Showing posts with label Kunisakihanto Minemichi Long Trail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kunisakihanto Minemichi Long Trail. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Mt. Ebisu Reisenji Temple


Reisenji Temle was one of the 12 main temples located in the heart of the Kunisaki peninsula in Oita that made up the unique Rokugo Manzan cult and pilgrimage, a form of Shugendo based on Usa Hachiman and  Tendai Buddhism.

Situated high up the Takeda River valley, one of the 28 valleys that radiated out from the volcanic heart of the peninsula.

The main gate was relocated here from neighbouring Rokusho Shrine after the separation of Buddhas and Kami. The shrine, Jisson-in Temple, and Reisenji Temple were all originally the same site.

Reisenji is nowadays number 14 on the Rokugo Manzan pilgrimage which can be followed along a recently renovated long-distance trail, the Kunisaki Hanto Moimemichi Long Trail. It is said the temple was founded in 718. The honzon is a Thousan-Armed Kannon.

The shrines and temples of Kunisaki are known for their stone Nio guardians, and Resenji is home to six, 2 of which are guarding the biggest Jizo statue in all of Kyushu.

Almost 5 meters tall, and made out of a single piece of stone, the Jizo was carved in 1860.

I visited at the start of my second leg walking the Kyushu Fudo pilgrimage during which I walked a large part of the Kunisaki pilgrimage at the start as they somewhat coincided. The previous post in the series was on the large Hachiman Shrine near the mouth of the Takeda River.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

From Orekiji Temple to Kakaji


Mount Shiritsuki, 587 meters, is clearly visible as I leave Oreki Temple and carry on up the road.

For a couple of hours, the road is forest and mountain with no habitations of any kind.

I'm on the second day of my walk along the Kyushu Fudo Pilgrimage, which for this first part also follows the old yamabushi Kunisaki pilgrimage now followable along the Kunisaki Hanto Minemichi Long Trail.

Every now and then the view opens up to the typical Kunisaki Peninsula landscape of cliffs and spires of rock, the kind of place that attracted yamabushi.

Eventually the road lead down past some mountain farms and eventually reached the main road running along the Takeda River. The next temple is not far upstream but that will be where I start on the next leg as I am heading home now.

The road runs north towards the coast where I will take the ferry across to Honshu.

Along the way I stop in briefly at some local shrines, a Wakamiya Shrine, a Yasaka Shrine, and a Hie Shrine, none with any interesting attributes, and none part of the syncretic shinto-buddhist Rokumanzan culture that is so intriguing in this area.

The largest settlement on the coast is Kakaji and there is a big shrine here for me to explore, but that will be the next post.

The previous post in this series was Oreki Temple.

It is the first week of  May and so the carp streamers are up......

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Oreki Temple 7 Kyushu Fudo Myo Pilgrimage


Oreki-ji is a small, Tendai temple in the mountains of the Kunisaki Peninsula, and is temple number 7 on the Kyushu Fudo Myo Pilgrimage.

It is less than 3 kilometers from Mudo-ji, temple number 6, that I had visited a little earlier.

Like Mudo-ji, Oreki-ji is one of the Rokugo Manzan temples of the Kunisaki Peninsula that developed its own unique form of syncretic mountain religion more than a millenia earlier, and that makes the area so intriguing to visit nowadays.

Just inside the gate, next to a large Wishing Jizo statue, is a small hall with a second set of stone Nio guardians. Inside are 33 Kannon statues.

Like all 28 Rokugo Manzan temples, Oreki-ji is said to have been founded by the monk Ninmon in 718, though many historians consider him to be more a legendary figure.

It was moved to its current location in 1625. The temple declined during the Edo Period and eventually became abandoned by the mid 19th century, but was revived by monks from Futago-ji.

The hinzon is a Thousand-armed Kannon, originally held in the okunoin further up the mountainside, but moved here after a fire. The Okunoin is now a Rokusho Shrine, but I did not make the climb up to it.

There is also a fine, Heian Period statue of Fudo Myo. Originally located in its own building on the other side of the river, it is carved out of a single piece of cypress and is registered as a Prefectural Important Cultural Property.

There are many other statues inside the main hall, including an En no Gyoja flanked by  2 demon servants ( photo 5 )

Since I first started exploring the Kunisaki area many years ago it has become more popular but still most visitors only visit a half dozen major sites, but it is well worth spending more time here and exploring more deeply as it is filled with sights to see. The Kunisaki Hanto Minemichi Long Trail is a walking route with minimal support infrastructure, but it roughly follows the old Shugendo  pilgrimage route. This was the second day of my walk along it.

The previous post in this series was on the nearby Misosogi Shrine.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Misosogi Shrine Kurotsuchi


There are many Misosogi shrines in the Kunisaki Peninsula area, and I recently learned that it was a name given to Rokusho shrines in early Meiji when Buddhism and Shinto were artificially separated.

Not all Rokusho shrines changed their names, and, like Misosogi, there are still many Rokusho shrines in the area.

This is because they are protective shrines for Rokugo Manzan, the unique mountain religion based on a mix of Usa Hachiman and Tendai Buddhism.

Many of these shrines are built into cliff faces.

This one was the former site of Mudo-ji Temple which was moved about 1.5 kilometers upstream at some point in the past and which I had visited earlier.

It was one of ten major pilgrimage temples in the central part of the peninsula and is known now for its wonderful collection of Heian-Period statues.

There was no info at the shrine but I am going to presume that, historically at least, the enshrined kami is Rokugo Gongen.

This was the second day of my walk along the Kyushu Fudo Myo Pilgrimage in which the first few days I followed the old Kunisaki Pilgrimage. The previous post was on the nearby Tsubakido Temple.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Worldly Benefits at Tsubakido Temple


There is a cluster of three related temples called Tsubakido in a small side valley in the mountains of the Kunisaki Peninsula, and they are very popular for the practice of a fundamental aspect of Japanese religious activity called genze riyaku, which translates as praying for benefits in this world rather than for any future world, paradise, heaven etc.

Benefits would include all kinds of success, in health, business, school, sports, love, childbirth, etc etc, as well as protection from disasters and misfortune like disease, traffic safety, fire, angry ghosts and demons, etc.

Many temples, and shrines, specialize in particular benefits, and some have a wide range of deities, altars, statues, etc dedicated to many different benefits. Tsubakido is one such temple.

According to the temple's origin story, Kobo Daishi himself visited this spot after returning from China. He struck the ground inside the small cave that now constitutes the okunoin of the temple, with his staff made of camelia wood and the sacred spring burst forth.

The water is considered healing water and bottles of it can be purchased and taken away. Piles of canes, casts, splints, braces, etc. attest to the miraculous healings that have taken place. Most curious are collections of black hair, said to be more than a thousand, that have been left by people healed by the waters.

There are numerous Kannons enshrined here, including a cancer-cutting Kannon, a Kannon for "mercy to all creatures", pictured at the bottom of this post, a kind of Japanese-Buddhist St, Francis, as well as Kannons for matchmaking, safe childbirth, and so on.

Outside, next to the bell tower is a newer Kannon, one that slows down the effects of senility..... a Kannon that is becoming more widespread as Japan ages rapidly.

As well as Kannon, the other very, very popular bodhisattva in Japan is Jizo, of which Tsubakido has many examples including the modern Mizuko Jizo, and an Osasuri Jizo that you rub on the part of the statues that you desire healing for your own body.

There is a branch of Fushimi Inari Shrine which is for prayers for business success. There are a couple of historical examples of onigawara roof tiles that are used to protect the temple buildings from evil.

Shamoji, the flat wooden spoons or rice scoops are used, like ema, to write prayers upon. This seems to have derived from an early 20th-century practice of praying for military victory.

The temple (s) are part of several pilgrimages, though not part of the Kyushu Fudo Myo Pilgrimage that I was on my second day of. I was also following the Minemichi Long Trail which roughly follows the old yamabushi pilgrimage route around the peninsula.

Worldly benefits temples like Tsubakido are usually very festive and colourful and often offer a staggering number of statues to experience. I suspect they are not hard up for money.

The previous post in the series on my walk around Kyushu on the Kyushu Fudo Myo Pilgrimage was devoted to the many statues of Fudo Myo found here at Tsubakido.