Showing posts with label kinosaki.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kinosaki.. Show all posts

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

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Seikantei Garden Kinosaki


Gokurakuji Temple is hidden away in a corner of Kinosaki Onsen and is barely visited by the majority of visitors to the resort town, who will miss a quite remarkable garden.

Called Seikan Tei, it is a karesansui, "dry garden" most often associated with Zen, and Gokurakuji is a Rinzai Zen temple.

It is somewhat unusual in that the garden is in front of the main hall and the entrance pathway cuts right through it. many of the traditional gardens were built to be viewed from the rear of the main hall or from the Abbot's residence.

The most unusual thing, to my mind, was that one half of the garden used areas of white gravel and dark gravel, something I don't remember noticing before.

The light and dark areas are separated by a border made of roof tiles set vertically, something that is quite common.

Actually the light areas inside the dark ground form the Chinese character for kokoro, "heart". This is sometimes the shape of ponds.

The rock and moss "islands" in the sea of gravel  also use standard design representations, there being a Crame Island, a Turtle Island, a Three Buddhas Island.....

The garden uses a red rock brought from Kurama, a blue rock from Yoshino, and Shirakawa sand from Kyoto.

 I have been unable to establish when the garden was built. Most sources suggest it is fairly modern and a photo of it dates to 1976.

One source suggests it was designed by a disciple of Mirei Shigemori.

Entry is free, so if you are in the area it would be well worth a visit.

Later I will post on the temple and its history and the nice rock garden in front of it.

The previous post in this series on Toyooka was on the lower part of nearby Onsenji Temple.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Niomon & Yakushido at Onsenji Temple


Onsenji Temple in Kinosaki Onsen, Hyogo, is the guardian temple of the town and was founded in the eighth century by the priest said to have discovered the hot spring.

The main buildings of the temple are located halfway up the mountainside and are reachable by steps from the base of the mountain, or, more commonly nowadays, by the ropeway.

At the bottom of the steps there are several; structures of the temple including an impressive Niomon, and a Yakushi-do.

Constructed in the late 18th Century, the Niomon contains a fine pair of Nio guardians.

The Yakushi-do was constructed a little later in the early 19th Century.

There is another small "hall" with what appears to be statues of Enma and other "Judges of Hell"

In the "foyer" of the Yakushi-do are many ema paintings and a delightful painted ceiling

The Motoyu, or origin of the hot spring is located just outside the temple grounds.

Onsenji is a Shingon temple.

The previous post in this series on Toyooka was on the main buildings of Onsenji.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Onsenji Temple


Onsenji is the guardian temple of Kinosaki Onsen in Toyooka, Hyogo, and is located halfway up Daishiyama Mountain overlooking the hot spring town.

According to the legend it was founded in 738 by Dochi Shonin who spent 1,000 days in ascetic practise before a spring arose. It was traditional for visitors to visit the temple before heading to the healing baths of Kinosaki.

There are some temple structures at the base of the mountain where the steps up to te main temple begin, and the temple also has its own stop of the ropeway that goes to the mountaintop where the okunoin of the temple ( photo 8) is adjacent to the ropeway station.

The main hall of the temple dates back to the late 14th century and is the oldest wooden building in the former province of Tajima.

The honzon is a "secret buddha" and is only shown to the public once every 33 years. It is a Thousand-Armed Kannon built from a single piece of wood said to be from the same tree as the honzon of the famous Hasedera Temple in Nara.

Set among some giant trees, the temple has a Tahoto, a Shingon-style pagoda, was rebuilt in 1767.

Though the honzon is not shown, the main hall does have some nice statuary and the settings and architecture of Onsenji are quite picturesque. I will cover the main gate and lower buildings in a later post. The previous post in this series on Toyooka was the Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway


Kinosaki is a very popular hot spring resort near the Sea of Japan in northern Hyogo that is easily accessible from the big cities of Kansai by regular express trains.

Occupying a narrow valley that runs into the Maruyama River and from the top end of the town there is a ropeway running up Mount Daishi.

The top station is at 230 meters above sea level and from it you have great views down on the town and out to the sea. There is also a cafe here and the okunoin of Onsenji Temple. There is a hiking path down the mountain to the temple and then on down to the town as well as further up into the mountains.

The length of the ropeway is just 676 meters and it takes just 7 minutes. 

Unusual for ropeways, the Kinosaki Ropeway stops at an intermediary station on its way up and down. Onsenji Station is adjacent to the main buildings of Onsenji Temple.

Previously I have posted a brief introduction to Kinosaki Onsen. Another ropeway I posted about recently was the Kankakei Gorge Ropeway on Shodshima.