Showing posts with label maneki neko. Show all posts
Showing posts with label maneki neko. Show all posts

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Togitsu Town


One of the benefits of walking everywhere rather than using a faster method of travel is that you get to see things you would miss if you were in a hurry. You get to see many of the "boring places" thta you would normally avoid.

Heading north out of Nagasaki I had to pass through Togitsu. In essence it is really just a suburb of Nagasaki now and seems to be composed of the multitude of national chain businesses that cover the country.

However, the draincovers of the town showed an intriguing rock formation, a spire of rock with what appears to be a boulder perched precariously on top. The rock was previously known as Tsugi ishi bozu but is now more commonly referred to as Sabaku Sarakashi Ishi after a well known story.

According bto the story a mackerel seller was coming down the road with a basket full of mackerel to sell but when he saw the rock her decided it looked like it was about to fall off the spire of rock so he decide to wait until it did before passing on safely. The rock never did fall and all his fish rotted leading to a variety of "the moral of the story is....."

Not far from the rock was a very large mansion-type building. It is called a tea-house but was in fact one of the buildings making up a honjin, a residence for lords while they are travelling.

It is said that the hinjin was originally about twice the size of the remaining building. Unfortunateky it was not open to the public.

Nearby, Togitsu Town Hall had a statue in front that I felt must surely refer to a local myth or legend, but apparently not. It is titled "Fureai", which is a world of recent origin that refers to a kind of feeling of solidarity between different members of a community. It seems to have appeared in the 1970's after modern Japan's social structure had altered from what had been traditional.

The previous post in this series on day 64 of my first walk around Kyushu was the diary of day 63.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Maneki Neko Museum


The Maneki Neko Museum is home to more than 700 examples of Maneki-neko, the "beckoning cat" that probably originated in Edo in the mid 19th century, though Kyoto makes a claim for it too.

The Japanese gesture for "come here" looks a lot like the gesture of waving goodbye in western cultures and the maneki-neko has one of its paws raised, either right or left. Some examples are motorized to raise and lower the paw.

They are made out of stone, ceramic, plastic, or papier mache and can be found in a variety of colors. Usually white, which represents general good luck, but red ones symbolize good health, black to ward off evil, and gold or yellow for wealth.

The museum is in a couple of renovated farmhouses up in the mountains north of Okayama City in a village called Kanayamaji, and though there is no public transport to the place the museum is very popular and even gets lots of tour buses.

I visited on my third day of walking along the Chugoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Fukura Tenmangu

Fukura is a district of Usuki, and as I walked into town I stopped in at Fukura Tenmangu. Like quite a few shrines it was actually a temple until the Meiji Period when many temples were converted to shrines by the government.

Being a Tenmangu it features a statue of an ox as well as the usual komainu etc. There are several sub shrines within the grounds.

It seems to be a very popular shrine offering a full range of ceremonies and amulets etc as well as a shrine to a red cat. Red Cat was the nickname of a successful local merchant and petitioners at the shrine pray for business success.

I was there at the end of February and the plum blossoms were in bloom. Tebmangu shrines often have plum trees because of poems Sugawara Michizane wrote about them, in the time before plum blossoms were supplanted by cherry blossoms in the Japanese imagination....

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

Friday, December 11, 2015

Nanzoin Temple part 1


Nanzoin Temple, a Shingon temple in Sasaguri, near Fukuoka, is a big temple complex with lots of statuary. I have already posted about the numerous Fudo Myoo statues and the giant reclining Buddha. Above is an Enmeijizo, a Jizo who grants a long life, housed in a small. thatched structure.


Of course there are plenty of other Jizo statues.


En no Gyoja, the famed 7th Century ascetic, is generally considered to be the founder of Shugendo. He is often depicted with a pair of servants, the husband and wife Zenki and Goki, 2 demons who En no Gyoja converted.


Maneki Neko, the welcoming cat, has obscure origins, but is almost certainly not Buddhist, however this one is more than 2 meters tall.


With their pleated bodies, these would appear to be stone versions of Teru Teru Bozu, the folk dolls usually made of paper or cloth and hung to attract fine weather.