Showing posts with label temple. Show all posts
Showing posts with label temple. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Gokurakuji Temple Kinosaki


Gokurakuji Temle is a Rinzai Zen temple tucked away down a back lane in Kinosaki Onsen and is hardly visited by most visitors to the town.

In front of the main gate is a hillside rock garden dotted with statues and a pond with what I presume is a Benzaiten Shrine.

The temple dates back to around the beginning of the 15th century, but fell into disuse and was revived in the early 17th century by the Zen monk known as Takuan after the pickle he is said to have invented.

He resided for some years at Sukyoji Temple in the nearby castle town of Izushi and is said to have been a frequent visitor to Kinosaki's onsens.

On the hillside just above the temple is a Rakuju Kannon statue that I didn't visit, but the rock garden in front of the main gate has several other Kannon statues as well as a Fdo and a Jizo.

The main hall is registered as an Important Cultural property even though it was built in 1921, it seems quite elegant. The main gate is also registered and dates back to the late 17th century.

The water in the Tsukubai basin is piped from a sacred spring behind the temple famed for its healing qualities and said to have been discovered by the monk who discovered the hot spring and founded the nearby Onsenji Temple.

The jewel in the crown of the temple though is the Seikantei "dry" garden which features sections of both black gravel and white gravel .

 The honzon of the temple is an Amida Nyorai, and there is also a Koshin-do in the grounds (photo below)

The previous post was on the magnificent Seikantei Garden. Also nearby is Onsenji Temple

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Hoko-in Temple 70 Kyushu pilgrimage


A statue of Kobo Daishi, the focus of the Kyushu 108 sacred sites pilgrimage, stands outside temple 70, Hoko-in near Arita in Saga.

I reached it on day 70 of my walk along the pilgrimage, a curious coincidence.

A large Bokefuji Kannon statue stands in the grounds. An increasingly popular form of Kannon, prayed to for protection against dementia and senility.

The honzon is a "secret" 11-faced Kannon, and the temple is also part of the Kyushu Kannon pilgrimage.

The temple was founded in the early Edo period when a monk came down from nearby Mount Kurokami.,A shugendo center, and home to temple 69 which I will be visiting tomorrow.

With the ban on Shuigendo in the early Meiji period the temple fell into disuse and disrepair, but was revived in 1968. The Daishi statue in the Daishi Hall was brought from another Shugendo mountain temple, underscoring the historical connection to Yamabushi.

The temple unusually has a Mizuko hall as well as the main hall and Daishi hall.

This was to be the only temple of the day for me as I spent the rest of the day as a tourist exploring Arita.

The previous temple was number 79 Zenpukuji.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Shoboji Temple & Seiganji Temple 30 & 31 on Shodoshima pilgrimage


After a couple of small, hermitage-type "temples", number 30, Shoboji, in the small coastal settlement of Yoshino on the Mito peninsula, was quite substantial though there was no-one home.

It is said the temple was founded by Kobo Daishi himself in the early 9th century.

The main hall is said to be about 250-300 years old.

The honzon is a small statue of Dainichi dating back to the Heian period, possibly even the 10th century. It is one of the oldest Dainichi statues in all of Kagawa. Flanking the Dainich is a Tamonten and a Jikokuten from the same period although these two are believed to have been carved locally.

Not far away, around a small headland, and in the next coastal settlement, is Seiganji, temple 31.

This is even more substantial and with a bell tower gate dating back to the Edo period.

The most noticeable thing here though is the massive Sago palm that almost obscures the view of the main building. probably about 1,000 years old, though some claim it to be 1,600 years old, 7.5 meters high, and with a trunk diameter of 8 meters.

It is said the temple was founded by Gyoki in the first half of the 8th century. While sleeping at this spot he is said to have a dream of Myoken, the Buddhist version of the North Star deity and a very, very popular cult in Japan.

Believed to be Taoist in origin and brought to Japan by Korean immigrants, esoteric Buddhism adopted the deity. Right next door is a Myoken Shrine. Thousands of Myoken shrines were renamed and the deity renamed as a Shinto kami in the early Meiji period. One possible site of origin in Japan is the Yatsushiro Shrine in southern Kyushu. That post also links to a favorite Myoken temple of mine, Nose Myokensan near Osaka.

The main hall is on the hillside above the main temple grounds. It was built in 1933 out of Taiwanese Cypress and features many carvings. The honzon is a standing Amida Nyorai. Also in the main hall are a Senju Kannon, a Myoken Bosatsu, and a Fudo Myoo.

Leading up to the main hall is a delightful Edo-period rock garden. In front of the garden is a large flat stone that if you stand on it the North Star is visible directly above the main hall/

The previous post was on temples 28 nd 29.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Zenpukuji Temple 79 Kyushu pilgrimage


Zenukuji Temple is located in Imafuku, now part of Matsuubara City. It is the only Shingon temple in Imafuku and the only temple I visited on day 69 of my walk around Kyushu.

The temple has strong links with the Matsuura Clan after whom the city is named. The temple was established in 1335 as a Betto of Imamiya Shrine. 

The Imamiya Shrine enshrined the founder of the Matsuura Clan, and the temple was established as a place for the Buddhist priests who performed rituals at the shrine. . In the 17th century, the temple was moved to its current site from further inland.

The ceiling of the main hall had some beautiful ceiling paintings.

The honzon of the temple is a standing Amida Nyorai.

The main gate was relocated from a Tenmangu Shrine.

I arrived from the "back" way from the other side of the hill and through the neighbouring shrine.  88 statues with red bibs stood along the path.

At the base of the stairs running up to the main gate is an eclectic collection of small statues.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Mt. Ebisu Reisenji Temple


Reisenji Temle was one of the 12 main temples located in the heart of the Kunisaki peninsula in Oita that made up the unique Rokugo Manzan cult and pilgrimage, a form of Shugendo based on Usa Hachiman and  Tendai Buddhism.

Situated high up the Takeda River valley, one of the 28 valleys that radiated out from the volcanic heart of the peninsula.

The main gate was relocated here from neighbouring Rokusho Shrine after the separation of Buddhas and Kami. The shrine, Jisson-in Temple, and Reisenji Temple were all originally the same site.

Reisenji is nowadays number 14 on the Rokugo Manzan pilgrimage which can be followed along a recently renovated long-distance trail, the Kunisaki Hanto Moimemichi Long Trail. It is said the temple was founded in 718. The honzon is a Thousan-Armed Kannon.

The shrines and temples of Kunisaki are known for their stone Nio guardians, and Resenji is home to six, 2 of which are guarding the biggest Jizo statue in all of Kyushu.

Almost 5 meters tall, and made out of a single piece of stone, the Jizo was carved in 1860.

I visited at the start of my second leg walking the Kyushu Fudo pilgrimage during which I walked a large part of the Kunisaki pilgrimage at the start as they somewhat coincided. The previous post in the series was on the large Hachiman Shrine near the mouth of the Takeda River.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Kaigenji Temple 78 Kyushu pilgrimage


Though listed as temple 78 on the Kyushu pilgrimage, Kaigenji is not really a temple at all. It consists of a monument and a roofed area for conducting ceremonies.

It is located next to a small beach on the north coast of Hirado Island and is the site where Kobo Daishi set sail on his journey to Tang China in 804

From the 7th to 9th centuries Japan sent numerous diplomatic missions to China. The one in 804 consisted of 4 ships, only two of which reached China.

A small number of monks were often included in the mission, and in this case not only Kukai, as he was known, but also Saicho were on the trip.

Saicho returned a little sooner than Kukai and he went on to found  Tendai Buddhism. Kukai founded Shingon.

On the hill above the beach is a giant statue of Kukai. The previous post was on Saikyoji Temple, marking the spot Kukai performed a ceremony after returning from China.