Showing posts with label arao. Show all posts
Showing posts with label arao. Show all posts

Monday, July 26, 2021

Ariake Naritasan Taishoji Temple 101 Kyushu Pilgrimage


As I approached the 101st temple of the Kyushu pilgrimage I was not sure I was at the right place as it really didn(t look like a temple at all. To my untrained eye it looked quite Chinese and possible SE Asian in design. The whole place, except for a small Daishi-do, was made out of concrete, which is actually not that unusual.

It's a branch of the famous Naritasan temple up in Chiba and like the mother temple, Fudo Myo is the honzon. I&s not a very old temple, but seems to be very popular judging by the size of the car park.

In the car park was a "chapel" devoted to blessings for vehicles and drivers, which leads me to believe a focus of the temple, and a reason for its popularity, is on Genze Riyaku, which translates roughy as "this-worldly benefits".

That is to say a focus on services for attracting health, wealth, success, and protection against any kind of misfortune.. Though Buddhism in Japan is said to be funerary-based, and "shinto" is said to be nature based, both religions focus a lot on genze riyaku.

Visiting was a somewhat strange experience.

The main hall of the temple is triangular in shape, the first time I can ever recollect seeing such a shape in temple buildings.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Greenland Amusement Park


For several hours while heading for the next temple on the pilgrimage, I seemed to be heading directly for some kind of multi-colored tower. Turns out the temple is adjacent to a huge amusement park.

The "tower" I was seeing was in fact a huge Ferris wheel seen edge-on. At 105 meters tall its not the tallest in Japan, but close. Greenland Amusement Park claims ro be the biggest amusement park in West Japan, but I think that must exclude kansai.

It has numerous rollercoasters including one of the longest in Japan. I think the name should probably be Green Land, ratherb than the name of the north atlantic island. There seems to be no theme to the park though a couple of attractions relate to Egypt.

It is a full resort with a golf course for the grown-ups and a large hotel complex. Its a bit out of the way with little public transport and is located in the foothills near Arao, Kumamoto.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Nobara Hachimangu


The Hachiman shrine in Nobara near Arao in Kumamoto is a fairly typical local shrine, though the entrnce gate is larger than most. The banners suggest that a matsuri has recently, or will soon, be held.

I previously posted about the two pairs of komainu I found here, There was a pretty big tree in the grounds, but otherwise not much else to see. However, I read that there are several small burial mounds within the grounds.

Since arriving in Japan I have read continually that "shinto" considers death very taboo and will have nothing to do with it, leaving such things to the Buddhists to deal with, however, in Izumo, here in Kyushu, and also on Shikoku I have come across shrines built on top of or in close proximity to ancient burial mounds/

The shrine was founded about 1,000 years ago at the end of the Heian Period. Hachiman shrines are the most common village shrines in Japan. The Hachiman cult was originally based in northern Kyushu, and did spread in Kyushu in ancient times.

However, it was when Hachiman was taken up to Nara to protect the new "national" temple of Todaiji, that it began to spread more widely. When an oracle proclaimed that the true identity of Hachiman was in fact Emperor Ojin, the cult became much more powerful.

Some hachoman shrines claim to be derived from the original in Usa, Oita, but apparently two thirds of Hachiman shrines in Japan claim to be derived from Iwashimizu Shrine south of Kyoto and not directly from Usa.Not all Hachimans are equal it seems. There is no mention of the origin of this particular Hachiman shrine, though I do know of Hachiman shrines in Kyushu that went all the way up to Iwashimizu to bring back the "divided spirit" from that shrine rather than get it from the much closer Usa hachman.