Showing posts with label oita. Show all posts
Showing posts with label oita. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Mt. Ebisu Reisenji Temple


Reisenji Temle was one of the 12 main temples located in the heart of the Kunisaki peninsula in Oita that made up the unique Rokugo Manzan cult and pilgrimage, a form of Shugendo based on Usa Hachiman and  Tendai Buddhism.

Situated high up the Takeda River valley, one of the 28 valleys that radiated out from the volcanic heart of the peninsula.

The main gate was relocated here from neighbouring Rokusho Shrine after the separation of Buddhas and Kami. The shrine, Jisson-in Temple, and Reisenji Temple were all originally the same site.

Reisenji is nowadays number 14 on the Rokugo Manzan pilgrimage which can be followed along a recently renovated long-distance trail, the Kunisaki Hanto Moimemichi Long Trail. It is said the temple was founded in 718. The honzon is a Thousan-Armed Kannon.

The shrines and temples of Kunisaki are known for their stone Nio guardians, and Resenji is home to six, 2 of which are guarding the biggest Jizo statue in all of Kyushu.

Almost 5 meters tall, and made out of a single piece of stone, the Jizo was carved in 1860.

I visited at the start of my second leg walking the Kyushu Fudo pilgrimage during which I walked a large part of the Kunisaki pilgrimage at the start as they somewhat coincided. The previous post in the series was on the large Hachiman Shrine near the mouth of the Takeda River.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Glimpses of Futagoji Temple


Futagoji Temple is a large Tendai temple on the Kunisaki Peninsula in Oita, Kyushu. Pictured above are the steps leading up to the Okunoin.

Situated in the centre of the peninsula and on the lower slopes of its namesake, the highest point, 720 meters high Mount Futago.

Since the Edo Period, it has been the head temple of the Rokugo Manzan, the unique mountain-worshipping religion that is a syncretic mix of Tendai Buddhism and Usa Hachimangu shinto.

The honzon is a Thousand-armed Kannon and the temple has many other superb statues and paintings.

The Okunoin, further up the mountainside is set against a cliff and is well worth the extra climb.

On this trip I passed through the temple grounds fairly quickly as I was pressed for time and had to climb to the top of the mountain.

A few years later I returned and spent much longer here and took many more photos, so that will come in a later post on the Kyushu Fudo Myo Pilgrimage.

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.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Arata Isozaki 1933 - 2022

Arata Isozaki 1933 - 2022

The famous Japanese architect Arata Isozaki passed away on December 28th, 2022.

Born in Oita, Kyushu, in 1933, he studied at Tokyo University.

Born in Oita, Kyushu, in 1933, he studied at Tokyo University and then worked under Kenzo Tange for a few years before opening his own office.

He won the RIBA Gold Medal in 1986 and the Pritzker Prize in 2019.

His earliest works seem heavily influenced by Brutalism and Metabolist styles, though his later works utilized many different styles. His works have been built all over Asia, Europe, and the USA.

He won the RIBA Gold Medal in 1986 and the Pritzker Prize in 2019.

He won the RIBA Gold Medal in 1986 and the Pritzker Prize in 2019.

Arata Isozaki 1933 - 2022.

I quite like his work and have seen many of his buildings here in Western Japan.

Born in Oita, Kyushu, in 1933, he studied at Tokyo University.

The top photo is the Kitakyushu City Museum of Art 1972-74. I have visited it several times and will do a post on it soon. The second photo is from his hometown of Oita and was the Oita Prefectural Library which opened in 1966. After closing down it was converted into an arts centre called Art Plaza. I have 2 posts on it, one of the exterior, and a second of the interiors. The Art Plaza contains a gallery of Isozakis architectural drawings and models, so is worth a visit.


The third photo is part of the Kitakyushu International Conference Centre in Kokura, Adjacent to it is an earlier work, the West Japan General Exhibition Centre, a massive building and the photo above shows the structure that holds the roof up. The fourth photo is from the Nagi Museum of Contemporary Art in rural Okayama. Very unusual in that each of the three main buildings were designed in collaboration with artists who created the works within, including Isozaki's own wife. The three buildings I posted earlier are called Sun, Earth, and Moon. The fifth photo is part of the curved roof of the Yamaguchi Centre for Arts & Media. 


The sixth photo is also from Yamaguchi and is part of the very rural Akiyoshidai International Arts Village. I will do a full post on it soon, and I will also do a full post on the Kitakyushu City Central Library, pictured above. The final photo is the JR station at the onsen resort of Yufuin, one of Isozaki's smaller projects.

Arata Isozaki 1933 - 2022.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Kitsuki Castle Town Museum

Kitsuki Castle Town Museum

Kitsuki Castle Town Museum.

The Kitsuki Castle Town Museum is a spacious and modern three storey structure on one of the high bluffs in the small coastal town of Kitsuki on the southern coast of the Kunisaki Peninsula in Oita, Kyushu.

Kitsuki Castle Town Museum.

The museum is located between the Hitotsumatsu Residence, a 20th-century mansion, and the Nakane Samurai  Residence

The large model of the town as it was in the Edo Period clearly shows how little the town has changed since then, one of the reasons why the Samurai Quarter is a Preservation District.

There are permanent exhibitions of samurai culture as well as merchant and fishing culture, and also thematic temporary exhibitions.

The lobby is dominated by the colourful carriage used in the town's annual Tenjin Matsuri, and a small garden and pond outside provide a nice break.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Kitsuki Teramachi


One of the new rules set up by the new Tokugawa Shogunate when they gained control of Japan following the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 was that each of the daimyo, the great lords who controlled their own territory, would be limited to having just a single castle in their domain.

An associated edict was that all the samurai belonging to the lord must reside in said castle town. Both these laws were meant to make the daimyo less of a potential threat to the government and also resulted in the rapid growth of urban areas.

These castle towns generally followed similar layouts, with the highest ranking samurai living in the immediate vicinity of the castle, surrounded by lower-ranked samurai, and then the trades, merchants, and other commoners necessary to support these towns of samurai were usually grouped together in planned areas. sake brewers for instance tended to be built in the same area, and famously the sex industry was confined to specific locations.

To serve the needs of the growing urban population the towns would need many new temples and these would often be built right next to each other in an area named Teramachi, or "temple town". Many former castle towns will have a street now called teramachi.

Kitsuki, the small former castle town on the southern edge of the Kunisaki Peninsula in Oita, Kyushu, has a teramachi to the west of the main part of the town.

Some of the temples are quite large, and as is typical, a wide range of sects are found adjacent to each other. Teramachi tend not to have many famous temples, they are after all relatively modern and were primarily established to serve the funerary needs of the commoners. The daimyo would usually establish their own family temples and these would usually not be in the teramachi.

However, an exploration of teramachi will often result in finding interesting statuary, small gardens etc.

This final photo of a Fudo is not from the teramchi in Kitsuki, but another temple, Komyoin, that I had visited on a previous trip to Kitsuki.

Ema Votive Plaques

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Yakatabune of the Mimuka River

Yakatabune, Mimuka River

Mimuka River.

The Mikuma River flows through Hita, in the mountains of Oita near the border with Fukuoka, and has been a transportation route since ancient times. It has also been a source of food, with eels and the ayu fish being popular still today.

In the summer months, It is the site for the traditional fishing method using trained cormorants to catch the fish, and visitors head out in pleasure boats to watch the scene.

The boats, called yakatabune, nowadays ply their trade most nights of the year as they have become one of the prime tourist attractions, especially for the many guests of the waterfront hot spring hotels..

Yakatabune have a long history, being used by the elite aristocrats of the Heian court to hold waterborne parties with plenty of sake drinking and poetry composition.

Yakatabune is often translated as "house boat", but in English, that implies people living onboard, whereas they are really like small Japanses restaurants, with tatami floors, low tables etc.

Around sunset each day the lanterns and electric lights on the yakatabune light up, and guests, usually wearing traditional outfits, arrive and are then taken out to the middle of the river for a few hours of fine wining and dining.

The boats are operated by half a dozen of the waterfront hot spring hotels, but I believe it may be possible to book seats without actually staying at the hotel, though I suspect the tickets are not cheap.

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