Showing posts with label fall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fall. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Glimpses of Futagoji Temple


Futagoji Temple is a large Tendai temple on the Kunisaki Peninsula in Oita, Kyushu. Pictured above are the steps leading up to the Okunoin.

Situated in the centre of the peninsula and on the lower slopes of its namesake, the highest point, 720 meters high Mount Futago.

Since the Edo Period, it has been the head temple of the Rokugo Manzan, the unique mountain-worshipping religion that is a syncretic mix of Tendai Buddhism and Usa Hachimangu shinto.

The honzon is a Thousand-armed Kannon and the temple has many other superb statues and paintings.

The Okunoin, further up the mountainside is set against a cliff and is well worth the extra climb.

On this trip I passed through the temple grounds fairly quickly as I was pressed for time and had to climb to the top of the mountain.

A few years later I returned and spent much longer here and took many more photos, so that will come in a later post on the Kyushu Fudo Myo Pilgrimage.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Chikurin-in Temple Gunpoen Garden


The Gunpoen Garden at Chikurin-in Temple in Yoshino is, along with one of the gardens at Taimadera and the one at Jikoin, classed as one of the Three Great Gardens of Yamato, and while having an intriguing history is hardly known at all.

Yoshino, in the mountains of southern Nara, is and was a centre of Shugendo, the mountain-worshipping cult, but is now most famous for its cherry blossoms, although the Shugendo sites are part of a World Heritage Site.

The small temple of Chikurin-in is now somewhat overshadowed by its lodgings facility, technically a Shukubo, but in essence a ryokan.

Historically the temple was a lodging for Shugendo pilgrims, and it is said many very famous guests have stayed here, including Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Emperor Hirohito.

The temple claims to have been founded by Prince Shotoku which would mean late 6th or early 7th century and it was called  Chinzan Dera. A couple of centuries later Kukai visited and changed its name to Josen-ji.

In 1385 it was renamed Chikurin-in, and in the late 16th century was moved to its current location.

The garden, a stroll-type with a large pond, is said to have been originally designed by Sen no Rikyu, probably the most famous tea master of all, although one of his most important students, the renowned general Yusai Hosokawa, is thought to have done further work on the garden.

What is often mentioned in reference to the garden here is that several cherry trees play a prominent part in the design and that this is quite rare in standard Japanese garden design. When I visited in November, the cherry trees were bare but a few maples were in full colour.

A path leads up to high ground above the garden where there is an archery ground and great views over the Yoshino mountains, the grand Kinpusenji Temple, and the rest of the  town.

The temple was closed down in 1874 with the shiunbutsu bunri edicts but re-opened later as a Tendai sect temple. In 1948 it became a Shingon temple.

Chikurin-in is situated at roughly the boundary between the Naka Senbon area and the Kami Senbon area.

I'm sure that when the cherries are blossoming in the late Spring then the garden is delightful, but a glorious Autumn day was just fine for me. I was the only person in the garden.

Monday, August 7, 2023

The Approach to Futagoji Temple


Mount Futago lies in the middle of the Kunisaki Peninsula in Oita, and Futago-ji Temple is situated about halfway up the 720 meter high volcanic peak.

From Mount Futago 28 valleys radiate out, one for each "chapter" of the Lotus Sutra, and with more than 32,000 stone statues, one for each character of the sutra, the peninsula is considered a "map" of the sutra and is home to an ancient yamabushi pilgrimage route.

Rougo Manzan is the name given to the syncretic religious system of the area based on a mix of mountain worship along with Usa Hachiman and Tendai Buddhism.

Futagoji, founded in the early 8th century continues to lie at the heart of this system and the area.

A modern road leads up to parking areas closer to the main temple buildings, but the best approach is the traditional one, crossing the Mumei Bridge and then up a long flight of ancient stone stairs passing though the mountain gate, said to be the oldest temple gate in the Kunisaki area.

The pair of stone nio were made in the early 19th century and at 245cms are the biggest stone Nio in Kunisaki. After passing through the gate the path leads past a large pond with a Benzaiten or Suijin Shrine.

On this visit I was on the last day of a 5 day walk crisscrossing the Kunisaki Peninsula hunting Autum Colours. The previous post was a Yasaka Shrine down the road.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Kingenji Temple


Kingenji is a very small temple in a remore location, high up in the Okuizumo area of the Chugoku mountains.

The small main hall is thatched and is quite picturesque. It is said to have been established around 1300, and is currently a Nichiren sect temple.

However, what brings visitors is the large gingko tree in front. Probably about 300 years old, in the Autumn its golden leaves cover the thatched roof and carpets the ground in front of the temple..

A rice paddy immediately in front of the temple is flooded in October, and so the reflection doubles the attractiveness.

In recent years the scene has been illuminated at night.

I visited in late November, and at this elevation, the autumn colors had passed and the paddy had been drained, but there were a few vestiges of color.....


Sunday, December 26, 2021

Autumn Splendor at Kigami Shrine


November 19th, 2021, the final stop on our local autumn colors day trip was Kigami Shrine.

Located at the bottom of the village of Omori that was the administrative headquarters of the Iwami Ginzan silver mines, it did not disappoint

It is a Hachiman Shrine, with several smaller shrines within the grounds, including an Inari Shrine.

I wish you all a healthy and happy holiday season and extend my best wishes for the new  year

Monday, December 20, 2021

Autumn in Omori


After leaving Chokoji Temple it was just half an hours drive u to Omori In Iwami Ginzan. On arrival we were treated to a classic Autimn scene,.... harvested rice in front of a thatched farmhouse.

Omori is the most visited of the haf dozen sites that make u the Iwami Ginzan UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is the settlement below the mine where the merchants, samurai, and bureaucrats lived.

Omori is primarily a long, single street alongside a small stream. We started at the top of the village and walked down to the bottom where the most important people lived.

There are a couple of side lanes that usually lead to temples, and its here that you find a kittle autumn color.

However, at the bottom of the village is the main shrine, and here we found an abundance of Autumn colr, so that will be next up.....