Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Enmyoji Temple 53 Shikoku Ohenro pilgrimage


Enmyoji, temple 53, is just a couple of kilometers from temple 52, Taisanji, and is located in the northern outskirts of Matsuyama City.

It is much smaller than Taisanji but has an unusual pair of Nio in the gate.

It is yet another temple attributed to Gyoki who carved the Amida statue while in the area in the mid 8th century.

At that time it was located closer to the seashore.

When Kobo Daishi visited later in the 9th century he revived the temple.

It burned down numerous times during the Kamakura period and was moved to its current location in the early 17th century.

The temple fell into disuse after 1868 with the anti-Buddhist and separation of Buddhas and kami movements but began rebuilding at the end of the 19th century.

As well as the Nio and their quite remarkable eyes, other things to look out for are the roof decorations.

On the Daishi-do in particular, photos 6 and 7 above, there are some delightful creatures and figures.

Also noteworthy is the statue of Binzuru in front of the main hall. Rubbed smooth by petitioners, this red statue is fairly common at many of the henro temples.

Also worth seeing is a "Maria Kannon". These were a kind of statue worshipped by Hidden Christians during the time Christianity was outlawed. With a lantern placed on top the cross form became obvious and the carving of Kannon was often conflated with Mary.

Enmyoji is also quite famous as the home of a copper ofuda, Pilgrim name slip, dated to 1650, the oldest known of such an object.

The previous post in this series on Ohenro temples was Taisanji. A second post on Taisanji focussed on the artwork at the temple.


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