Showing posts with label sugawara michizane. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sugawara michizane. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Wakaura Tenmangu Shrine


The steps up to Wakaura Tenmangu Shrine are steep and rough, but not as long as the stairs up to the neighboring Kishu Toshogu Shrine.

Wakaura Tenmangu is older than the Toshogu by about 7 centuries, although the Tenmangu was rebuilt about ten years before the Toshogu was built in the 17th century.

Enshrining Tenjin, the deified form of Sugawara Michizane, known as a god of poetry and scholarship, Tenmangu shrines are where students head to before taking exams.

It is said that Michizane himself was here in 901 when the ship taking hime to "exile" in Dazaifu dropped anchor here to await favorable winds. He is said to have composed two poems here.

Wakaura, or Wakanoura, literally means Bay of Poetry, and Michizane was adding to a long list of poems composed in the area since ancient times.

It is said that Naoki Tachibana stopped here on his return from Daizaifu, where Michizane's grave was, sometime between 964 and 968, and established the shrine.

The shrine was destroyed in 1585 during the invasion of the area by Hideyoshi. It was rebuilt in 1604 by Yukinaga Asano and employed the leading craftsmen of the day.

The painted carvings of animals around the eaves of the main building are particularly noteworthy. There are several sub-shrines within the grounds, and great views from the shrine over Waknoura.

The previous post in this series on attractions of Wakayama City was the neighbouring Kishu Toshogu Shrine.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Kojiro Shrine


Kojiro is located on the north coast of the Shimbara Peninsula in Nagasaki, and I visited after crossing Isahaya Bay on the modern dyke.

On the hilltop overlooking the small town are a pair of shrines, Kojiro Shrine and an Inari Shrine.

The Inari shrine was founded in 1757. The Kojiro shrine was probably founded in the early 17th century as it stands at the spot where Tsurukame Castle's main tower stood.

Tsurukame Csstle measured 350 meters by 450 meters and was considered impregnable by attacking forces.

It was demolished when the daimyo were forced to have only one castle per domain.

I believe Kojiro shrine enshrines a member of the Nabeshima Clan who were given the domain, and also Sugawara Michizane. There is not one single piece of the castle to be seen, though there is a samurai district down below where I was headed next.

The previous post was on the Isahaya Bay Dyke.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Uchida Tenmangu


Mid February, and the plum trees lining the approach to Uchida Tenmangu are about to burst into bloom. Tenmangu shrines often have plum trees as they were a favorite topic for ancient Japanese poets and scholars like Sugawara Michizane who is enshrined here.

The bamboo attached to the torii would have been fresh when put up for the new year. The torii are Hizen-style as this is still within what used to be Hizen. Uchida is a small settlement in between Takeo and Ureshino in Saga.

I am heading up the Rokkaku River along National Route 34 which roughly follows the old Nagasaki Kaido.

There is no info on the shrine, although there are a lot of Tenmangu shrines in this part of Kyushu. There is a massive old camphor tree that suggests that the shrine has been here for some centuries.. although the pavilion-style main building has been recently rebuilt. Its ceiling is covered in small square paintings, but its too dark to get a good photo.

I'm on day 58 of my walk along the Kyushu Pilgrimage, though I am making quite a detour in order to visit a site that will be closing down in a few weeks....

The previous post was the nearby Otsubo Quarry.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Osaka Tenmangu

Osaka Tenmangu

Osaka Tenmangu.

Osaka Tenmangu is a large, quiet, shrine in the middle of downtown Osaka that is the origin of Osak's biggest matsuri, the Tenjin matsuri.


There are countless thousands of wooden ema strung up around the main buildings, the vast majority containing prayers for success in exams, as this is a Tenmangu shrine, enshrining Sugawara Michizane, considered to be the patron of scholarship.

Osaka Tenmangu.

The origin of the shrine comes from when Sugawara Michizane stopped at Daishogunsha Shrine on his journey to "exile" in Dazaifu. That shrine now exists as a sub-shrine in the grounds today.


A small pond in the grounds is home to some Japanese pond  turtles,.... something I think is more common at shrines than at temples....


The shrine buildings have been destroyed many times by fire, but surprisingly the main hall anf gate survived the destruction of WWII and date back to the mid 19th century.


There are a lot of secondary shrines within the large grounds, including the obligatory Inari Shrine.

Osaka Tenmangu.

This was my second day walking the Kinki Fudo Myo pilgrimage and was heading to the next temple after having visited  Houoninji.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Otoguma Tenmangu


A copse of tall, old trees rising from the middle of an expanse of fields is often a sure signifier of the location of a shrine.

The banners flying, in this case for the Hatsumode period of the new year is another sign.

Otoguma is another tiny settlement, in southern Fukuoka, and the small local shrine is a mere 250 meters from a neighboring village shrine, Shisojima Tenmangu, and this is yet another Tenmangu.

In 1884 a couple of more kami were added to the shrine. This was a time of great changes in the religious landscape of japan due to the separation of the buddhas and the kami. In 1918 some more were added and this may have been a result of the shrine closure-merger program.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Tashima Oimatsu Shrine


Tashima is a small farming hamlet  north of the river in the Chikugo River Plain. I passed through and stopped in at the local shrine while walking between Nanrinji Temple and Joshinin Temple.

It was January 3rd, still well into the period when shrines have most visitors, and I suspect the two young women with girls were making their first shrine visit of the year.

For new year the banners were flying and the shrine had a length of fresh cut bamboo placed along the shimenawa.

This was another Oimatsu Shrine, the vast majority of which are located here in Fukuoka, and which enshrines Sugawara Michizane who died not far from here in Dazaifu. Most shrines for Michizane are named Tenmangu or Tenjin Shrine, and there are also numerous of those in the area, so exactly what the difference is between a Tenmagu and an Oimatsu Shrine, is unknown to me.

Unusually there was a Buddhist pagoda at the shrine. It seemed to be a modern construction, so maybe replaced an original that was removed in 1868?

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Oimatsu Shrine

Oimatsu Shrine

Oimatsu Shrine is close to the Waterwheels of Hishino, and seems to be a fairly typical village shrine.

I've gotten pretty good at being able to spot rural shrines at a distance as they are often "islands" of large trees.

I was heading north and northeast away from the Chikugo River towards the first pilgrimage temple of  day 54 of my first Kyushu pilgrimage.

There are quite a few Oimatsu shrines, most seem to be in northern Kyushu, but also western Honshu. The signboard here was not very helpful, but Oimatsu shrines enshrine Sugawara Michizane.

Why it is not a Tenjin or Tenmangu shrine is not clear. Maybe Oimatsu shrines enshrine a different "aspect" of Michizane.

Though located about as far from the sea as its possible to be in Kyushu, ie right in the middle of northern Kyushu, there was offerings of seaweed and small dried fish.

The main hall also had a painted ceiling and a large number of ema in the form of large paintings.

Also unusual was this group of statues.....

Japan Goods

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Mizuta Tenmangu

Mizuta Tenmangu

A few miles north of the Geibunkan is the small town of Mizuta and the main shrines is a Tenmangu with this unusual Torii.

It was founded in 1226 as a branch of Dazaifu Tenmangu, the burial place of Sugawara Michizane north of here. Dazaifu was the "capital" of Kyushu. Suguwara Michizane was a high-ranking courtier in Kyoto who was "exiled" to Dazaifu by his rivals at court.

He died shortly afterwards and his enemies began to die off and so it was believed that Michizane was operating as an "angry ghost", a very important component of Japanese beliefs. To appease his spirit he was posthumously promoted and also enshrined as Tenjin in Kitano Tenmangu shrine in Kyoto.

Tenjin is now considered a kind of patron saint of education and students will pray at Tenmangu shrines for success with exams and such.

The current main hall of the shrine was a reconstruction built in the early 17th century. It is said that Mizuta Tenmangu is the second-largest Tenmangu shrine in Kyushu after Dazaifu tenmangu.

Buy tatami direct from Japan