Showing posts with label onigawara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label onigawara. Show all posts

Friday, October 20, 2023

Temples 24 to 27 Shodoshima Pilgrimage


Early on my third day walking the Shodoshima Pilgrimage I visited a small group of temples in close proximity to each other. Temples 24 to 27 are just off the main road on the south coast,  adjacent to one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island, the Olive Park.

Temple 24,  Anyoji, has a Daisho-do, Jizo-do, and a bell tower as well as the main hall and the priests residence. The grounds have some nice Camelia trees.

The buildings are all fairly modern, circa 1990 with several nice kinds of onigawara tiles.

It is claimed that the temple was founded by Gyoki and later revived in the 17th century. The honzon is a Kannon.

A footpath leads up the hill to the next temple which has no vehicular access.

Temple 25, Seiganji-an, is a much smaller, more rustic establishment.

At the top of the hill, the honzon of Seiganji-an is a Yakushi Nyorai.

A little further along the trail is a well with a Jizo-do.

This is the okunoin of temple 26, Amidaji.  The well, called Omizu Daishi, is very popular and is one of countless water sources attributed to Kobo Daishi himself.

The Jizo is an Enmei Jizo, a "long life" Jizo.

Near the well the asphalt starts again and leads down to temple 27 before coming to 26. Sometimes the route for walking pilgrims differs from that for the more numerous car pilgrims.

Temple 27 is Sakuranoan, so named because of a famous cherry tree that stood here earlier. The honzon is an 11-faced Kannon.

Just a short distance away is temple 26, Amida-ji.  Like Anyoji, it also claims to have been founded by Gyoki and revived in the 17th century.

The previous post was on temples 22 and 23.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Shofukuji Temple Nagasaki


Shofukuji is the 4th of the Chinese temples built in Nagasaki during the Edo Period. Like  nearby Fukusaiji Temple, it is not located in Teramachi like Sofukuji and Kofukuji, but north of the river.

The Sanmon, the main gate, was built in 1703. Along with the other main structures of Shofukuji, it is an Important Cultural Property and is currently undergoing major renovation.

Shofukuji was founded in 1677 by a disciple of Ingen, the founder of the  Obaku sect of Zen which had been founded in 1661. The other three Chinese temples became Obaku after 1661, but Shofukuji is the only one founded as Obaku.

The Tenmoden was built in 1705. The Japanese carpenters had started to slightly adapt and alter the Chinese style architecture.

When I visited in 2014 the place was deserted, somewhat run-down, and with no entry fee, so this contributed to an atmosphere. It is now undergoing major renovations so I suspect it will have an entry fee in the future.

The Tenmoden Hall contains a large statue of Hotei, one of the Seven Lucky Gods in Japan, and originally a Chinese monk named Budai. In the West, he is often referred to as the Laughing Buddha.

The main hall, Daiyuhoden, was built in 1697. Unlike the other Chinese temples in Nagasaki, much of the woodwork here was left unpainted.

The Bell Tower was built in 1716. Unusually the bell was not "donated" to the war effort in the 1940's like most temple bells.

Another difference between Shofukuji and the other Chinese temples in Nagasaki is that Shofukuji always had Japanese priests, whereas the other three started with Chinese priests.

The Kawarabei is an old wall constructed using old rooftiles and other decorations like Onigawara. Another thing to look out for is a monument to a young woman named Oharu who was expelled from Japan when all foreigners, excluding the Dutch, were expelled. Any Japanese families of Europeans expelled were also exiled. Also in 2020 a statue of Ryoma Sakamoto was erected to memorialize a meeting that took place here between the Tosa and Kishu clans.

The previous post in this series documenting my explorations of Nagasaki on Day 60 of my Kyushu Pilgrimage was on the statuary and architectural details of Kofukuiji Temple.

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

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Art of Tanjoji Temple

Japan Guide

Temples are, like churches and cathedrals in the West, repositories of art. One of the delights of visiting them is to explore and find interesting statues, carvings etc. Tanjoji Temple in Okayama was pretty good in this regard, with quite a range of things to see. The statue above is an Amida Buddha, the focus of the school of Buddhism founded by Honen who was born on this spot.

I visited the temple while walking the Chugoku Kannon Pilgrimage, and ths is the Kannon statue. It was carved by Jigaku Daishi and enshrined in 1631. It is now called the Oshichi Kannon after Oshichi, a 16 year old girl executed for arson after a major fire in Edo. The subject of many books and play, Oshichi's story can be found here at Gabi Greve's wonderful site....

Onigawara are "demon tiles" found on the roofs of some temples and other buildings. In situ they are hard to see as they are up on the roof, but often you will find older versions from previous versions of the buildings are ondislay, like here. Intriguing is the diversity of designs.

One of the most ubiquitous sights all over Japan are small statues of Jizo with their trademark caps and bibs.

Above the entrance to many temple and shrine buildings can be found relief carvings of dragons. Usually of a quite standard design, this one is somewhat more expressive....

Sometimes..... when I'm lucky,.... powerful compositions simply present themselves to me....

This is said to be the largest Buddha statue in Okayama, and is a Nationally-registered Important Cultural ropert, but have no details on it.

Long time readers of this blog know that I am quite obsessed with Fudo Myo, and this single example at Tanjoji was in the Kannon Hall.

These are , I suspext, statues of rakan, disciples of the Buddha, also in the Kannn Hall.

Green Tea

Friday, April 16, 2021

Some Art at Horakuji Temple


Buddhist temples in Japan, like temples, shrines, and churches all over the world, are often repositories of a lot of art. Some temples have a little in the grounds, ornamenting the architecture, and inside on the aktars, etc. Some however are rich in artworks amd can be like visiting a museum or gallery.

It can be quite bewildering trying to know exactly what you are looking at. The massive array of deities, buddhas,  and other characters on display can be obscure. I myself spent my first decade in japan primarily visiting shrines, and have a pretty good grasp of kami and such, but it was not until I started walking the pilgrimages that I started to take note of Buddhist related figures, and while some I am pretty sure of being able to identify, I am by no means an expert.

This third phot I am pretty sure is Shoki, a Daoist demon-quelling figure. A lot of Daoism was imported into Japan through Buddhism, though there was probably some before that. Much of what is called shinto has roots in daoism though it is often referred to as "Chinese folklore". Shoki is well known to people in Iwami because he is the main character of a popular kagura performnce.

This photo of a young priest may be Kobo Daishi as a young man. Horakuji is a Shingon temple and their website says they have a modern statues of him. It may be Jiun, a famous 18th century monk who began his studies as an acolyte here when he was 13 and went on to become famous as both a sanskrit scholar and as a religious leader who emphasized a return to an earlier, less "degenerated" form of Buddhism.

This last one is obviously an onigawara, a demon rooftile to ward off evil. Quite a similarity to the "demon queller".

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Shodoshima Pilgrimage Temple 3 Kannonji

Shodoshima Pilgrimage Temple 3 Kannonji

Kannonji was the first  temple I visited on the Shodoshima Pilgrimage that was big enough to have a resident priest. What appeared to be varved dragons ran along the steps leading up to it.

Shodoshima Pilgrimage Temple 3 Kannonji

Legend has it that the temple was founded by Kobo Daishi himself, and the statue of 11-face Kannon is claimed to be his work. It is a "secret" Buddha and so cannot be seen by the public.


Like many of the temples on the pilgrimage there is a statue of Kobo Daishi. The Onigawara tiles were also in a style I don't remember seeing before.

Roof tile

The okunoin, inner sanctuary, of the temple is in the cliffs on the mountaintop behind, not far from temples 1 and 2. The old priest came out to greet me and we chatted for a while and he showed me to rout to follow. I would meet him again later up at temple 1

Shodoshima Pilgrimage Temple 3 Kannonji