Showing posts with label carvings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label carvings. Show all posts

Friday, February 2, 2024

Kakaji Betsugu Hachiman Shrine


Kakaji is a town on the north side of the Kunisaki peninsula, and the Hachiman Shrine is te main shrine of the town.

The approach to the shrine crosses a stone-arched bridge across the Takeda River.

Built in the mid 19th century, this type of bridge was rare in the area.

The shrine is set in a forest of pines, and its main feature is an impressive two-storey gate.

One of the komainu guarding the approach is unusual in that it is standing upon a turtle. I can't remember having seen that before.

The main gate has numerous relief carvings.

Many sources suggest the gate may have been built in the late Edo period, but the late 19th century is more likely.

The gate houses two Zuijin, Shinto guardians.

They are unusual in that they are carved out of stone, not wood. I have seen other stone zuijin in the Kunisaki area, but not elsewhere.

The shrine was established in the early 8th century, before the  Hachiman cult spread to the Kinki region with its connection to the founding of Todaiji.

It is one of 5 "betsugu" of Usa Hachimangu. Bestsugu is often translated as "branch", but the relationship is stronger and more direct than that. Maybe "annex" would be more accurate.

As a Hachiman shrine it is now considered to enshrine Ojin, his mother Jingu, and a consort.

The three Munakata "sisters" are also enshrined here.

I visited at the end of my second day walking around the Kunisaki area following the old Kunisaki pilgrimage trail while starting the Kyushu Fudo pilgrimage. The previous post was on my walk from Oreki Temle to Kakaji.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Yasaka Shrine Itonaga


Itonaga is located in a narrow valley that runs up to Mount Futago in the middle of the Kunisaki Peninsula in Oita. It is one of 28 valleys that radiate out from the centre. It is now included in Akimachi.

The main shrine for the village is a branch of the famous Yasaka Shrine in Gion, Kyoto.

Like many of the shrines in the Kunisaki area, a pair of Buddhist Nio  statues stand guard.

Most Nio are carved in wood and range from being well- carved by experts, to being kind of chunky and funky, made by local artisans. When carved out of stone they tend to be less detailed.

This pair were quite unusual and "chubby"

The main building of the shrine had lots of intriguing relief carvings.

Yasaka Shrines enshrine Susano, his wife Kushinada, and 8 children. However, prior to 1868 the shrine was called Gion-sha and enshrined Gozu Tenno, known as an "Ox-Head King".

probably from India originally, and with some of his identity being picked up in Tibet, China, and Korea, Gozu Tenno was a curious, and complicated, mix of many different religious traditions,  protection against disease was a major attribute, and as such was instrumental in the now famous Gion Matsuri. The connection with Korea seems strong, maybe as the area around Kyoto was settled by Korean immigrants before it became the capital.

The previous post in this series documenting my 5 day walk exploring the Kunisaki Peninsula was on the Autumn Colours at nearby shrines.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Gesshoji Temple Matsudaira Tombs

Gesshoji Temple Matsudaira Tombs

Gesshoji Temple lies to the west of Matsue Castle and was used by the ruling Matsudaira clan as their funerary temple where tombs of succeeding daimyo were built

Consequently, the grounds are rather spacious, and not that well visited. 

The tomb of each daimyo has its own gate and there are plenty of stone lanterns given by vassals.

The gardens have a lot of hydrangeas, so in June and July it sees more visitors.

There are also Irises, cherry blossoms, and of course autumn foliage. There is a treasure hall with tea utensils and other artifacts from the clan, and a fine garden which I will cover in a later post.

Some of the gates to the tombs have some nice carvings, one in particular, the tomb of the 6th lord,  has a fine pair of carvings.

Thanks to Lafcadio Hearn, who lived nearby for less than a year, the most famous thing in the grounds is the giant stone turtle. He told how the turtle would wander around the area at night so the local residents placed the huge slab of stone on its back to prevent it....