Showing posts with label kunisaki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kunisaki. Show all posts

Friday, February 2, 2024

Kakaji Betsugu Hachiman Shrine


Kakaji is a town on the north side of the Kunisaki peninsula, and the Hachiman Shrine is te main shrine of the town.

The approach to the shrine crosses a stone-arched bridge across the Takeda River.

Built in the mid 19th century, this type of bridge was rare in the area.

The shrine is set in a forest of pines, and its main feature is an impressive two-storey gate.

One of the komainu guarding the approach is unusual in that it is standing upon a turtle. I can't remember having seen that before.

The main gate has numerous relief carvings.

Many sources suggest the gate may have been built in the late Edo period, but the late 19th century is more likely.

The gate houses two Zuijin, Shinto guardians.

They are unusual in that they are carved out of stone, not wood. I have seen other stone zuijin in the Kunisaki area, but not elsewhere.

The shrine was established in the early 8th century, before the  Hachiman cult spread to the Kinki region with its connection to the founding of Todaiji.

It is one of 5 "betsugu" of Usa Hachimangu. Bestsugu is often translated as "branch", but the relationship is stronger and more direct than that. Maybe "annex" would be more accurate.

As a Hachiman shrine it is now considered to enshrine Ojin, his mother Jingu, and a consort.

The three Munakata "sisters" are also enshrined here.

I visited at the end of my second day walking around the Kunisaki area following the old Kunisaki pilgrimage trail while starting the Kyushu Fudo pilgrimage. The previous post was on my walk from Oreki Temle to Kakaji.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

From Orekiji Temple to Kakaji


Mount Shiritsuki, 587 meters, is clearly visible as I leave Oreki Temple and carry on up the road.

For a couple of hours, the road is forest and mountain with no habitations of any kind.

I'm on the second day of my walk along the Kyushu Fudo Pilgrimage, which for this first part also follows the old yamabushi Kunisaki pilgrimage now followable along the Kunisaki Hanto Minemichi Long Trail.

Every now and then the view opens up to the typical Kunisaki Peninsula landscape of cliffs and spires of rock, the kind of place that attracted yamabushi.

Eventually the road lead down past some mountain farms and eventually reached the main road running along the Takeda River. The next temple is not far upstream but that will be where I start on the next leg as I am heading home now.

The road runs north towards the coast where I will take the ferry across to Honshu.

Along the way I stop in briefly at some local shrines, a Wakamiya Shrine, a Yasaka Shrine, and a Hie Shrine, none with any interesting attributes, and none part of the syncretic shinto-buddhist Rokumanzan culture that is so intriguing in this area.

The largest settlement on the coast is Kakaji and there is a big shrine here for me to explore, but that will be the next post.

The previous post in this series was Oreki Temple.

It is the first week of  May and so the carp streamers are up......

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Misosogi Shrine Kurotsuchi


There are many Misosogi shrines in the Kunisaki Peninsula area, and I recently learned that it was a name given to Rokusho shrines in early Meiji when Buddhism and Shinto were artificially separated.

Not all Rokusho shrines changed their names, and, like Misosogi, there are still many Rokusho shrines in the area.

This is because they are protective shrines for Rokugo Manzan, the unique mountain religion based on a mix of Usa Hachiman and Tendai Buddhism.

Many of these shrines are built into cliff faces.

This one was the former site of Mudo-ji Temple which was moved about 1.5 kilometers upstream at some point in the past and which I had visited earlier.

It was one of ten major pilgrimage temples in the central part of the peninsula and is known now for its wonderful collection of Heian-Period statues.

There was no info at the shrine but I am going to presume that, historically at least, the enshrined kami is Rokugo Gongen.

This was the second day of my walk along the Kyushu Fudo Myo Pilgrimage in which the first few days I followed the old Kunisaki Pilgrimage. The previous post was on the nearby Tsubakido Temple.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Middle of the River Fudo Myo

Middle of the River Fudo Myo

Kawanaka Fudo is a large relief carving of Fudo Myo flanked by his two attendants. It is carved into a huge boulder in the Nagaiwaya River in the Kunisali peninsula of Oita in north Kyushu.

I arrived here after climbing down from Choanji  Temple on the morning of my second day walking along an old pilgrimage route around the peninsula that I was following as the start of my walk along the Kyushu Fudo Myo pilgrimage.

Yesterday right at the very start of my walk I visited a much larger cliff carving of Fudo at the Kumano Magaibutsu, magaibutsu being the Japanese word for cliff carving.

This one is much  smaller at only 3 meters in height. Above the riverbank is Tennenji Temple and Misosogi Shrine, a syncretic sacred site typical of the form of shugendo that operated here for centuries.

Rokugo Manzan, the name of the system that was a combination of Usa Hachiman Shinto and Tendai Buddhism, was responsible for the many magaibutsu in the area. Oita has more magaibutsu than any other area of Japan, and the Kunisaki area has the most in Oita. Some of the other ones I visited yesterday can be seen here.

In fact, the whole landscape of the Kunisaki peninsula is inscribed as a mandala. This river valley is one of 28 that radiate out from the centre of the peninsula. The Lotus Sutra contains 28 chapters. There are more than 32,000 Chinese characters in the Lotus Sutra, and it is said that the exact same number of stone statues and cliff carvings were made in this area.

here are a couple of other small magaibutsu  in the vicinity. This area is one of my favorite areas in all of Japan, and typing in "Kunisaki" or clicking any of the tags below will bring up dozens and dozens of posts.


Thursday, January 13, 2022

Mishima Shrine & Misosogi Shrine


I was excited to start day 2 of my walk along the Kyushu Fudo Myoo pilgrimage. A good chunk of the days walking would be along mountain trails. After waking early at my stopover at Nameshi Dam, I walked across the dam itself and headed into the woods.

The first seven temples of the pilgrimage are all located in the Kunisaki Penisula, but to visit them I decided to walk the Kunisakihanto Minemichi Long Trail, a route that closely follows the old yamabushi pilgrimage route that circumnavigates the peninsula. This was my third visit to Kunisaki and I would be revisiting some sites but visiting many more for the first time.

Not far into the forest I come upon the first stop, a shrine set against a cliff with the honden and a secondary shrine both under a rock overhang. The map says this is Mishima Shrine, though there is no information about it.

I am very fond of shrines that cannot be accessed by motor vehicle. From here an ancient road leads up a little higher before crossing over a pass and dropping into the next valley.

The Kunisaki Peninsular is a roughly circular volcanic cone, and from the central high point a series of 28 valleys raditae out. What this means is that to walk around the peninsula involves an awful lot of ups and downs.

As I approach a qiute large temple I first pass by a substantial shrine. My map says this is Misosogi Shrine, but another says it is Choanji Rokusho Shrine. Choanji is the temple nearby connected to this shrine, and Rokusho is the name of several shrines in the area, related I am fairly sure, to  Rokugo Manzan, the Tendai- Hachiman syncretic cult that formed the areas unique religious landscape.


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Fuki-ji Temple the Oldest Wooden Building in Kyushu


Fukiji Temple on the Kunisaki Peninsula is certainly an elegant structure and is the oldest wooden building still standing in all of Kyushu, and is therefore registered as a National Treasure.

It is believed to have been built in the early 12th Century, part of the huge Tendai-Hachiman-Shugendo pilgrimage area that extends over the whole peninsula. It is believed the temple was built for the priests of Usa Hachiman. Like almost  all the shrines and temples in the region there are a fine pair of stone Nio.

The main hall houses a statue of Amida Nyorai, and is classed as one of the top 3 Amida Halls in Japan. The interior walls of the hall have remnants of colorful murals depicting the Western paradise of Amida.

I was here on the first day of my walk along the Kyushu Fudo Myo Pilgrimage, and while Fukiji is not one of the pilgrimage temples it did have a Fudo statue.