Showing posts with label gate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gate. Show all posts

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Shofukuji Temple Nagasaki


Shofukuji is the 4th of the Chinese temples built in Nagasaki during the Edo Period. Like  nearby Fukusaiji Temple, it is not located in Teramachi like Sofukuji and Kofukuji, but north of the river.

The Sanmon, the main gate, was built in 1703. Along with the other main structures of Shofukuji, it is an Important Cultural Property and is currently undergoing major renovation.

Shofukuji was founded in 1677 by a disciple of Ingen, the founder of the  Obaku sect of Zen which had been founded in 1661. The other three Chinese temples became Obaku after 1661, but Shofukuji is the only one founded as Obaku.

The Tenmoden was built in 1705. The Japanese carpenters had started to slightly adapt and alter the Chinese style architecture.

When I visited in 2014 the place was deserted, somewhat run-down, and with no entry fee, so this contributed to an atmosphere. It is now undergoing major renovations so I suspect it will have an entry fee in the future.

The Tenmoden Hall contains a large statue of Hotei, one of the Seven Lucky Gods in Japan, and originally a Chinese monk named Budai. In the West, he is often referred to as the Laughing Buddha.

The main hall, Daiyuhoden, was built in 1697. Unlike the other Chinese temples in Nagasaki, much of the woodwork here was left unpainted.

The Bell Tower was built in 1716. Unusually the bell was not "donated" to the war effort in the 1940's like most temple bells.

Another difference between Shofukuji and the other Chinese temples in Nagasaki is that Shofukuji always had Japanese priests, whereas the other three started with Chinese priests.

The Kawarabei is an old wall constructed using old rooftiles and other decorations like Onigawara. Another thing to look out for is a monument to a young woman named Oharu who was expelled from Japan when all foreigners, excluding the Dutch, were expelled. Any Japanese families of Europeans expelled were also exiled. Also in 2020 a statue of Ryoma Sakamoto was erected to memorialize a meeting that took place here between the Tosa and Kishu clans.

The previous post in this series documenting my explorations of Nagasaki on Day 60 of my Kyushu Pilgrimage was on the statuary and architectural details of Kofukuiji Temple.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Sofukuji Temple Ryugumon


The main gate to Sofukuji Temple in Nagasaki must be one of the most photographed sites in the city. Ryugumon means Dragon Palace Gate.

The temple was built in 1629 with much of the architecture built and transported from China.

The Ryugumon was originally built in 1673 but was damaged and rebuilt several times. The current gate dates back to 1849.

Sofukuji is one of four big Chinese temples built in the early 17th century and belongs to the Obaku Zen sect.

Another of these temples, Kofukuji, lies to the north, and between it and Sofukuji is Nagasaki Teramachi, a line of temples set against the hillside.

The next temple on the Kyushu Pilgrimage is in Teramachi and this was where I was heading on Day 60.

The previous post was on one of the Chinese shrines, Tenkodo, in the old Chinese district of Tojin Yashiki.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Kongojoji Temple 100 on the Kyushu Pilgrimage


Probably the most famous part of Kongojoji Temple in Yamaga, Kumamoto is the circular stone gate.  Built in 1804 by a mason called Kikuchi, it uses the technology used to construct what are called "spectacles bridges" in Japan. It is nowadays touted as a "marriage power spot"

According to legend the temple was founded by Kukai himself who reputedly spent nine days here. It is a Shingon temple, as are all the temples on this pilgrimage, and the honzon is a Yakushi Nyorai.

There is a renovated Kannon-do (bottom photo) that I believe is the focus of the pilgrimage, and there were plenty of Kannon statues around.

In the 15th century, the local hot spring suddenly stopped, and a priest at the temple is credited with performing ceremonies that caused it to start up again. Paper lanterns donated after the event became the basis for the town's  famous lantern festival.