Sunday, September 17, 2023

Fukusaiji Temple


Shaped like a turtle with a great aluminum head protruding out and topped with a giant statue of Kannon, Fukusaiji Temple in Nagasaki is sure to be the strangest-looking zen temple you will ever see.

In its current form, it was built in 1979, however, it was originally founded as the second of the Chinese temples in 1628, just 5 years after Kofukuji.

The modern, Chinese-style gate is topped with a curious geometric sculpture that hints at what can be found within, a Foucault Pendulum, a scientific device used to show the rotation of the earth, the second biggest in the world when it was built.

Fukusaiji grew to become the biggest of the four Chinese temples and in 1910 the main hall was registered as a National Treasure.

Fukusaiji was completely destroyed in the atomic bombing.

The temple bell rings at 11.02am every day, the time of the bomb exploding.

As well as being a mausoleum, the basement also has displays of surviving remnants and photos from the original temple as well as uniforms and stuff from WWII Japanese soldiers.

Not too far from Nagasaki Station, Fukusaiji certainly has enough unusual sights to be worth a detour.

The circle in the ceiling and the metal fence around the circle in the floor are part of a Foucault Pendulum that starts inside the top of the 18-meter Kannon statue and ends in a metal sphere swinging over the remains of more than 16,000 Japanese war dead in the mausoleum in the temple basement.

The previous post was on the nearby  Shofukuji Temple, another of the Chinese Zen temples of Nagasaki, but which survived the war intact.

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