Showing posts with label kote-e. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kote-e. Show all posts

Friday, May 19, 2023

Takeo Onsen to Kashima. Day 58 Kyushu Pilgrimage


Sunday February 16th 2014

I head off in the dark as I have a long distance to cover before I reach the room I've booked in Kashima tonight. On the top of a hill to the south of the town I come to my first port of call, the Saga Prefecture Space & Science Museum. I have heard that it is quite good, but I am far too early to be able to go inside, and anyway, it is the architecture that interests me. Like so many of these provincial museums, the architects have indulged themselves and created a modernist collage of protruding shapes and geometric solids reminiscent of a Sci-Fi movie-rendered space structure, freed from gravity. I wander around and get some good shots from all angles before heading off.

 It's good to be off the main roads as I cut across the hills. No commercial properties at all, and very little traffic. I feel much more comfortable as this is the kind of country where I do most of my walking. I notice that a lot of fields have wheat growing in them. I do pass a huge quarry.

As usual, I stop in at the local shrines I pass. At one of them, Uchida Tenmangu, a ceremony is about to take place so I hang back a little. There is a priest and about 8 men, all of them dressed in everyday clothes, so they are not village “elders”. I have attended many village shrine ceremonies over the years, and it is always just men. I have yet to see a woman at such an event. A later shrine was Kifune Shrine in Kawanobori.

As I get close to Ureshino I reach a bigger road and pass under an expressway. I find the place I have been eagerly anticipating, the Ureshino Hihokan, which translates as“Museum of Hidden Treasures”, a euphemism for sex museum. It would be hard to know what it was if you didn't read Japanese, as there was not a lot of signage, the most visible thing being a large golden statue of the Buddhist deity Kannon (pictured in the 3rd photo) flanked by a pair of Nio which made the building appear to be some sort of religious structure. There used to be a lot more of these places, many, like this one, in hot spring resorts, but they are disappearing. This one will be closing next month so I was glad of the opportunity to visit. 

A few minutes after leaving the Hihokan I leave the main road and take a smaller road towards the coast. All morning I had been climbing slightly, but now the road starts to descend. I notice a lot of houses have thatched roofs, rather the thatched roofs that have been covered over with tin. I am not sure when they started to do that, and you will also sometimes see a thatched roof that has been covered in tile. I do see a couple with the thatch uncovered, and one is a very large house with relatively new thatch.


At the junction in the road that leads to Yoshida the bus stop is in the shape of a tea pot. Yoshida is known for its ceramics. Further down the road I stop in at a large shrine with interesting features and history.

As I reach the coastal plain I can see Kashima ahead, a decent-sized town by the look of it. There are two pilgrimage temples nearby as well as some other sites I want to see but the sun is low in the sky so I will leave them till tomorrow. My ryokan is south of the busy town centre, on the edge of the old town so I look for a supermarket to stock up on provisions as I have booked a room with no meals.

This final pic is of a piece of kote-e, plaster-relief near my ryokan in Kashima.

Details of the previous day of this walk can be found in Saga to Takeo Onsen Day 57

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

From Kamano Beach into Yunotsu


To get from Kamano Beach in Fukumitsu to Yunotsu there is no coast road and so I have to head over a small group of hills. It's only about 2k and doesnt rise very much. No cars pass me. I delight in these little roads that are really more like 3 meter wide asphalt hiking paths with vehicles passing a few times a day.

The road comes into the narrow inlet that Yunotsu lies at the head of through a side-inlet lined with small fishing boats.

Across on the other side of the channel is the official fishing port with ice machine and offices. Behind it is the narrow valley that is home to the historical hot spring resort that Yunotsu is named after and now a World Heritage site connected to the Iwami Ginzan silver mines.

At the actual head of the inlet where the small river enters is the newer part of town where I can catch the train home at the end of this my second day exploring the nooks and crannies of the Japan Sea coast.

On the north side beyond the hots spring town is the old port of Okidomari, one of the two original ports that served the silver mines and that are also part of the World Heritage sites.....

On the way to the station I stop in at Anrakuji, a small temple with a rather nice dragon sculpted in plaster in the eaves. This kind of decoration is called kote-e, " trowel picture" and I have posted more examples.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Kote-e of Kitsuki

Kote-e is a kind of Japanese art we would call plaster relief. a kote is a kind of narrow trowel used by plasterers, and e means picture or painting, so the literal translation would be "trowel picture".

The art developed in Edo and spread throughout the country, though in some places it is more common. Oita is one such place, and the merchant district of the castle town of Kitsuki has numerous examples.

The designs of the kote-e primarily used symbols to either ward off misfortune or attract good fortune. The kanji for water, used to ward off the danger of fire, is very common nationwide.

Being merchant properties, many of the kote-e in Kitsuki invoke good fortune and the accumulation of wealth. Daikoku and Ebisu, two of the 7 Lucky Gods, are therefore common.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Ebisu & Daikoku Kote-e

Kote-e are a traditional type of plaster relief often found on storehouses, temples etc. A kote is a type of spatula-shaped trowel used to work plaster, so kote-e means "trowel pictures"

Not purely for decoration, the symbols used in the kote-e were either to ward of misfortune, commonly fire, or , as in the case of the pictures here, to attract good fortune.

Ebisu and Daikoku are both members of the ' Lucky Gods of Japan", and have long been associated with commercial success and wealth. The picture here were taken in Usuki, Oita. Though kote-e can be found all over Japan, Oita does seem to have a lot.

Yuzukosho (yuzu pepper) is a signature product from Usuki & Hita