Showing posts with label kannon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kannon. Show all posts

Friday, June 21, 2024

Hikasaji Temple 32 Iwami Ginzan Kannon pilgrimage


Hikasaji is a small, Soto Zen temple about one kilometer upstream from my village. I was walking day 6 of my walk along the Iwami Mandal Kannon pilgrimage. heading upriver to the next couple of temples on that pilgrimage.

Hikasaji is not on that pilgrimage, but is temple 32 on the Iwami Ginzan Kannon pilgrimage, a recently rediscovered pilgrimage route from the Edo period.

In the early Edo period the Tokugawa government took over the silver mine at Iwami Ginzan and made it their territory. It encompassed all the land from this side of the Gonokawa River up to the border with Izumo. The Iwami Kannon pilgrimage I have been walking covers all of the Iwami area including the other side of the river. I am guessing the new Iwami Ginzan Kannon pilgrimage dates back to then.

I can find no information on when Hikasaji was founded. The Kannon statue that was the honzon no longer exists, but there is a newish Kannon statue on the grounds.

The temple gate is quite nice, and there is also a small bell tower.

The documents about the old Ginzan pilgrimage were recently discovered in an old storehouse belonging to a former samurai family a few more kilometers upstream near to the next temple I will stop at.

The previous post in this series on day 6 of my walk was on the koinobori hanging across the river in front of the temple.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Gokurakuji Temple Kinosaki


Gokurakuji Temle is a Rinzai Zen temple tucked away down a back lane in Kinosaki Onsen and is hardly visited by most visitors to the town.

In front of the main gate is a hillside rock garden dotted with statues and a pond with what I presume is a Benzaiten Shrine.

The temple dates back to around the beginning of the 15th century, but fell into disuse and was revived in the early 17th century by the Zen monk known as Takuan after the pickle he is said to have invented.

He resided for some years at Sukyoji Temple in the nearby castle town of Izushi and is said to have been a frequent visitor to Kinosaki's onsens.

On the hillside just above the temple is a Rakuju Kannon statue that I didn't visit, but the rock garden in front of the main gate has several other Kannon statues as well as a Fdo and a Jizo.

The main hall is registered as an Important Cultural property even though it was built in 1921, it seems quite elegant. The main gate is also registered and dates back to the late 17th century.

The water in the Tsukubai basin is piped from a sacred spring behind the temple famed for its healing qualities and said to have been discovered by the monk who discovered the hot spring and founded the nearby Onsenji Temple.

The jewel in the crown of the temple though is the Seikantei "dry" garden which features sections of both black gravel and white gravel .

 The honzon of the temple is an Amida Nyorai, and there is also a Koshin-do in the grounds (photo below)

The previous post was on the magnificent Seikantei Garden. Also nearby is Onsenji Temple

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Saigokuji Temple Sasaguri


Sasaguri is a small town in a narrow valley in the mountains NE of the major urban area of Hakata/Fukuoka City in northern Kyushu.

It is home to a delightful miniature version of the Shikoku Ohenro pilgrimage that while only 50 kilometers in length, takes a good 4 or sometimes 5 days to walk as there is so much up and downing in the mountains.

With 88 temples crammed together in such a small area, it is perhaps surprising that you pass by numerous other temples that are not part of the pilgrimage.

Saigokuji is one such temple, and like many on the pilgrimage, is small and uninhabited, but also with quite a few small structures containing many statues.

I can find no information about it except that it is a Tendai temple. There were a couple of Fudo statues, but Kannon seems to be the primary focus.

It is located just upstream of the reservoir behind Narufuchi Dam and just a few minutes walk from the Goto Falls Bato Kannon Temple. We visited at the end of a long first day walking the pilgrimage that had included seeing  literally thousands of statues.....

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Hoko-in Temple 70 Kyushu pilgrimage


A statue of Kobo Daishi, the focus of the Kyushu 108 sacred sites pilgrimage, stands outside temple 70, Hoko-in near Arita in Saga.

I reached it on day 70 of my walk along the pilgrimage, a curious coincidence.

A large Bokefuji Kannon statue stands in the grounds. An increasingly popular form of Kannon, prayed to for protection against dementia and senility.

The honzon is a "secret" 11-faced Kannon, and the temple is also part of the Kyushu Kannon pilgrimage.

The temple was founded in the early Edo period when a monk came down from nearby Mount Kurokami.,A shugendo center, and home to temple 69 which I will be visiting tomorrow.

With the ban on Shuigendo in the early Meiji period the temple fell into disuse and disrepair, but was revived in 1968. The Daishi statue in the Daishi Hall was brought from another Shugendo mountain temple, underscoring the historical connection to Yamabushi.

The temple unusually has a Mizuko hall as well as the main hall and Daishi hall.

This was to be the only temple of the day for me as I spent the rest of the day as a tourist exploring Arita.

The previous temple was number 79 Zenpukuji.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Ikitsuki Giant Kannon


Japan is home to many monumental Buddhist statues, perhaps the most well-known being the one at Todaiji in Nara, though another in Kamakura is also very famous. The ones in Kamakura and Todaiji are quite old, the one in Nara dating all the way back to the 8th Century, however, the late 20th century and early 21st century saw many newer ones erected. like the enormous reclining Buddha in Sasaguri. 

The Bodhisattva Kannon, known to many as a "Goddess of mercy", has had numerous truly gigantic statues of her erected not just in Japan but also across East Asia. Many of these Giant Kannons are depicted standing and are constructed out of modern building materials rather than cast in bronze or carved in wood or stone. The one in Kurume is a good example, or the now demolished one on Awaji Island.

The Giant Kannon on Ikutsuki Island in Nagasaki is among Japan's largest seated bronze statues. It is also one of the least-known.

It stands 18 meters tall including the 3-meter pedestal. It weighs 150 tons. It was erected in 1990.

It was erected for World Peace, the spirits of mariners and fishermen, and to pray for the safety of the fishing boats embarking from the harbour below.

Underneath the statue is a small temple with a 1:10 scale replica of the statue, many other Kannon statues, and a fine pair of Nio guardians.

Ikitsuki Island is accessible via a bridge from Hirado Island which is itself accessible from the Nagasaki mainland. The previous post was a short guide to Hirado.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Tsurugake Kannon Saifukuji Temple 76 Kyushu pilgrimage


Saifukuji Temple, number 76 on the Kyushu Pilgrimage, is located on a mountainside overlooking the Sasa River north of Sasebo, Nagasaki.

The road up to the temple was a long gentle slope, for which I was grateful. The biggest building was a very large, modern house, I'm guessing the priest's residence.

A small main hall had a statue of Kobo Daishi standing outside it.

There were rows of Mizuko Jizo lining the approach.

The most interesting thing was the okunoin of the temple, a cave in the cliff behind the main hall.

It is said that the cave had been used by yamabushi, mountain ascetics, since the Heian Period.

It is actually not really a cave anymore as the ceiling has collapsed, leaving a stone bridge, or arch.

There were many small altars within the okunoin, and, not surprisingly,  a predominance of Fudo statues.

The temple itself is actually not so old, being founded in the late Meiji Period, but its origins go back a bit further.

At the end of the 16th century was the Warring States Period was coming to a close, a battle took place here between two rival clans.

In the late 18th century the Hirado Lord laced 5 statues on the mountain, including a Kannon, as a prayer memorial to the samurai who had died. Over time the statues were forgotten and buried by landslides.

In 1894, a local man, a devout worshipper of Kannon, became mortally ill and had a vision showing where the statues were buried. His family dug in the spot and found the statues, including the Eleven-Faced Kannon which is the honzon of Saifukuji. The man was miraculously healed and the Kannon has become famous ever since.

The previous post was on the Sechibaru Coal Mine Museum at the foot of the mountain.