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

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Ohashi Kannon Temple 75 Kyushu Pilgrimage


The main building of Ohashi Kannonji is a modern, concrete affair, but because of its proportions it is quite elegant.

The main statue is a Kannon, but to the left is a lovely Fudo, and to the right is an Inari, or maybe a Dakiniten, which unusually has a coiled snake.

According to the temple legend the honzon, an eleven-faced Kannon was carved by Gyoki in the 7th century, so yet another temple in the area that claims a connection to Gyoki.

Nearby is an older hall and the priest's residence.

Among the many statues dotting the grounds is a triad consisting of a central Fudo flanked by a statue of Kannon and a Kobo Daishi.

As well as being on the Kyushu 88/108 pilgrimage, the temple is also on a couple of Kannon pilgrimages.

Ohashi means "Big bridge" and refers to a natural stone bridge in the cliff behind the temple. It deserves its own post which will be next.

The previous post in this series chronicling day 68 of my walk was on the small shrine down below the temple. The previous temple was Saifukuji, a few kilometers upstream and on the opposite side of the valley. It also had a natural bridge.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Seikantei Garden Kinosaki


Gokurakuji Temple is hidden away in a corner of Kinosaki Onsen and is barely visited by the majority of visitors to the resort town, who will miss a quite remarkable garden.

Called Seikan Tei, it is a karesansui, "dry garden" most often associated with Zen, and Gokurakuji is a Rinzai Zen temple.

It is somewhat unusual in that the garden is in front of the main hall and the entrance pathway cuts right through it. many of the traditional gardens were built to be viewed from the rear of the main hall or from the Abbot's residence.

The most unusual thing, to my mind, was that one half of the garden used areas of white gravel and dark gravel, something I don't remember noticing before.

The light and dark areas are separated by a border made of roof tiles set vertically, something that is quite common.

Actually the light areas inside the dark ground form the Chinese character for kokoro, "heart". This is sometimes the shape of ponds.

The rock and moss "islands" in the sea of gravel  also use standard design representations, there being a Crame Island, a Turtle Island, a Three Buddhas Island.....

The garden uses a red rock brought from Kurama, a blue rock from Yoshino, and Shirakawa sand from Kyoto.

 I have been unable to establish when the garden was built. Most sources suggest it is fairly modern and a photo of it dates to 1976.

One source suggests it was designed by a disciple of Mirei Shigemori.

Entry is free, so if you are in the area it would be well worth a visit.

Later I will post on the temple and its history and the nice rock garden in front of it.

The previous post in this series on Toyooka was on the lower part of nearby Onsenji Temple.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Goto Falls Bato Kannon Temple 70 Sasaguri pilgrimage


Temple 70 on the Sasaguri pilgrimage is located in the valley above Narafuchi Dam.

Just above the temple is Goto Falls which was not particularly impressive, at least when I visited.

However, being a waterfall there was an abundance of Fudo Myo statues.

The honzon is a Bato Kannon, a "Horse-head Kannon" and there were also multip Bato Kannon statues.

As with its equivalent temple on Shikoku, this is the only temple on the pilgrimage with a Bato Kannon as a honzon.

According to the legend, a long time ago (probably the Edo era) horses and cattle in the area fell ill and it was discovered that pollution from the Kuroda Clan gunpowder factory had poisoned the river, so  a Bato Kannon statue was erected.

My reason for suggesting Edo period is that the Kuroda were the clan controlling Fukuoka at that time.

Along the path to the waterfall are lots of other statues, not just Bato Kannon and Fudo Myo.

The previous post in this series on day 1 of my walk along the delightful Sasaguri pilgrimage was on the Fudo Myo statues at the previous temple, Jimyoin.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Tsurugake Kannon Saifukuji Temple 76 Kyushu pilgrimage


Saifukuji Temple, number 76 on the Kyushu Pilgrimage, is located on a mountainside overlooking the Sasa River north of Sasebo, Nagasaki.

The road up to the temple was a long gentle slope, for which I was grateful. The biggest building was a very large, modern house, I'm guessing the priest's residence.

A small main hall had a statue of Kobo Daishi standing outside it.

There were rows of Mizuko Jizo lining the approach.

The most interesting thing was the okunoin of the temple, a cave in the cliff behind the main hall.

It is said that the cave had been used by yamabushi, mountain ascetics, since the Heian Period.

It is actually not really a cave anymore as the ceiling has collapsed, leaving a stone bridge, or arch.

There were many small altars within the okunoin, and, not surprisingly,  a predominance of Fudo statues.

The temple itself is actually not so old, being founded in the late Meiji Period, but its origins go back a bit further.

At the end of the 16th century was the Warring States Period was coming to a close, a battle took place here between two rival clans.

In the late 18th century the Hirado Lord laced 5 statues on the mountain, including a Kannon, as a prayer memorial to the samurai who had died. Over time the statues were forgotten and buried by landslides.

In 1894, a local man, a devout worshipper of Kannon, became mortally ill and had a vision showing where the statues were buried. His family dug in the spot and found the statues, including the Eleven-Faced Kannon which is the honzon of Saifukuji. The man was miraculously healed and the Kannon has become famous ever since.

The previous post was on the Sechibaru Coal Mine Museum at the foot of the mountain.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Saikoji Temple 73 on the Kyushu Pilgrimage


Totakesan Saiko Temple, number 73 on the Shingon Kyushu Pilgrimage, is located in the high country north of Sasebo, Nagasaki, not far from the border with Arita in Saga.

The long, straight approach is lined with lanterns, and many of the statues that comprise a miniature 88 temple Shikoku Pilgrimage. The latter part of the approach has a trellis supporting wisteria.

There was a pond with a small shrine, probably a Benzaiten or a Suijin. Like much of the temple grounds, it seemed overgrown and unkempt, although I believe that since I visited a young priest has taken over the temple and has done a lot of renovation work.

A pair of stone Nio guard the main entrance gate.

The temple was founded in 1687 and was supported by the successive lords of the Hirado Domain.

It is said that at a nearby sacred rock and spring a priest had a vision of Kokuzo Bodhisattva, and so a statue of Kokuzo from a temple said to be founded by Gyoki across the mountains in Takeo, was transferred here and became the honzon.

The temple is also number 28 on the Kyushu Kannon Pilgrimage and number 17 on the Kyushu Jizo Pilgrimage.

A branch of Suitengu Shrine is within the temple grounds.

The grounds of the temple include some noteworthy trees that attract visitors. Most notable is a huge Omurazakura which is a cutting from the original Omurazakura lanted at the founding of the temple.

There is also a big Weeping Cherry and a Gyoiko Cherry with unusually coloured blooms, and something called a Turmeric Cherry.

There are also plenty of rhododendrons, and the aforementioned Wisteria.

Since the new priest took over in 2017 I believe the gardens have also been looked after much better than when I visited.

The previous post was on the Giant Fudo Myo statue adjacent to the temple.