter when I visited  the garden was not so colourful but I suspect it looks better in spring and autumn.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Kumadaniji Temple Niomon


The Niomon at Kumadanoji Temple, number 8 on the Shikoku Pilgrimage, is said to be the largest Niomon of all the 88 temples on the pilgrimage.

It was built in 1687 and stands 12.3 meters tall and 9 meters wide, and is an Important Cultural Property.. This was mu second visit to Kumadaniji, and the approach to the gate is famous for its cherry blossoms, though I have not visited at that time.

I am guessing that the pair of Nio statues also date from the time of the Niomons construction. Other buildings within the temple date from a few years later, so rebuilding the Niomon seems to have been a priority.

I was walking the Shikoku Fudo Myo Pilgrimage, so I revisited the first set of temples. and for the first day and a half my route followed the Shikoku Ohenro pilgrimage

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Kurume Temple Town


Like most of the former castle towns of the Edo Period, Kurume in Fukuoka is home to a street named Teramach.

Teramachi literally means "temple town" and is/was a district of Buddhist temples occupying adjacent plots of land, now a street with nothing but temples on either side.

The Lords of the domains would have family temples that were not usually in the Teramachi, and some older temples continued to occupy their original sites.

Some of the temples in Teramachi were newly founded, and some were moved from other locations. Most of the different sects are usually represented.

There is rarely any significant temples in teramachi, and as they are located in what are now modern cities,  they are often rebuilt in concrete.

However, they sometimes have nice, though small, grounds, so here are a few shots from Teramachi in Kurume.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Tenryuji Sogenchi Garden in Autumn


Though I usually try to post about less familiar sights in Japan, sometimes I go to the very popular places, especia;y when I have overseas visitors who want to see cliche Japan.

Sp here are some photos from one of the most photographed sites in Japan, the garden at Tenryuji Temple in Arashiyama, Kyoto.

If you like your zen moment to be shared with thousands of like-minded people, then Kyoto is the place to go;;;;

Tenryiji Temple is one of the World heritage sites in Kyoto.

The Sogenchi Garden is apparenty little changed from when it was created in the mid 14th cetury by Muso Soseki, the monk who founded the temple.

There are numerous gardens within the temples grounds, but the Sogenchi garden is the biggest and most well known.

Based around a large pond, the garden uses the "borrowed scenery" of the mountains behind.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Kora Grand Shrine


According to the shrine records, Kora Taisha was founded in 400 AD. Over the centuries it rose in rank and by the 10th century was a high-ranking shrine and the Ichinomiya of the province.

Enshrined here are a triad of kami, the central being Kora Tamatare no Mikoto, in al probability a local kami. He is now known as being a kami of martial arts, and also performing arts as a local form of kagura is said to have originated here.

The other two primary kami are Hachiman, and the Sumiyoshi kami. Both of these are originally north Kyushu kami, but I suspect they were added here at Kora Taisha after they became national kami, abd that adding them played a part in the shrine being "promoted".

The main building of the shrine date back to the middle of the 17th century. It is in Gongen Zukuri style, which was a heavily Buddhist-influenced style of shrine architecture that places the 3 separate parts of the shrine, the Honden, Haiden, and Heiden, under one roof.

During the same rebuilding, numerous Buddhist structures were also built, including a 5 storey pagoda, but all these would have been removed when the Meiji government "separated. " the Buddhas and kami

Thre are numerous secondary shrines within the main shrine grounds, and I also discovered a pair of fertility stones. Many people drive up to the shrine for the fantastic views down onto Kurume and out over the Chikugo River Plain.

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