Showing posts with label mima. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mima. Show all posts

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Ganshoji Temple Mima


Ganshoji is one of seven large Buddhist temples located in a teramachi in rural Tokushima. Most teramachi, literally "temple town" were created in the Edo period as part of the castle towns that sprang up across the country, but this teramachi is located in a rural area that has been a centre for Buddhism since ancient times with the ruins of the very first temple in the region nearby.

Ganshoji also has a long history, said to have been founded in the Nara period. It is a Shingon temple with Amida Nyorai as the honzon.

The Niomon was built in the Meiji era but because of its unique design is registered as an Important Cultural Property

Behind the main hall is a small garden that was "discovered" by the famous 20th-century Japanese garden designer Mirei Shigemori who noted its similarity to the garden at Tenryuji. It is possibly the oldest garden in Shikoku.

Unfortunately, when I visited there was no one around and I couldn't see the garden.

The previous post in this series on day 3 of my walk around Shikoku on the Shikoku Fudo Myo pilgrimage was the neighboring Anrakuji Temple and its magnificent vermillion gate.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Anrakuji Temple Mima


Anrakuji is the oldest temple of the Jodo Shinshu, True Pure Land Sect, in all of Shikoku and is located in the administrative city of Mima along the Yoshino River in Tokushima.

Known locally as Akamonji, literally "red gate temple", because of the impressive gate which was built in 1756. It and several other buildings in the temple are registered as Important Cultural Properties.

It was founded around 1256 when an existing Tendai Temple, Shinnyoji, which had been in existence since the Heian Period was converted to Jodo Shinshu and renamed.

Anrakuji is located in a Teramachi- a cluster of large temples- though most teramachi were Edo-period creations whereby new castle towns built all their temples in one district, this one is located in a rural area and has been an area of temples since ancient times.

In fact the ruins  of one of the first temples ever built in Shikoku are located nearby, adjacent to some late burial mounds indicating that this was an important political center in ancient times.

The previous post in this series on my third day walking the Shikoku Fudo Myo Pilgrimage was Mima Snaphots.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Mima Snapshots


Mima is a town located on the Yoshino River in Tokushima on Shikoku. I was heading west, upstream, on day 3 of my walk along the Shikoku Fudo Myo Pilgrimage and was happy to be exploring an area I had never visited before.

I was on the north bank of the river and once I visited a temple further upstream in Miyoshi I would be heading back downstream on the southern bank. The further upstream I went the narrower and steeper the valley became. Though it was December 18th there was still plenty of colour left on some trees.

Up in the mountains of Mima is a small village, Nagoro,  now made famous as the Village of Dolls, where a local woman has replaced all the former residents with life-size dolls. She was not the first to do this, but down along the main road was another example. In the Kunisaki area of Kyushu I found something similar, Not The Village Of Dolls.

It had been a productive morning starting with a pilgrimage temple visit, then a nice 18th-century farmhouse, followed by a vintage wooden theatre, and then the preservation district of Wakimachi.

As usual, I stopped in at every shrine I passed in the hope of seeing something unusual, and at one shrine I was not disappointed. Instead of the usual komainu guardian statues, often translated at Korean Lion-Dogs, there were a pair of African Lions. I have seen this before, once at a shrine east of Matsue in Shimane, and once at a shrine in Hiroshima City.

Some crumpled up old electrical cable sticking out of the wall of an agricultural out-building. Or, some of the amazing public art that surrounds no matter where we are.

Not sure what Mickey and Minnie are advertising here,.... good chance its not aimed at children either. used to like Mickey Mouse and Disney when I was very young..... not sure what the attraction is to adults though....

At another shrine, this time with regular komainu, the Gingko was in full splendor. For me, November and December are the best times for travelling in Japan. I am heading towards a teramachi, an area where Buddhist  temples are gathered together in one area. The previous post in this series on the Shikoku Fudo Myo Pilgrimage was Wakimachi.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Wakimachi Historic Preservation District


Wakimachi is located on the north bank of the Yoshino River in the interior of Shikoku. It is now part of Mima City in Tokushima, the modern name for what was Sanuki Province.

This part of Shikoku became renowned for producing the highest quality indigo in Japan and the trade in indigo made many merchants rich.

Wakimachi established itself as the main trading centre of the area and the old main street of the town was lined with residences and stores of the wealthiest of the merchants.

Enough of the traditional architecture remains so that it is registered as a traditional architecture preservation district, and unlike many such districts, all the above grounds power lines have been buried to give the visitor a more authentic experience.

One of the architectural features that is commonly mentioned in the literature about Wakimachi is udatsu, which are the extensions protruding out from the side of the houses above the ground floor.

Made of plastered earth, their function is to stop fire from spreading from one structure to the next, a kind of firebreak. Udatsu can be seen in many traditional buildings, but here in Wakimachi the merchants competed with each other to build more and more elaborate and grand udatsu as a kind of ostentatious one-upmanship.

Some of the historic buildings on the street are private homes, and some are empty. There are a few gift shops and cafes, and one, the former Yoshida Family Residence, is open to the public as a local history museum.

Built in 1792, the 5 buildings that make up this former indigo merchants property display a slice of historic life and background information on the indigo trade. A ticket to the Yoshida House includes entry to the nearby wooden theatre Odeonza.

The nearest train station to Wakimachi is Anabuki Station, several miles away on the other side of the river, so Wakimachi is not so easy to get to, consequently, it is in no danger of being overcrowded or over-commercialized like some of the more well-known preservation districts.

As mentioned, a historic theatre is located at one end of the street, and a short walk away is a delightful, restored farmhouse worth a visit.

A few miles upstream is the historic Teramachi district with some nice temples that I will cover in the next post in this series documenting the third day of my walk along the Shikoku Fudo Myo Pilgrimage.

The previous Preservation District I covered was the Joto District of Tsuyama.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Odeonza Theater Wakimachi


Located in the small rural town of Wakimachi in rural Tokushima, the Wakimachi Gekijo is a fine example of an early 20th Century Japanese theater.  

Due in large part to the bombing of most of Japan's major cities during  WWII, and also partly to the late 20th Century Japanese tendency to demolish “old” buildings and replace them with newer, modern structures, very few examples of historic theaters still exist, and those that do are to be found in similar rural environments, like the Kaho Gekijo in Iizuka, Kyushu, or the Eirakukan Theatre in Izushi, Hyogo.

The Wakimachi Gekijo was built in 1934 with a capacity of 750, primarily for kabuki, and other popular entertainments like rokyoku, a form of storytelling with shamisen accompaniment.  

 In the postwar period it was converted into a cinema, though occasionally other types of entertainment would be performed. With the massive rural population drain to the big cities the theater, like so many others in similar situations, became uneconomical to operate and closed its doors in 1995.  

It was scheduled for demolition, but before that happened it was used as the setting and location for a movie about a run-down rural cinema. Directed by Yoji Yamada, the man responsible for the very successful “Tora-san” movie series, and starring Toshiyuki Nishida, the 1996 release of The Man Who Caught The Rainbow (虹をつかむ男 ) sparked an interest in the cinema and led to it being renovated and reopened where it is now often known as Odeon-za, it's name in the movie. Occasional performances do take place, but it is primarily a tourist attraction now.

Open from 9 to 5 and closed on Tuesdays, entry is 200 yen, 100 yen for children. There is also a special reduced price ticket that includes entry to the nearby Yoshida Residence.

140-1 Nishibun, Mima-shi, Tokushima 779-3602

Tel 0883 52 3807

I visited early on the third day of my walk along the Shikoku Fudo Myo Pilgrimage, and the previous post in that series was the 18th Century farmhouse of the nagaoka Family.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Nagaoka Family 18th Century Farmhouse


The former Nagaoka Family farmhouse is located in Mima on the north bank of the Yoshino River in Tokushima on Shikoku.

It was built in the early decades of the 18th century a few kilometers to the north of its current site but was dismantled and rebuilt here in 1979.

The first noteworthy thing is that the walls are made of earth/clay, which is standard, but the exteriors are not covered by boards or bark as is normal. Apparently, this is because the area gets relatively little rainfall so the walls don't need the protection. 

In the interiors, the floors are heavy, polished floorboards, not tatami. They did have some tatami but they were brought out and used temporarily, not laid permanently. This is how they were used further back in history.

There are plenty of tools and furniture scattered around the interiors, and the roof structure is much simpler and lighter than later architecture that used tile roofs.

Entry is free and is worth a visit if you are in the Mima area.....

I visited on my third day walking the Shikoku Fudo Myo pilgrimage. The previous post in the series is Saimyoji Temple which is a few minutes away.