Sunday, July 28, 2013

More Umbrellas & Parasols


So, the rainy season is officially over, but there are still showers and thunderstorms to contend with, so umbrellas are still ubiquitous.


Of course umbrellas also double as parasols, and as such are very much in evidence when the sun is shining, mostly used by the females....


As I am busy walking around Kyushu at the moment I don't have time to write much


So, these photos will have to do......


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Japanese Pond Turtles


Freshwater turtles can be found all over Japan, in castle moats, shrine and temple ponds, lakes, irrigation ditches, etc etc


I'm no naturalist, so am not sure exactly which species these are. They might be Japanese Pond Turtles ( mauremys japonica), or they may be Chinese Pond Turtles or a hybrid as the various species are able to interbreed.


They are reptiles, so need to spend time basking in the sun, which is when they are easiest to see...

One day in Shimonoseki 858

This last photo shows one crossing a road early in the morning heading to a small river...


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tairyuji Ropeway


The Tairyuji Ropeway in Tokushima goes from the small town of Naka on the Naka River up to Tairyuji, the 21st temple of the Shikoku Pilgrimage.


As you would expect there are some stunning views on the 10 minute journey


The journey between the two stations is 2.7 kilometers and difference in altitude is 422 meters.


Near the top one can see back to temple 20, Kakurinji.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Kyushu 108 Pilgrimage, Temple 2 Hannya-in

Hannya-in is the second temple on the Kyushu Pilgrimage I am walking. Its located in a hilly suburb of Fukuoka City.

Like all 108 of the temples on the pilgrimage it belongs to the Shingon sect. The honzon is an 11-faced Kannon, and in the main hall there are also a Yakushi Nyorai, a Fudo Myoo and a Kobo Daishi statue:

There was a small Inari shrine in the grounds, and this shrine with a carving of a snake eating its tail. Unfortunately the sign was illegible.

I would have asked the priest but he was busy with a ceremony. The nicest thing at the temple was the big Fudo Myo statue.

The origins of the temple lie with a tea-master of the Fukuoka domain who dies about 300 years ago.

Apparently it was moved to its current location because of the  construction for the shinkansen line.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Kanaya Tenmangu


Kanaya shrine is south of the river in Hagi and therefore a little off the main tourist track, but it was the premier shrine for the castle inhabitants at least. This big gate once held Nio, the Buddhist guardians that were removed in 1868 with the separation of Buddhas and Kami.


It was moved to this site in 1720, though I have been unable to find out exactly from where. Its location is just outside what was a major gate into the castle town. Whenever the daimyo had to travel to Edo for sankin kotai, the forced residence in Edo in alternate years, the entourage would stop first here and pray for a safe journey.


The main enshrined kami is Tenjin, the deified identity of Sugawara Michizane, and this is a branch shrine of Dazaifu Tenmangu.


Being patronized by the rulers, the shrine has lots of donated artworks..... which I will show in a later post...


Friday, July 5, 2013

More Beppu Flowers


Beppu in Oita styles itself "flower town" and is reflected in its choice of designs for manhole covers. A previous post can be found here. This post shows a few more. This first one is of tsutsuji, azaleas.


This may very well be another azalea design or possibly hibiscus.


This ones easy.... cherry blossoms and tulips.... but I couldn't find it in color.


Not sure what this one is....

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Atrium at Ehime Science Museum


The entrance to the Ehime Science Museum is through a perfectly conical atrium.


From there steps lead down to an underground tunnel that leads to the planetarium.


Information and photos of the planetarium can be found here, and photos of the outside of the museum complex can be found here.


The museum was designed by Kishi Kurokawa and it opened in 1994


It is located in Niihama, Ehime, and entrance is 500 yen for adults.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Shikoku 88, Temple 21, Tairyuji


Tairyu-ji, which means Great Dragon Temple, is one of the few locations on the pilgrimage that can be historically verified as a location where Kukai visited. He spent 50 days on the mountaintop as a youth performing a ritual with a mantra being repeated 1,000,000 times. A statue of him can be found on a mountaintop below the temple.


The temple is at 610 meters above sea level and affords some expansive views....... there is now a ropeway to the summit. Looking back, it is possible to see the pagoda from temple 20 rising through the trees on the next mountain.


Kukai later returned to the site under orders from Emperor Kammu and founded the temple and became its first head priest.


It is a Shingon temple, and the main deity is Kokuzo, whose mantra Kukai recited.


Monday, June 17, 2013


Temple #3 of the Izumo 33 Kannon Pilgrimage is the Tendai mountain temple of Gakuenji, a place I have visited many times and still one of my favorite temples. earlier posts can be found here.

To my great surprise there was for the first time an entrance fee!!!!.... that included a cup of green tea, and once I got over my initial shock I decided that maybe its a good idea. With no parish to provide funerary expenses the temple needs funds to maintain the buildings.

When i first came here many years ago there was a wonderful thatched-roof nunnery. Without maintenance it collapsed and was torn down. Maybe with the income from the thousands who come here in the Fall for the colors and the increasing number of pilgrims who come here can provide some protection for the place.

Before I left the young priest gave me a pamphlet of the Izumo 33 Kannon Pilgrimage. It has a nice map and details of each of the temples, and most useful the temple names are written with furigana so they can be easily read. Gakuen-ji is also part of the Chugoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage, so I will be back here again when i walk that in 2014.

The Chugoku Nature Trail runs through the temple, and while car pilgrims have to drive back down the mountain and around I can take the trail straight up and over the mountains....

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Many More Rivers To Cross


This is a second post on some of the rivers that must be crossed while walking the Shikoku Pilgrimage. The first post can be found here. This first photo is the Hiwasa River where it reaches the sea at Hiwasa in Tokushima, home to temple #23, Yakuo-ji from where the photo is taken.


According at a no longer extant 16th Century guidebook there were 488 rivers to cross on the route, though this may be a symbolic number as it also claims there were 488 hills to be climbed. The second photo shows the Kaifu River at Kaifu, Tokushima.


Many rivers had to be forded, some had paying ferries.  Chozen, a monk walking the pilgrimage in the mid 17th Century, recorded instances of boats left for the use of pilgrims, but also having to beg for rides from passing boats. This third photo is the Shishikui River in Shishikui, Tokushima.


By the end of the 17th Century the pilgrimage had become much more popular and a guide book written by Shinnen, the Michishirube, gave detailed instructions on how and where to cross the rivers and by then there were many more free boats available for pilgrims.


The last two photos are unknown rivers on the east coast of the Muroto Peninsula, just inside Kochi.