Showing posts with label shodo88. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shodo88. 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.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Minenoyama-an & Hondo Temples 22, 23 Shodoshima Pilgrimage


Boxing Day, December 26th, 2015, and I set off on the third day of my walk along the Shodoshima Pilgrimage.

Its another glorious day of blue skies and my plan is to go down and then back up the Mito Peninsula that protrudes from the south of the island.

But first there are the last couple of temples in the old town part of Kusakabe.

The first is Minenoyama-an, on some high ground with great views over the Inland Sea and surrounded by a large cemetery. It is unmanned and the suffix -an tells that it is classed as a "hermitage", though the main building is a bit larger than most hermitages I've come across so far and is more like a large farmouse. The honzon is a Thousand-Armed Kannon.

Nearby, literally on the other side of a small elementary school, is temple 23, curiously named Hondo, which means main hall.

It is said to be the main hall of the pagoda of Seikenji, temple 21 which I visited yesterday and is not too far away. Whether the pagoda stood here or if the hondo was moved to this spot is not clear.

It's quite an elegant building that I would describe as Chinese-style.

The honzon is a Shaka Nyorai said to have been carved by Genshin, a prominent Tendai monk from Enryakuji of the late Heian Period who is known mostly for his writings, but is said to have carved the statue at Yasakaji, temple 24 on Shikoku.

Next I head along the main coast road to the next settlement which has 4 pilgrimage temples to visit. The previous post in this series was on the last 4 temples I visited yesterday, Christmas Day.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Kinoshita-an, Seikenji, Ichinotani-an, & Gokurakuji. Four Temples on the Shodoshima Pilgrimage.


Late afternoon on Christmas Day, 2015, day 2 of my walk around Shodoshima Island on the Shodoshima 88 temple pilgrimage, and I take the ropeway down from the top of Kankakei Gorge.

I share the ropeway down with a French family, and they offer me a ride in the taxi that is waiting for them at the bottom, ….. I'm tempted but decline gracefully. From here it should all be downhill.

Once I get back to where I started up to Sekimondo I find a footpath that goes straight down rather than having to walk along the road which winds back and forth, saving me about a kilometer. The path comes out at the big dam above Kusukabe and then I enter the outskirts of the small town.

I have a bit of trouble finding the next temple but a little old lady points me in the right direction. Number 19, Kinoshita-an, is a small hermitage but I am beginning to appreciate the unpretentiousness of these small establishments. They are very welcoming and completely lacking in ostentation. Compared to other hermitages, this one is actually quite large. It enshrines a statue of Yakushi Nyorai the "Medicine Buddha"

Another kilometer and I'm in the middle of an urban area and I find number 21, Seikenji, a somewhat larger temple with some curious sculptures in the park next door.

The honzon is a Fudo Myoo,  and the temple legend claims it to have been founded by Gyoki in the 8th century. It was burned down in 1899 and reconstruction was given support by the Crown Prince who visited Shodoshima in 1907.

The stone sculptures were by Hiroshima artist Aki Sora, but I can find no other information about them.

The afternoon becomes golden as the sun rushes towards the horizon. I cut back up a little valley and find the next temple, number 17 Ichinotani-an, snuggled against the hillside. It's another small hermitage.

The honzon is another Yakushi Nyorai that survived a landslide here in 1976. It was nice to see another Fudo statue.

According to the map the next temple is down the valley then around and up the next little valley over, about one and a half kilometers, but signs at Ichinotani-an point to a footpath that goes through the woods. Once again the route for walking pilgrims is much shorter than for those driving. I passed this line of statues, and according to the current google streetview they are no longer there. 


The last temple of a very long day was Gokurakuji, number 16, and was quite impressive being reached across a bridge that spanned a wide pond in front of the temple.

It is said the temple was located at the foot of  Mount Kamikake but was moved to this location, said to be a site where Kukai spent time, in the early Edo Period. The honzon is an Amida Nyorai, The current main hall dates back to early Meiji.

It had a decent garden. By now the valley was in shadow and it was cooling down quickly so I headed straight down to the main road to catch a bus back to my minshuku as the sun dipped below the horizon across the sea. A long day filled with great sights and nice weather.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Kankakei Gorge Ropeway Shodoshima


The view from the top of Kankakei Gorge, which  is located roughly in the middle of Shodoshima Island.

It is considered one of the Top Three gorges in Japan.

It is splendid at any time of the year but becomes very, very popular in the Autumn when the changing colors are spectacular.

A ropeway runs above the gorge and offers a great way to enjoy the views.

It runs from the lower station at approximately 300 meters altitude up to the top at roughly 600 meters.

It takes about 5 minutes and covers just over 900 meters in length.

At the top are souvenir shops, restaurants, scenic viewpoints. etc

There are two trails, one that roughly follows the gorge and is about 2k and another about 3k.

I was on the second day of my walk along the Shodoshima Pilgrimage and took the ropeway down after having climbed up the East Trail, which is the subject of the previous post in this series.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Kankakei Gorge East Trail

Kankakei Gorge East Trail

Kankakei Gorge East Trail.

Kankakei Gorge on Shodoshima Island is a major scenic spot of the island and included in the top 100 scenic spots of Japan. It is particularly popular in the autumn when it is a blaze of colors.


Formed by 2 million years of erosion, Kankakei, which means "cold mist valley", is home to a dramatic landscape of cliffs, spires, and strangely shaped rock formations. It is commonly viewed from the ropeway which runs for almost a kilometer and climbs about 300 meters to the top.


There are two trails for those who wish to explore the gorge, the West, or Front Trail, and the East, or Back Trail. The latter is about 3k in length and starts from the bus stop very near Hotogegataki, the 20th temple on the Shodoshima pilgrimage.

Old tree on Shodoshima.

About halfway up the trail you pass underneath a huge natural arch or bridge where you can visit Sekimondo Temple, number 18 on the pilgrimage, and like Hotogegataki, a curious cave temple.

View out to sea.

Many of the rock formations you see on the way have names, with the one below looking very much like the coffee pot rock formation near Sedona in Arizona.


As you climb the views become more and more expansive as you get closer to what is not only the highest point on the island but also the highest point in the Seto Inland Sea.


I first visited on the second day of my walk along the Shodoshima pilgrimage. The previous post in the series is Sekimondo Temple 18.