Showing posts with label koshin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label koshin. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Inori no Sato Religious Roadside Attraction


Coming down from Unzen Hot Springs towards Obama on the coast of Tachibana Bay, the road is steep and without any settlements until just above the town.

Inori no Sato is sometimes described as a park, sometimes as a roadside rest area, but it looks like some kind of religious roadside attraction with a wide range of statues and altars, and yet is not a temple or shrine.

It is sometimes referred to as Unzen Daibutsu Inori no Sato because of the Buddha statue seen in photo 2, which was made by the same sculptor who created the Ushiku Great Buddha in Ibaraki.

That was a standing figure 120 meters tall, whereas the statue here is a seated figure only 3 meters high including the base.

There are several statues of Kannon, photos 3 & 7, and several Fudo Myo statues, photos 6 & 14.

Under a gazebo in the middle of the park is an impressive statue of a Dragon grasping a golden sphere, photo 5, with a smaller version, photo 8. This is a common symbol across East Asia. The Secven Lucky Gods, shichifukujin, also make an appearance, photo 4.

Various figures from the world of Yokai make an appearance, including a Kappa Pond, photo 9, and a giant red Tengu mask, photo 10.

No overview of Japanese popular religion would be complete without an Inari Shrine, photo 11, a small collection of monkey statues probably related to the Koshin cult, photo 13, and a statue of Shotoku Taishi, photo 12.

There seems to be an emphasis on praying for good luck, success, and other "this worldly benefits", known as genze riyaku in Japanese.

Not shown in these photos is a miniature Shikoku Pilgrimage with 88 small statues, and a pair of "sexual" statues based on Dosojin.

There is no entry fee, though offertory boxes stand in front of all of the statues, and no sect or religion is being pushed. The whole thing was funded by a local businessman, Mr Takujima.

It seems he is the chairman of a successful construction company and Inori no Sato is his attempt to contribute to the well-being and perhaps revitalization of the local area.

The previous post was on the Unzen Hells.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Mukai-an Temple Koshin-do Temple & Saisho-an Temple on the Shodoshima Pilgrimage

Mukai-an Temple


Christmas Eve, 2015, was fast drawing to a close, and I still had three more temples to visit on the route back to my ryokan. I had just come down  from Mount Dounzan and the amazing cave temples, Dounzan and Goishizan, and then stopped in at Jokoji, temple 8, on this, my first day walking the Shodoshima pilgrimage.


Temple number 7, as with 9 and 10, was just a small unmanned building. The honzon is an Amida.

Just a couple of days past the winter solstice, the sun was rushing down and it becane obvious that it would soon be dark so I did not tarry nor explore

Temple 9 was Koshin-do, a site of the very popular Koshin cult. A Daoist cult/faith, it is most well known nowadays for the three monkeys. Many Koshin sites also have these strange looking dolls called Sarubobo in some places.

Many Koshin sites are now classed as Shinto shrines, and some, like here, as Buddhist temples. The honzon here is a Fudo Myoo.

My route now took me along the main road of Noma. There was some nice traditional architecture, though my favorite of the day was the old school house that was made famous in a movie.


The sun dipped below the hills as I passed through the biggest soy sauce factory of the island. 

It was almost dark when I reached  Saisho-an, number 10. It was created in the separation of shrines and temples, and the honzon, an Aizen Myoo was originally in the shrine next door.

It was completely dark by the time I got back to my room, and a little while later there was a knock at my door. It was the old priest I had met at Kannonji, and then later at Dounzan. He had brought me a gift, a delightful print of Fudo Myo!! A truly excellent day to start the pilgrimage with, that bodes well for the coming days.

Wild Japan

Friday, April 8, 2016

More Monkeys of Koshinsha


I am intrigued by the eclectic collections of figures left at various kinds of "folk" altars around Japan.


So here are some more of the monkeys left at Koshinsha in Nogata.


Toys and dolls can often be found alongside icons from Shinto, Buddhism, Hinduism and even sometimes Christianity.


Sarubobo dolls and ema were also prevalent.


Monday, April 4, 2016

Some monkeys at Koshinsha


The popular form of Koshin worship is now associated with the famous three monkeys and also with Sarutahiko. Statues of monkeys are therefore often found at Koshin sites.


At the Koshinsha in Nogata there were dozens and dozens of them, though my favorite must be the one in the first photo. A very happy monkey.


The eclectic collections of statues and dolls left by devotees at sacred sites popular in what is called "folk" religion around Japan intrigue me.


The figure below, a monkey carrying a gohei. a purification wand, is something I have seen a few times before.


Friday, April 1, 2016

Koshinsha, Nogata


Koshinsha is a site dedicated to the Koshin faith. Origiunally Chinese Taoist in essence it was introduced into japan from Korea in the 8th Century.


Adherents stay awake all night every 60 days on Ko Shin days to stop 3 "worms" from leaving their body and reporting to a god about their good and bad behaviour.


Koshin faith became influenced by Buddhism, and in the middle of the Edo period by a branch of Confucian Shinto that equated the faith with Sarutahiko. In Meiji it was discredited as "superstition" though it has survived a little. There is also a small Inari shrine in the grounds.


At some point in its history the symbolism of the three monkeys became a part of it, and that is its most common identity today.