Sunday, January 30, 2022

Sumiyoshi Inari Shrine

Sumiyoshi Inari Shrine

As well as the Mikka Ebisu Shrine, the grounds of Sumiyoshi Shrine in Hakata also contains an Inari Shrine.

It has a couple of small tunnels of vermilion torii, though much fewer than many Inari shrines.

The full name of the shrine is Arakuma / Shirahige Inari Shrine.

Behind the main hall of the shrine is a second Inari shrine called Nozoki Inari. It consists of a tunnel made out of a ile of rocks, and it is said that if you look into the tunnel and can see yourself reflected in the mirror at the rear then you will have your wish granted.

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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Kokubunji Byakuraku Shrine

Kokubunji Byakuraku Shrine

Coming into Niima at the end of my third day walking along the Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage I stopped in at the local shrine.

The name was quite intriguing, as kokubunji were the series of "national" monasteries established in the Nara period, one being established in each of the provinces, and I have visited the site of the Iwami Kokubunji in Shimoko near Hamada.

However, it turns out that the provincial capital was in fact originally here in what is now Niima, before being moved to Hamada. I had never known that before. So it turns out theshrine was built in the grounds of the earlier kokubunji.

The main kami of the shrine is Ikazuchi, a thunder god most well known as the kami of the famous  kamigamo shrine in Kyoto/

The shrine has now been combined with a Hachiman Shrine.

Within the grounds are several smaller shrines including an Imamiya and an Inari.

The shrine is listed in the tenth century Engishiki, which means it received offerings from the cetral government.


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Hita Preservation District


Hita is a small town in Oita, close to the border with Fukuoka, and on the Mikuma River, which runs into the Chikugo River.

The old part of town is called Mamedamachi, and is a Preservation District with streets of old buildings from various times in the Edo Period.

Due in large part to its location in the middle of northern Kyushu, with well established roads and river transport routes radiating out to other parts of Kyushu, it was pretty much the political and economic capital of Kyushu for several hundred years.

First it was directly controlled by Hideyoshi, and then his successor, Tokugawa Ieyasu. Following him it was controlled by the Bakufu, and as such was known as a tenryo town.

Certain sections of the old town are very tourist-oriented with lots of gifts shops etc, though there are a few small museums and some temples.

I will be posting about various sites in the town over the next few weeks.

I was here on day 53 of my walk along the Kyushu Pilgrimage.


Sunday, January 23, 2022

Mikka Ebisu Shrine


Mikka Ebisu is one of the shrines within the grounds of the Sumiyoshi Shrine in Hakata.

It's built on an island in a large pond.

Mikka means "third day" and refers to January 3rd, 1945, when the shrine was founded.

According to the story, a local man found a small wooden box containing a small Ebisu statue floating in the river. He took it home and consequently had a lot of good luck so decided it was due to the Ebisu statue and wanted to share the statue with others, so founded the shrine.

Being one of the shichifukujin, the seven lucky gods, the shrine is very popular, especially on the 3rd of january each year.

The gate, pictured below, dates back to the Edo period and leads into the Sumiyoshi Shrine and also to the Rakusuien Garden.


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Day 14 on the Ohenro Trail Winds Down

Ohenro Trail Day 14

Ohenro Trail.

The famous Shikoku Pilgrimage, known as Ohenro, was the first formal pilgrimage I walked. Hard to believe it is now over ten years ago. In early October 2011 I was on the 14th day of walking

These are a few of the snapshots I took towards the end of the day. Most of the day had been taken up with the climb to Konomine-ji, the 27th temple of the pilgrimage, and Konomineji Shrine nearby. Coming up the coast I stopped in at Cape Oyama

Tosa, the former name of Kochi, was one of the instigators of the Meiji Restoration, and there were statues of some of the major figures from Tosa associated with it. This is Ryo Narasaki, wife of the famous Ryoma Sakamoto.

For a section the path followed a cycle trail through the pines planted along the beach.

Like most areas of Japan, there were Kappa legends around here.....

As sunset approached I reached my destination for the night, the Haginori zenkonyado. Zenkonyados are free lodgings for walking pilgrims provided by individuals rather than temples. Hagimori-san is well known among walking pilgrims as a source of up-to-date information on free lodgings on the route. His little cabins are located under the elevated railway near Nishibun Station. Two other pilgrims stayed that night..... not a busy time on the route...


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Monday, January 17, 2022

Christmas Morning at a Tenmangu Shrine


Christmas Day, 2013, was the 53rd day of my walk around Kyushu on the Kyushu Pilgrimage.

I took an early morning train up the Chikugo River valley towards Hita to pick up the pilgrimage from where I had stopped the day before.

My first stop was a small Tenmangu Shrine. I'm not sure exactly which Tenmangu shrine it was as there are dozens of them in the area.

Dazaifu Tenmangu is a little to the north and it is the temple where Sugawara Michizane, deified as Tenjin, was buried, and so the cult spread throughout the region.

This particular shrine had been recently rebuilt and was sporting a fresh coat of vermillion paint.

There were also quite a few pairs of komainu lining the approach.

Best of all was that because of the strong, low, midwinter sun, the "golden hour" was still there several hours after dawn.


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Rakusuien Garden Hakata


Rakusuien is a small garden in downtown Hakata, located next to the Sumiyoshi Shrine.

The garden and house were built in 1906 as a second residence for a wealthy businessman.

The property is surrounded by a Hakatabei wall, that has rooftiles and other recycled building materials embedded in it.

After the war it operated as a ryokan, but in 1996 it was bought by the city and opened to the public as a garden.

A path encircles a large pond and crosses it via a small bridge, and the garden includes a small waterfall.

The rooms of the former villa that look out over the garden are open and visitors can enjoy a cup of green tea while viewing the garden.

I visited in early December and the autumn colors were still on display.

Like most Japanese gardens, Rakusuien is planted with a variety of trees and including Cherry, so has plenty of seasonal variation.

As well as the main house, there is also a small, rustic, traditional tea room that I will post about soon.

It is open every day from 9 to 5 except Tuesdays. Entry is a mere 100 yen, with matcha and seasonal sweet available for 500 yen.


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