Showing posts with label usuki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label usuki. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Nioza Historical Road

Nioza Historical Road

Nioza is the old district of the former castle town of Usuki in Oita. One of the narrow lanes is stone paved and winds around a slope.

Sometimes called a samurai district, there are a few samurai homes, but also a lot of temples and merchant quarters.

One of the former temples has been converted into a "rest area" for visitors and puts on seasonal displays. When I as there it was dolls.

If you are in Usuki it is certainly worth a look see, but not worth making a special journey.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Kyushu Pilgrimage Temple 28 Kozanji

Kozanji, the 28th temple on the Kyushu pilgrimage is in the hills south of the main town.

It was established here in 1590 but was moved here from Koyasan and is known locally as Koyasan Kozanji. Hideyoshi gave some support to the move.

They brought a lot of statues with them from Koyasan, some dating as far back as the kamakura Period, but I didn't go inside so don't know how many can be seen.

There were a lot of statues in the grounds though......

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Matsushima Shrine Usuki

Matsushima Shrine

Located on a long, narrow island near the mouth of the Usuki River, Matsushima Shrine was founded in 1707.

The three main kami enshrined here are Sokozutsunoo, Nakazutsunoo, & Uwazutsunoo, three kami that were created when Izanagi was purifying himself in water after fleeing from the Underworld.

There is no agreed upon meaning for their names, though they are the three kami that collectively are enshrined at Sumiyoshi shrines. The inclusion of Jingu as a secondary kami further suggests the connection to Sumiyoshi. Why it is a Matsushima shrine and not a Sumiyoshi shrine is not clear to me.

There are other Matsushima shrines so quite probably this was founded as a branch of the main one. Also enshrined here is Sugawara Michizane, Tenjin.

Yuzukosho is a signature product from Usuki

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Inaba Shimo Yashiki

The Inaba were the feudal lords of the Usuki Domain in present-day Oita for most of the Edo Period. When the domains were abolished in the late 19th Century the famiy were made peers and moved to Tokyo

Shimo Yashiki means "lower samurai residence", bvut what it means in this case is "second home". In the first decade of the twentieth century this large residence wwas built for them to stay in whenever they visited Usuki.

Though built in modern times it is a traditional set of buildings and also has some nice gardens.

It is located not far from the castle ruins in downtown Usuki, and if you enjoy traditional japanese architecture it is worth a visit.

Yuzukosho (yuzu pepper) is a signature product from Usuki

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Usuki Gokoku Shrine

In the grounds of Usuki castle was another small shrine, founded in 1879 after the castle had been dismantled, the size of the trees and the pond and landscaping certainly suggests something was here before that.

It is a Gokoku Shrine, basically a local version of the infamous Yasukuni Shrine that enshrines the spirits of those who died fighting for the emperor.

In pre-modern times the castle was the focus of political power, and once the castles were dismantled upon the creation of the modern state of Japan many of the castle ruins had Gokoku shrines built within them to give these new state-worshiping shrines legitimacy.

I suspect that there was a shrine here before but I may be wrong

Yuzukosho (yuzu pepper) is a signature product from Usuki

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Usuki Castle

Originally situated atop a small island that connected to the mainland by a sandbar at low tide, Usuki Castle is now in the middle of the town.

It was built by Otomo Sorin in 1562 who moved here from Funai Castle a little north. It's position was much better for defense and he left his son in charge of Funai castle.

The Shimazu attacked the fortress aided by a troop of Buddhist monks. Sorin had become  Christian and the Buddhist monks sacked and burned all Christian churches in retaliation for the destruction of their temples in the area. Sorin used a cannon against the Shimazu, possible the first time a cannon had been used to defend a castle in Japan., but was eventually defeated though first all the Christians in the castle had been evacuated by Portugese ships.

In 1873 the castle was decommissioned and almost all structures dismantled and a few years later the castle easily fell to Saigo Takamori. The main gate was rebuilt in 2001.

Yuzukosho (yuzu pepper) is a signature product from Usuki

Friday, December 15, 2017

Utono Inari Shrine

Utono Inari Shrine is within the grounds of Usuki Castle ruins.

The Utono Gate used to lead down to the sea but the island the castle was on is now completly landlocked by infill and development.

The shrine was built at the same time as the castle, 1562, by Otomo Sorin who moved his base here from Funai.

As such it was probably a private shrine and not open to the public, like Taikodani Inari in Tsuwano.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Ebisu & Daikoku Kote-e

Kote-e are a traditional type of plaster relief often found on storehouses, temples etc. A kote is a type of spatula-shaped trowel used to work plaster, so kote-e means "trowel pictures"

Not purely for decoration, the symbols used in the kote-e were either to ward of misfortune, commonly fire, or , as in the case of the pictures here, to attract good fortune.

Ebisu and Daikoku are both members of the ' Lucky Gods of Japan", and have long been associated with commercial success and wealth. The picture here were taken in Usuki, Oita. Though kote-e can be found all over Japan, Oita does seem to have a lot.

Yuzukosho (yuzu pepper) is a signature product from Usuki & Hita

Monday, November 6, 2017

Pagoda at Ryugenji

Ryugenji is a small temple in the old district of the former castle town of Usuki on the coast of Oita.

The pagoda was constructed at the latter end of the Edo period, circa early 19th Century.

Other than that I can find no information about the place......

Yuzukosho (yuzu pepper) is a signature product from Usuki & Hita

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Hiyoshi Shrine Usuki

On a hilltop among the Stone Buddhas of Usuki is a small Hiyoshi Shrine. One of about 4,000 Hiyoshi Shrines around the current, it is a branch of the famous Hiyoshi Taisha at the base of Mount Hie near Lake Biwa.

Originally called Hie Shrine, Hiyoshi Taisha was the protective shrine for the monastic complex of Enryakuji on top of Mount Hie, and so I suspect that the monks who carved the Usuki Buddhas were of the Tendai Sect.

The woods around the shrine are apparently quite unique and listed as a prefectural nature site.

The wooden komainu were quite unusual and the honden had some nice relief carvings....

Yuzukosho (yuzu pepper) is a signature product from Usuki & Hita

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Usuki Stone Buddhas

Just outside the old castle town of Usuki in southern Oita are a collection of truly magnificent Buddhist stone carvings known as the Usuki Stone Buddhas.

Carved into cliff faces and overhangs about 60 different statues are grouped together into 4 different clusters. 59 of them are registered as National Treasures.

The carvings were believed to have been made almost 1,000 years ago in the 12th century and because they are carved into fairly soft rock have suffered a lot of erosion since then. They have been somewhat restored and are now protected from the weather.

Most interesting is that they were originally painted and on some of the carvings the traces of pigment are still clearly visible......

Yuzukosho (yuzu pepper) is a signature product from Usuki