Showing posts with label pilgrimage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pilgrimage. Show all posts

Thursday, February 20, 2020



Sakurajima is the large volcano clearly visible across the water from Kagoshima City and a landmark of the area. It is the most active volcano in Japan with plumes of smoke and ash visible many times a year.


The name Sakurajima means "Cherry Blossom Island" though it is no longer an island. A major eruption in 1914 resulted in lava flows that connected the island to the mainland and so it is now a peninsula.


Visiting Sakurajima is one of the most popular activities for visitors to the area, and a constant stream of ferries shuttle back and forth from Kagoshima.


Obviously visitors are not allowed too close to the volcanoes but a small tour bus goes to an observation point so you can get a closer look.


A major eruption is expected within 30 years.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Sasaguri Pilgrimage Temples 37 & 69

Temple 37 of the Sasaguri Pilgrimage was just 20 meters from the previous temple, number 21, Takada Kokuzo-do. Takada Amida-do looked like a shed but inside was a small shrine with a bark roof. This was originally in the grounds of the local Tenjin Shrine. It houses a small statue of Amida Nyorai. Outside was a small structure with a group of stone statues.

The next temple was number 69, Takada Kannon-do. This was the 4th temple we visited on the pilgrimage and by now we had walked almost a whole kilometer.

Like the previous three temples there were numerous statues outside the small hall, imcluding this Fudo Myo.

The main statue was a Kannon. As should be obvious, the temples are not numbered sequentially, and we started from the most common starting point, Sasaguri Station, rather than from temple 1. For those who want to try a pilgrimage the Sasaguri one I would very highly recommend

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sasaguri 88 Temple Pilgrimage

Sasaguri, in the mountains just north of the sprawling metropolis of Fukuoka, is home to a miniature version of the famous 88 temple Shikoku Pilgrimage. It is less than 50 kilometers in length, but took me 4 tough days to walk because it is up and down, up and down.

Some of the temples are quite large complexes, in fact the pilgrimage stops at Nanzoin, home to the largest reclining Buddha in Japan. Many of the temples are small, wayside chapels, unmanned but usually with quite a lot of statuary. Surprisingly, in such a small area, the route also passes by many other temples that are not included in the pilgrimage.

Being in the mountains there is a high percentage of temples with waterfalls that are used for ascetic training, consequently there are many, many statues of Fudo Myo,..... literally hundreds of them.
The highest point reached is 680 meters above sea level, to a cave on top of Mount Wakasugi where Kobo Daishi spent time after he returned from China.

A few kilometers are along busy main roads, but most of the route is either well marked walking trails or narrow mountain roads with no traffic. You pass through a lot of bamboo forest including one on the 3rd day that was the most enchanting bamboo forest I've ever been in....

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Goganji Temple Nakatsu

I made a start on walking the Kyushu Fudo MyoO Pilgrimage, and the night before I set out I stayed in Nakatsu. That evening I went for a walk in the Teramachi and revisited Goganji Temple.

It is famous for its plaster walls which are red rather than white.

According to the story, there was a fight between two groups of opposing samurai just outside the temple, and the white plaster walls became stained with blood. Every time they tried to replaster the walls the bloodstain seeped through, so in the end they decided to make the walls red so it would not be seen.

The temple was founded in the 16th Century and now belongs to the Pure Land Sect. The Honzon is Enmei Jizo.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Izumo 33 Kannon Pilgrimage


I'm about halfway through walking the Izumo 33 kannon pilgrimage. There are hundreds of 33 Kannon pilgrimages in Japan, though probably the oldest and most well known is the Saigoku Pilgrimage up in Kansai. The Izumo pilgrimage was founded, like many of the others, around the middle of the Edo period, the time pilgrimages really became popular among common folk.


I havent measured it yet but my guess is it is about 300k in length, possibly longer. Many of the temples are uninhabited and in fairly remote locations. Many are mountaintop temples and therefore there is a lot of ascending and descending to do.


There are some stunning views especially across the OkuIzumo region. There is little in the way of pilgrim infrastructure. I have found no signs along the road and there are no rest huts, though I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that temple 9, Mine-Ji, had a tsuyado for pilgrims. Stores are few and far between, though the route does pass through the urban areas of Izumo City and Matsue City. Occasionaly the route follows main roads, but most of the route is along very narrow, mountain roads with very little traffic.


I recently discovered a map of the old Iwami 33 Kannon pilgrimage!!!!! so once I finish the Izumo 33 that is what I will walk next....... and then the Chugoku 33 Kannon.... and then the Shodoshima 88... and then,,,,