Thursday, November 30, 2023

Ishiteji Temple Part 3


In this third part to my post on Ishiteji Temple in Matsuyama, I show scenes from inside the Okunoin and then the second tunnel leading back to the main temple.

In PART 1 I looked at the entrance to the temple and some of the main buildings and also gave plenty of historical details.

In PART 2 I looked at the tunnel leading through the hillside and the approach to this Okunoin.

The inside of the unusual, spherical, okunoin is filled with many of the same kind of "folk" statues that were encountered in the tunnel.

The majority seem to represent the rakan, the 500 disciples of the Buddha that are often found as a group of statues at some temples.

There were other statues though, representing other bodhisattvas, buddhas, deities, etc

There seems to be quite an atmosphere of strangeness that some visitors seem to have found disturbing

I found it quite wonderful, like a huge, free, sculpture museum....

Leaving the Okunoin, I took a different tunnel back to the main temple

This had the same kinds of statues as the first tunnel, including many "standard" ones

As well as another chapel-altar covered in bibs

There were also paintings on some walls 

Before emerging once again into the sunlight in the main temple compound....

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Togitsu to Nagaura


Togitsu Town is situated at the southern end of Omura Bay in Nagasaki, and lined up at the waters edge were these four Ebisu statues. My guess is that they were collecetd from various points along the Nagasaki Kaido as it passes through what is now Togitsu.

The presence of a Honjin here shows a Nagasaki Kaido passed through here, and Ebisu statues are common along Nagasaki Kaidos in nearby areas.

I was taking the road that ran up the West side of the bay while the train line ran up the East side through Huis Ten Bosch. I came upon this remarkable little house with imaginative geometry.

I have been unable to find out anything about it or who the architect was.

The main road was still pretty built-up and busy but for much of the way Iwas able to take a smaller broad along the hillside where I visited quite a few shrines.

There were an awful lot of Love Hotels along the way. Not yet halfway between Nagasaki and Sasebo, I guess they were serving the Nagasaki market. They were more upmarket and modern than the  type of love hotel I usually encountered in rural areas.

Nagaura, a little fishing harbour about halfway up the bay, was where I had a room booked for the night, and as I headed up the narrow inlet to get there it became much less built-up and quieter.

The previous post on day 64 of my Kyushu walk was on Togitsu Inari Shrine.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Ishiteji Temple Part 2


Through the tunnel to the Okunoin

This is the second part of four on Ishiteji Temple in Matsuyama, Ehime.

It is the 51st temple on the Ohenro Shikoku Pilgrimage but is also very popular with non-pilgrims.

There are two tunnels that lead from the main temple, through the hillside, to emerge in a small valley behind the temple where the Okunoin, the inner temple, is located.

The tunnels have no lighting at all, so you need to take flashlights with you.

What you will encounter are some fairly standard jizo statues,....

But, a lot of very crude, wooden statues.....

I did hear one time that the carver of these statues was a relative of the head priest, however there are dozens and dozens of them throughout the temple, if not hundreds...

I took so many photos of these weird statues, which is why this post on Ishiteji is so big and spread over multiple parts.

There are a couple of "chapels" or altars along the way....

before the tunnel emerges into daylight and an imposing statue of Enma, king of Hell

There are also a series of other crude statues, some type of cement of plaster over a chicken wire frame....

These are already starting to deteriorate....

A huge, almost spherical, golden structure appears.....

This is the Okunoin, guarded by golden komainu.....

but thats for the next post....

Just outside the Okunoin was this skeletal statue of the historicalBuddha fasting.....

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Togitsu Yutoku Inari Shrine


Not far from the Honjin I discovered in Togitsu I encountered a small Inari Shrine.

Apparently, it is a branch of the famous Yutoku Inari Shrine not far away in southern Saga and not a branch of the head Inari shrine Fushimi Inari near Tokyo.

As with almost all Inari shrines, there were fox guardian statues. Though Inari is often mistakenly referred to as a "fox god", the foxes are messengers of Inari, not representations of Inari

There were multiple vermillion torii, though no actual "tunnel" as at many Inari shrines.

Surprisingly all the ema depicted horses, as this was spring 2014, a "Horse Year".

There were multiple Inari shrines in the grounds. Inari is well known for being a "peronalized" kami that exists in thousands of thousands of different forms.

The Chinses style guardian lion was unusual, though not too surprising as this was Nagasaki.

Thet two main representations of Inari are either as an old man carrying rice, or, as seen here, as a young maiden on the back of a white fox.

This representation has connections with the primarily Buddhist identity of Inari as Dakiniten.

Inari is sometimes connected to Benzaiten, another goddess with heavy Buddhist-shinto cross-over, and that may be behind the small figurine of the white snakes wrapped around the jewel of wisdom.

The previous post in this series on day 64 of my walk around Kyushu was on Togitsu.