Showing posts with label tadaji. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tadaji. Show all posts

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Torii Tunnels


Lines of red torii placed so close together they form a tunnel are a common sight throughout Japan. The most famous and most photographed are at the Fushimi Inari Shrine near Kyoto, but smaller versions can be found all over at shrines and temples.


They are usually made of wood, occasionally steel, but more often nowadays plastic pipe is being used. Each torii will have been paid for by a donation, and the name of the donor is usually written on each, similar to how some shrines will have lines of more expensive stone lanterns.


The top photo is from the Inari Shrine in the grounds of Suwa Shrine, Nagasaki. The second photo is at Tadaji Temple in Hamada. The third is a small Inari hokora near Kokura Castle.


The photo above is an Inari shrine in the grounds of the Hitomaro Shrine in Masuda.


If the Inari shrine is on a hillside, like at Fushimi, then the torii tunnels will switchback up the hillside like the photo above taken at the Taikodani Inari Shrine in Tsuwano.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tada-Ji, Hamada


Located in the hills just to the east of Hamada, Tada-Ji is the oldest existing temple in Hamada.
Founded in the early eighth Century by a student of Kukai it is a fairly large complex with several huge trees over 1,000 years old.


Kukai, known posthumously as Kobo Daishi is the founder of the Shingon sect, bases at Koyasan near Osaka/Nara.


This statue of Kobo Daishi stands in front of an Inari Shrine. Around the statue is a short path with 88 stone markers representing the 88 temples of the famous Shikoku pilgrimage. Miniature versions of pilgrimages are common throughout Japan, but this may be the shortest I've seen. Why walk 1,400 kilometres to visit 88 sites when you can walk it in 14 metres!


Of course there are hundreds and hundreds of miniature statues as at most temples.

Interestingly there is also a kagura-den with small shrine within the grounds.


Inside the main worship hall are 59 wooden statues that were found washed up on a nearby beach. Experts date the statues to about 1,000 years ago. They were found in 1870 around the time the new Meiji Government had a campaign to suppress Buddhism. Thousands of temples were razed and buddhist artworks destroyed, obviously sometimes by throwing them into the rivers and sea. The sea current here comes from the west so there is a high probability that they came from a temple in Yamaguchi Prefecture.


There is a big Matsuri here in early march that I hope to attend as I have never been to a Buddhist matsuri.

More posts on Tada-ji here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tada-Ji Kawaii


One aspect of Japanese culture that I find often overbearing is the kawaii culture. usually translated into english as "cute", it is everywhere. Usually another "k" word:- kitsch-, is more appropriate, but sometimes there is some genuine cuteness, like when I was at Tada-Ji. The buddhist statue above is made from fishing net bouys.


On the steps of the main hall, a buddhist Tanuki (racoon-dog). The usually visible huge testicles of the tanuki are here syutably covered.


The red caps and bibs on statues are seen to be cute by many foreigners. I'm not sure if these are mizuko Kannon, or mizuko Jizo.


In front of the temple was a small mizuko Jizo altar. childrens toys are commonly found at Jizo altars.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tada-Ji Nio


Nio, sometimes called kongorikishi, are pairs of statues found guarding many temples. Often found in the entrance gates to temples (niomon), nio were originally Hindu deities that have been incorporated into buddhism and function as protectors.


The pair at Tada-Ji, a temple just outside Hamada, are particularly fine examples, with each statue being carved out of a single kusunoki (Cinnamon tree).


As with the komainu (pairs of guardian lions/dogs that guard shrines and temples) one of the 2 statues has its mouth closed, and the other its mouth open. This represents the sounds "ah" and "n", the beginning and the end, the alpha and omega.


I've been driving past the roadsign that points to Tada-ji for years, but this was the first time I'd actually been there, and I was very pleasantly surprised. It's a very old Shingon temple, founded in the 9th Century by one of kukai's pupils.