Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Enjo-ji Temple


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Enjo-ji is the first of the "extra" temples on the Iwami 33 Kannon Pilgrimage, that is to say it is not one of the 33 but still considered part of the pilgrimage. It has a fine pair of Nio

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It is the only Tendai temple within Oda City and was founded sometime in the first half of the tenth century.

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The honzon is a 16th century statue of Senju Kannon, the thousand-armed Kannon.

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From the temple there are great views of Mount Sanbe the top of which I planned on reaching by the end of the day.

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On the hillside behind the temple is a Noshiro Shrine which I am presuming is a branch of the shrine in the village a few kilometers downstream that enshrines Izanagi. A post on that shrine can be found here.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Iwano Yakushi-do



My final stop on my way to the station at the end of my second day of walking the Izumo 33 Kannon Pilgrimage was this small temple next to the station.


A statue of Yakushi Nyorai is enshrined in the small building at the top of a flight of stairs. This statue was at the bottom of the stairs and is not the Yakushi, which was hidden and could not be seen. According to the signboard it is one of 7 Yakushi Nyorai statues that date from the time of Emperor Shomu who ruled in the middle of the eighth Century.


The statue was originally in a cave but sometime in the ninth Century a young woman who had just lost her parents was sleeping in the cave and had a dream that told her she shoukld marry a certain gentleman who lived over in Kitayama. She did, and with her new husband built the hall and moved the statue to it.


Judging by the number of prayer slips left here it continues to be a popular site.

And so that was the end of my second day....... looking forward to the next leg....



Saturday, November 23, 2013

Floral Interlude


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I'm off wandering in Kyushu for a while so will not have chance to post for a while so I leave you with a floral interlude.

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I am poor at flower recognition and naming so I won't even bother....

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Carbon Emissions


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Japan has recently revised its target for reduction of carbon-emissions in its drive to reduce pollution and global warming.

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The original target was for a 25% reduction over 1990 levels.

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The new target is a 3% INCREASE over 1990 levels.....

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Since 1990 Japan has moved a lot of its polluting industry offshore, mostly to China and SE Asia, and the population of Japan is shrinking, so I guess the increase must be down to more consumption...

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Fukushima, the scapegoat for anything negative that happens in Japan nowadays, is being blamed.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Two Tanuki


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For a couple of months I have been enjoying the daily visit to my backyard by the local badger.

A couple of weeks ago there was an enormous fight right outside my window. It was dark and the weeds were high so I was unable to see what was fighting.

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Since then the badger has not been seen, but each afternoon or early evening we get a visit from a pair of tanuki. I'm guessing it was they who fought the badger and won, though I am surprised. I would have thought the badger was stronger, but the tanuki are faster and there are two of them....

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I'm guessing they are a mating pair as fall is the mating season. In English they are called racoon dogs. They look a little like racoons but are unrelated. They are related to dogs and foxes.

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They are common to see, though its unusual to get to see them so close. They are the most common form of roadkill.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Iha Shrine




Walking out of the village of Naoe towards the train station there is yet another shrine. Iha Shrine is recorded in the Izumo Fudoki so is therefore at least 1300 years old. It was until 1750 on top of Mount Iwano but then relocated down to its present location.


The map shows it as Iha Shrine, as does the signboard, but the new stone marker in front says KamiNaoe Hachimagu. I can find no explanation.


At some point in the not too distant past the whole shrine has been reconstructed. The main kami of the shrine is Okuninushi.


There are several smaller shrines collected together in the grounds but they are listed as unknown kami.


There is also the almost obligatory Inari shrine....


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ebisu Shrine, Naka, Tokushima


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After coming down from Tairyuji I stopped in at the local Ebisu Shrine. The villagers were cleaning up after the flood caused by the typhoon the day before, hence the pile of rice.

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There were some enormous Giant Cedars lining the path into the shrine and a statue of Chosokabe the warlord who ruled over all of Shikoku for a while before Hideyoshi sent his armies in.

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There was no signboard so I could not find out anything about what secondary shrines and kami there were, other than the obvious main kami Ebisu, no equated with Kotoshironushi. There was a zuijinmon with a fine pair of zuijin.

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The shrine was built on the site of the former Niu castle, though I guess it must have been quite a small and unimportant castle.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church Kagoshima


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The St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church is the cathedral of Kagoshima and is located in downtown Kagoshima. It was opened in 1999 to mark the 450th anniversary of his arrival in Japan. It replaced an earlier church built to mark the 400th anniversary.

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Just across the street is a memorial buiot using stones from an earlier church.

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Unusual for japan it has a nice big pipe organ.

My hotel was only 2 minutes away so I was able to revisit late on a sunny afternoon to take advantage of the light streaming in through the stained glass.

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I quite enjoy visiting churches in Japan because they are not all that common.

I think this one is my favorite in terms of the interior.

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My favorite church exterior would have to be the Xavier Memorial Church in Yamaguchi.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Kotohira-gu, Izumo bunsha



After visiting Rendaiji, the sixth temple on the Izumo 33 Kannon pilgrimage I headed to the nearest train station in Naoe to head home, stopping in at the Konpira Shrine in the middle of the village.


Its now called a Kotohira-gu, which was the new name given to the kami Konpira in the Meiji era to disassociate it from its Buddhist identity. The main Konpira Shrine on Shikoku was one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations of the Edo period with millions of pilgrims travelling to Shikoku and often bringing back the "spirit" of the kami to enshrine in their local villages. This one in Naoe however was not established until 1880.


At the same time as renaming the kami it was given new identities more suitable for the national shinto that was in the process of being created. Hirata Atsutane had a hand in establishing the "true" identity of Kotohira as a manifestation of Okuninushi (Omononushi) and also the 12th Century Emperor Sutoku.


There are several smaller shrines in the grounds including a Harae-do, a Manasa shrine, a Hachiman shrine and this Inari Shrine.



Sunday, November 3, 2013

Noma Hachimangu


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Coming down the hill after visiting Hanya-in, the second temple on the Kyushu 108 temple pilgrimage, I took shelter from the drizzle in a small, local hachiman shrine.

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There was no signboard so I could find out little of its history, except that it is a branch of the Usa Hachimangu. two thirds of all the Hachiman shrines in Japan are branches of Iwashimizu Hachimangu near Kyoto, itself a branch of Usa Hachimangu.

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There was a secondary shrine to Tenjin in the grounds, and lots of nice trees :)

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