Showing posts with label shodoshima. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shodoshima. Show all posts

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.

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.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Anger From the Bottom by Beat Takeshi

As I was climbing up towards the first mountain temple on the Shodoshima Pilgrimage I spied ahead of me what I guessed was a kind of shrine. When I got to it I was faced with a stainless steel figure with big red eyes and an axe embedded in its skull.

Anger From the Bottom is a sculpture by "Beat" Takeshi Kitano and Keniji Yanobe, originally produced for the Setouchi Art Triennale that takes place in the area. It is one of the artworks that is now permanently on display.

Originally there was no roof over it, and the statue was below ground only rising up for 5 minutes every hour. Takeshi is famous in japan as a comedian and TV presenter, but internationally he is known as a film-maker. The unexpected and surprising is a large part of why I enjoy my walks around rural Japan......

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Original 24 Eyes School

24 Eyes ( Nijyushi no Hitomi ) was one of the most popular Japanese movies ever. The original was made in 1955 and was set in an elementary school on Shodoshima which was also the actual location for the filming.

In 1987 the made a remake of the movie but development had made location filming difficult so a fake village and school was built a few k down the road and is now a  movie theme park...

There were far fewer visitors at the real school.

There are hundreds and hundreds of these old schools abandoned all across the Japanese countryside, a few being conserved, but most not....

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Shodoshima Pigrimage temple 4 Furue-an


Just after sunrise on Christmas Eve I was greeted by Fudo Myo, an auspicious begining as I set out on the Shodoshima Pilgrimage.


I started at temple number 4, Furue-an, as my minshuku was literally right next door. I am going to do a loop around the small peminsula before heading up unto the mountains to the official first temple. In front was a line of 33 Kannon statues representing the Bando Kannon Pilgrimage.


Furue-an can be translated as a hermitage rather than a temple. At a point in the past a monk or nun lived here, but it is not a temple with a priest. It is maintained by local people, and quite a few of the "temples" on this pilgrimage are hermitages. There is a very homely and friendly atmosphere at them.


It is located right on the waters edge and right behind it was a small local shrine named Otomiya Shrine. In many small communities such as Furue the shrine and temple are right next to each other and historically would have been one place.


Friday, February 19, 2016

Senbazuru... Thousand Origami Cranes


Senbazuru, 1000 origami cranes strung together, are found all over Japan in various kinds of locations. They are very often done in multiple colors, and in fact kits to make them this way are very common.


Cranes were considered to live for a thousand years, hence each one represents a year. Dating back to the Edo Period, they were given as gifts for good luck to couples at weddings and new born babies etc.


Nowadays they are most strongly associated with Sadako Sasaki, the young Hiroshima girl who died from leukemia contracted from the radiation of the Hiroshima A bomb.


The Japanese Crane was though to be extinct, but has made a comeback though are still very rare and endagered. Edo Period cookbooks consistently ranked the crane as the best tasting bird for eating. These two facts may be related.


All these photos are from my recent walk around Shodoshima. The last photo shows senbazuru made out of metallic paper, but hung in a cave where soot from candles and lanterns have coated them.