Showing posts with label tendai. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tendai. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Saigokuji Temple Sasaguri


Sasaguri is a small town in a narrow valley in the mountains NE of the major urban area of Hakata/Fukuoka City in northern Kyushu.

It is home to a delightful miniature version of the Shikoku Ohenro pilgrimage that while only 50 kilometers in length, takes a good 4 or sometimes 5 days to walk as there is so much up and downing in the mountains.

With 88 temples crammed together in such a small area, it is perhaps surprising that you pass by numerous other temples that are not part of the pilgrimage.

Saigokuji is one such temple, and like many on the pilgrimage, is small and uninhabited, but also with quite a few small structures containing many statues.

I can find no information about it except that it is a Tendai temple. There were a couple of Fudo statues, but Kannon seems to be the primary focus.

It is located just upstream of the reservoir behind Narufuchi Dam and just a few minutes walk from the Goto Falls Bato Kannon Temple. We visited at the end of a long first day walking the pilgrimage that had included seeing  literally thousands of statues.....

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Oreki Temple 7 Kyushu Fudo Myo Pilgrimage


Oreki-ji is a small, Tendai temple in the mountains of the Kunisaki Peninsula, and is temple number 7 on the Kyushu Fudo Myo Pilgrimage.

It is less than 3 kilometers from Mudo-ji, temple number 6, that I had visited a little earlier.

Like Mudo-ji, Oreki-ji is one of the Rokugo Manzan temples of the Kunisaki Peninsula that developed its own unique form of syncretic mountain religion more than a millenia earlier, and that makes the area so intriguing to visit nowadays.

Just inside the gate, next to a large Wishing Jizo statue, is a small hall with a second set of stone Nio guardians. Inside are 33 Kannon statues.

Like all 28 Rokugo Manzan temples, Oreki-ji is said to have been founded by the monk Ninmon in 718, though many historians consider him to be more a legendary figure.

It was moved to its current location in 1625. The temple declined during the Edo Period and eventually became abandoned by the mid 19th century, but was revived by monks from Futago-ji.

The hinzon is a Thousand-armed Kannon, originally held in the okunoin further up the mountainside, but moved here after a fire. The Okunoin is now a Rokusho Shrine, but I did not make the climb up to it.

There is also a fine, Heian Period statue of Fudo Myo. Originally located in its own building on the other side of the river, it is carved out of a single piece of cypress and is registered as a Prefectural Important Cultural Property.

There are many other statues inside the main hall, including an En no Gyoja flanked by  2 demon servants ( photo 5 )

Since I first started exploring the Kunisaki area many years ago it has become more popular but still most visitors only visit a half dozen major sites, but it is well worth spending more time here and exploring more deeply as it is filled with sights to see. The Kunisaki Hanto Minemichi Long Trail is a walking route with minimal support infrastructure, but it roughly follows the old Shugendo  pilgrimage route. This was the second day of my walk along it.

The previous post in this series was on the nearby Misosogi Shrine.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Mudo-ji Temple 6 Kyushu Fudo Myoo Pilgrimage

Mudo-ji Temple

Mudo-ji Temple.

The Fudo Myo statue at Mudoji Temple on the Western slope of the Kunisaki peninsula is calmer and much less fierce than most, and this is said to be indicative of the style of the Heian period when it was carved.

Mudo-ji is temple number 6 on the Kyushu Fudo Myoo pilgrimage but was the first of the pilgrimage temples I visited even though I was well into day 2 of my walk.


In its heyday it was a large and powerful temple of the Rokugo Manzan shugendo system in the Usa-Kunisaki area and had between 50 and 100 monks as well as controlling numerous temples in the vicinity. It is said to have been founded in the early 8th century by Ninmon, the legendary founder of the Rokugo Manzan.

Nowadays the temple is most known for its collection of 16 Heian period statues including the Fudo as well as the largest wooden statue in the area, a Yakushi, pictured above.

There is also a statue of Dainichi Nyorai, the Great Sun Buddha, the central figure is the esoteric sects of Tendai and Shingon. There is also a statue of Maitreya, the Future Buddha who will appear at some point in the far future.

I had arrived at Mudoji after coming down from the ridge that separated this river valley from that of Tennenji and the Fudo cliff carving there.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Flowers & Statues at Choanji Temple


The gardens at Choanji Temple in the Kunisaki peninsula  spread up the hillside from the main buildings towards the biggish shrine above.

As I cam over the mountain I encountered the gardens before the temple. As I mentioned in the previous post, the gardens seemed somewhat unkempt, though to my mind that is not a criticism. I'm no great fan of flowers so I realy gon't know what they were, except for azaleas which I do recognize.

It was still really early so there were no visitors or staff around. In the treasure hall is said to be a small wooden statue of a deity called Taroten. It was enshrined in the large shrine that was the okunoin of the temple until 1868. The statue looks like a kami statue but is associated with Fudo Myo and also tengu.

There wre a few statues around the grounds, and at least three pairs of the stone Nio guardians that are ubiquitous in Kunisaki

More posts on this tri around Kunisaki can be found by clicking the Kyushu Fudo label below, or from an earlier trip by clicking the Kunisaki Fall Walk label.

The principal statuem te honzon, was theis Edo-period statue of a Thousand-Armed Kannon.


Saturday, August 21, 2021

Meiseki-ji Temple 43 Shikoku Pilgrimage


Located on a hillside in Seiyo, southern Ehime Prefecture, Meiseki-ji is a pleasant enough temple complex, but strangely unmemorable.

While many of the pilgrimage temples claim Kobo Daishi as their founder in the 9th century, quite a few are attributed to Gyoki a century or more earlier. but Meiseki claims to have been founded in the 6th century.

Since then it has gone through numerous destructions and rebuilding. The current buildings mostly date from late Meiji P

There is a nice pair of large sugi trees linked with a shimenawa named as "Married Sugi", but otherwise very little in the way of statuary.

The temple belongs to the Tendai sect and the honzon is a senju Kannon.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Kinzanji the Oldest Temple in Okayama


According to records, Kinzani Temple was founded bu the monk Hoon Daishi, under orders of Empress Koken, in the year 749, which makes it the oldest surviving temple in Okayama.

Also known as Kanayam Kannonji, I came across the temple quite unexpectedly while walking  through the mountain north of Okayama City and spied a large, old pagoda on the hillside.

Qith its dilapidated Nio gate, onky foundations stones of the formerly huge main hall, and a couple of structures other than the pagoda, it looked like it was obviouslt a very major temple coplex in former times, but now almost abandoned.

However there was a walled compound that was home to a cluster of buildings, including what I guessed was the priests home and a small main hall. It is now a Tendau sect temple and apparently home to one of the infamous "Naked Festivals" where hordes of men and boys in loin-cloths jostle for good luck charms....

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Pagoda at Kinzanji


While walking up a country lane north of Okayama City on the third day of my walk along the Chugoku Kannon Pilgrimage, I spied a pagoda on the hillside ahead. I was quite surprised as while studying maps of my route I did not notice any major temples.

Turns out it was Kinzanji, a Tendai temple that was commonly known as Kanayama Kannonji and was founded by Ho-on Daishi in 749.

The pagoda, a three storeyed one, was built in 1788. Approaching the pagoda you pass through the Niomon, which like the nio housed inside, is much in need of repair and is held together by wooden scaffolding.

Where the huge main hall once stood now all that remaons are the foundation stones. The niomon, main hall, and pagoda line up. There is also a goma-do that dates back to the 16th century.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Treasures of Makiodo

The Treasure Hall at Makiodo Temple in the Hunisaki area.

Makiodo was built on the site of Makisan Denjo-ji, a large temple in the Kunisaki Peninsula area of Oita. The temple burned down in the early 14th Century but some of the statues were saved and are on display now at Makiodo.

Amida Nyorai flanked by the 4 Shitenno
Makisan Denjoji was reputed to be the biggest of the Tendai temples in the Kunisaki area that was home to a Tendai version of Shugendo. I visited it on the first day of my walk along the Kyushu Fudo Myo Pilgrimage. The first group of temples on the pilgrimage are located in the Kunisaki area and as I had been long wanting to walk the old Kunisaki Pilgrimage I used this opportunity. The Kunisakihanto Minemichi Long Trail approximately follows the old pilgrimage route.

Rare Statue of Daitoku Myo at Makiodo
All the statues on display in the Treasure House are obviously more than 700 years old and include a seated Amida Buddha with the four Shitenno, Heavenly Guardians, flanking it. What is believed to be the biggest example of A Daitoku Myo in Japan, seated astride an ox, and a wonderful Fudo Myo with his two attendants.

Fudo Myo at Makiodo in Kunisaki
In a separate building are other artworks and a pair of Nio guardians. Makiodo is located less than 3 kilometers north from the Kumano Magaibutsu, and like many of the really interesting places in Japan , not really served by public transport.

Ancient Nio statue on display at Makiodo