Saturday, October 26, 2013

Yukawa Residence, Hagi


The Yukawa were a low ranking samurai family who lived along the Aiba Canal in Hagi. They were the keepers of the canal which is probably why their residence was larger than normal for people of their rank.


It only costs 100 yen to get in and look around and there are not so many visitors so it can be enjoyed quietly. Around the house are several stone water basins, tsukubai.


What is unusual about these samurai houses along the Aiba  are the hatoba, the covered inlets that allow for direct access to the flowing water for the kitchen and bathroom...


Well worth 100 yen and an hour of your time...


Monday, October 21, 2013

Rendai-ji. Temple 6 of the Izumo 33 Kannon Pilgrimage

Rendai-ji, the sixth temple of the Izumo 33 Kannon Pilgrimage is located on a hilltop at 100 meters. The final approach is up 160 stone steps.

From the temple there are fine views down on Hikawa with Hirata off in the distance.

Its a Shingon temple, and has a Daishi-do as well as the main hall. There is a priests house but it looks to have been uninhabited for a while.

There was not much in the way of artwork, statues etc but I did like this small set of small, old, wooden statues. According to a sign its possible to walk a mountain path over towards temple number 7 but I decide to head back down the mountain and walk back to the nearest station and head home. Thats enough for this first 2-day leg of the pilgrimage.

Friday, October 18, 2013

More Avian manholes


It turns out that birds are quite a common design element in Japanese manhole designs.
Previous posts showing some can be found here. and here.

This first one is from the small island of Teshima in the Akinada Sea off of Hiroshima, and the bird is a cormorant.


This one is from Musashi Town, now a part of Kunisaki City in Oita. It depicts a pair of Mejiro, Japanese White-Eyes. For a photo of real Mejiro see this post


Sanko Town, now a part of Nakatsu City in Oita has a pair of Japanese Bush warblers, Uguisu, in Japanese. Strangely the town bird is the Mejiro.


Nago Town on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa features a pair of Ryukyu Mejiro.


Ishigaki City on the same island features an Akashobin, Ruddy Kingfisher in English. Common throughout east and southeast Asia it is quite rare in Japan.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sokinoya Shrine

Sokinoya Jinja

Sokinoya Shrine is listed in the Engi Shiki so it is at least 1,000 years old. It's located at the base of the hills south of Naoe in Hikawa.

Halfway up the steps is the store room holding the rather elegant mikoshi and other valuable equipment.

The main kami enshrined is Kihisakamitakahiko, and there is absolutely no information on him except that this area was once called Kihisa so he was probably the leader of the area. This rock in front of the shrine is reputed to be where he stood and prayed in the direction of Izumo Taisha across the plain below.

Visible behind the rock is a small shrine to Sarutahiko. It was moved here from its original site at a large rock outcropping further up the mountain. There is also a Kumano Shrine in the grounds.

For me, the most interesting secondary shrine in the rounds is the Karakuniidateho shrine. Karakuni means "from Korea", and there are numerous Karakuni shrines around Izumo and Iwami that enshrine Susano and his son Isotake that are manifestations of the legend/myth that Susano and his son arrived here from the Korean peninsula.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ryoma Sakamoto Memorial Museum


Ryoma Sakamoto was one of the most famous and popular figures from the time leading up to the Meiji Restoration. He was from Tosa, now known as Kochi, and his memorial museum is located in Katsurahama to the south of Kochi City.


The museum is built on the hilltop overlooking the beach and ocean and projects out quite dramatically.


The museum was opened in 1991 on November 15th, the anniversary of both his birth and death, and the architects were Workstation, the company name of two architects, Hiroshi Takahashi and Akiko Takahashi, and it was their first project together.


The museum is open from 9 to 5 all year round and entrance is 400 yen for adults.

Take a bus bound for Katsurahama from Kochi


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Skittish Egret

There are quite a few species of Egret (sagi in Japanese) in Japan, but I am not sure which one this is.

There are common, especially in rice paddies and rivers.

They are far more skittish than their cousins the Grey Heron, and if you stop to take a photo even from a distance they will fly off.

So I was really surprised to find one on the road while I was walking in the foothills of Izumo, but it did quickly fly off.

Other posts on Egrets, and the Sagi Mai, incorrectly translated as the Heron Dance can be found here.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Shikoku 88, Temple 22, Byodoji


Temple 22 of the Shikoku 88 temple Pilgrimage is Byodo-ji, located near the coast in Anan City, Tokushima.


Its name means "temple of equality" and it belongs to the Shingon Sect. The main deity is the healing buddha, yakushi Nyorai.


According to legend it was founded by Kobo Daishi who also carved the statue of Yakushi. He also dug a well that produced milky white water which is believed to have healing qualities, especially for eye ailments.


I was hoping to pick up some of the water, which is of course available for a small price, but unfortunately the water was not usable as the recent typhoon had contaminated the well with run-off.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Kumu Shrine & Shusai Hachimangu

There are two shrines occupying the same site here, located just east of Izumo City across the river in Hikawa.

The older shrine is Kumu Shrine, though in the Engi Shiki it is called Humuno Shrine. It has been in existence since at least the 7th Century as it is listed in the Izumo Fudoki. It was moved to its present site in the middle of the Edo Period. It enshrines Susano.

The bigger shrine is Shusai Hachimangu and it is not known exactly when it was founded. Unusually it lists Susano and Homuda Wake as the main kamis, Humuda Wake being the name of the emperor who was known posthumously as Ojin

Within the grounds are an Inari Shrine, a Wakamiya, a Miho, and Aragami.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fudo Myo o of Shikoku part 3


Here are some more examples of my favorite Buddhist deity, Fudo Myo, taken while I was walking the Shikoku Pilgrimage. This first, rather unusual statue was at a Yakushi-do on a side road near Awafukui in southern Tokushima.


The rest of these are at the temple popularly known as Saba Daishi, the 4th bangai temple and the last temple before leaving Tokushima and entering Kochi.


I spent the night at the temple in the tsuyado, a small room offered for free to pilgrims. Next to the main hall was a tunnel that sloped down and around to end in a large chamber beneath the main hall. The tunnel was lined with 88 statues representing the 88 temples of the pilgrimage, something I have seen several times.


The dark chamber had a large altar to Fudo Myo. Late that night I heard a group of people going into the chamber through a side door right next to my room, obviously for some kind of ritual


Ive heard many types of Buddhist ritual, but this was unlike anything I'd ever heard before, nor since. Usually there is drumming and chanting, but this drumming was much louder, much faster, and wildly frenetic and the chanting was more like growling and shouting. It was actually unnerving, an unusual state for me. In fact it sounded like a scene from a Hollywood movie where bloodthirsty savages in a state of possession are about to sacrifice a beautiful young virgin on a stone altar surrounded by flames, a la King Kong or Raiders of the Lost Ark. I left my room to see if I could see what was going on, but decided that opening the door would have been intrusive, and of course there were no windows....

Friday, September 13, 2013

Enya Shrine

Enya Shrine is the tutelary shrine of Izumo and is located south of downtown. It used to be called Yamuya Shrine, and the main kami enshrined is Yamuyahiko and his wife Yamuyahime.

Yamuyahiko was a grandson of Okuninushi, and other than that I can find no information about him.

The shrine is very old, being listed in the Izumo Fudoki of 720, as well as the Engishiki.

Also enshrined in the main shrine is Kotoshironushi, Oyamazumi, and Ojin,.... a strange mix of kami. Enshrining Ojin makes it a hachimangu, though it is not officially named that,  it is considered the number one of Izumo's eight Hachimangu. Hachiman must have been enshrined here much later.

Secondary shrines within the precincts are to Inari, Tenjin, and Aragami, among others...

There was a nice pair of small, wooden komainu in the Zuijinmon.