Showing posts with label wakanoura. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wakanoura. Show all posts

Monday, May 27, 2024

Wakanoura Bay of Poetry


Wakanoura, which roughly could be translated as  Poetry Bay, is in the southern part of what is now Wakayama City.

Where the Wada River and Waka River enter the sea a long sandbar has created a wide area of tidal mud flats that have been the inspiration for millennia of poets.

Poems set in the area were included in the ancient Manyoshu and subsequent major collections of verse, and Emperor Shomu ( 701-756 ) issued an imperial edict to protect the area in perpetuity.

Modern development has encroached significantly on the views now available, but there are enough sites of interest to make it an area worth a half-day visit.

The closest train station is Kiimidera (photo 3 above), in front of a major temple with a giant Kannon statues. It is a major tourist site and the second temple of the Saigoku pilgrimage, and if you are visiting it, it is not too far to walk to the Wakanoura area.

The place to head to is Imoseyama, a small island connected by a bridge. (photo 1 above)

On the island is the Kankai Kaku Pavillion (photo 4 above), originally built in the Edo period, it  was destroyed by a typhoon and replaced by a concrete replica. This has now been demolished and is being replaced with a wooden replica.

Also nearby is a small two-storey agoda, the remains of Kaizen-in Temple. It was renovated in 1653 by Tokugawa Yorinobu as a memorial to his deceased mother. To reach Imoseyama you cross the Sandankyo bridge, said to be the oldest stone bridge in Wakayama,  built by Yorinobu.

There are several shrines in the area. Shiogama Shrine ( photos 8 and 9 above) is located in a small cave and is very popular for visitors seeking safe childbirth and fertility although originally the kami here were connected to the sea and especially salt production which was important in this area. In front of the shrine is the Furobashi Bridge, built in the Edo period. )photo 12 below)

Nearby is Tamatsushima Shrine, (photo above)which as the name suggests stands on what was an island in former times. Numerous kami are enshrined here but the most notable is Princess Sotoori. Sources differ on her chronology but she seems to have been a particularly beautiful imperial princess of the 5th century.

Deified as one of the Three Gods of Waka Poetry, after appearing in a dream to Emperor Koko in the 9th century reciting a poem about Wakanoura. The shrine has an important collection of ancient manuscripts and is visited by those seeking literary and academic success.

The sandbar in the bay is a popular summer beach spot, and the area around Wakanoura has several small fishing harbors still operating.

Not far away are two major shrines on the mountainside with great views over the Wakanoura area.

Wakaoura Tenmangu Shrine ( photo above), and Kishu Toshogu Shrine are both well worth a visit and feature colorful and detailed architecture.

Also nearby is the Yosuien garden, (photo below) and Minato Goten Palace.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Yosuien Garden


Yosuien is a large stroll-type garden in the Wakanoura area in the south of Wakayama City.

It is considered one of only two major gardens known as "shioiri", that is to say, the large pond is seawater and fed directly by the sea. The other garden of this type is the Hamarikyu Garden in Tokyo.

The large pond covers about half of the gardens 33,000 square meters.

The most predominant vegetation are the pine trees although there are also some camellias, hydrangeas, and azaleas.

The garden makes good use of the "borrowed scenery" of nearby Mount Tenjin and Mount Takozushi.

A small island in the pond is home to a shrine for Inari and Benten. Reached via a shorter "taikobashi" and an unusual longer bridge with three arches.

The garden reminded me somewhat of Ohori Park in Fukuoka, which is unsurprising as both Ohori Park and Yosuien Garden are modeled on the classic West Lake in China.

The garden was built between 1818 and 1826 by Tokugawa Harutaka, the 10th lord of Kishu Domain.

It was used as a retreat by the daimyo and to entertain guests.

The oldest teahouse in Wakayama, Yosui-tei, built in 1821,  comprises 19 rooms and includes the jissaien tearoom for tea ceremonies.

Yosuien is somewhat unusual and well worth a visit, especially with the other attractions nearby like Tenmangu Shrine, Toshogu Shrine, and Kiimidera Temple.

The garden is open every day of the year. Inquire in advance for tours of Yosuitei Teahouse. The garden entry fee includes entrance to the Minato Goten palace.

Relocated to within the garden from its original site, Minato Goten Palace was the previous post in this series on Wakayama.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Wakaura Tenmangu Shrine


The steps up to Wakaura Tenmangu Shrine are steep and rough, but not as long as the stairs up to the neighboring Kishu Toshogu Shrine.

Wakaura Tenmangu is older than the Toshogu by about 7 centuries, although the Tenmangu was rebuilt about ten years before the Toshogu was built in the 17th century.

Enshrining Tenjin, the deified form of Sugawara Michizane, known as a god of poetry and scholarship, Tenmangu shrines are where students head to before taking exams.

It is said that Michizane himself was here in 901 when the ship taking hime to "exile" in Dazaifu dropped anchor here to await favorable winds. He is said to have composed two poems here.

Wakaura, or Wakanoura, literally means Bay of Poetry, and Michizane was adding to a long list of poems composed in the area since ancient times.

It is said that Naoki Tachibana stopped here on his return from Daizaifu, where Michizane's grave was, sometime between 964 and 968, and established the shrine.

The shrine was destroyed in 1585 during the invasion of the area by Hideyoshi. It was rebuilt in 1604 by Yukinaga Asano and employed the leading craftsmen of the day.

The painted carvings of animals around the eaves of the main building are particularly noteworthy. There are several sub-shrines within the grounds, and great views from the shrine over Waknoura.

The previous post in this series on attractions of Wakayama City was the neighbouring Kishu Toshogu Shrine.