Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Marine Day

Monday was Marine Day, a national holiday when everyone goes to the beach.

Well, everyone who CAN  go to the beach, go to the beach. In the Iwami region we are lucky to have many fine, white beaches.

We went to a group of small beaches and coves closest to our house. There are no signs to it, just a small road leading off the main road, but local people know it is there.

Right in front of the area where cars can be parked were several families, so we walked a few minutes to the next little cove. There was a family there.

So we walked another couple of minutes to the next little cove and there was no-one there, so we were able to enjoy our private beach.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Diamond City Soleil


When it opened in 2004, Aeon Mall Hiroshimafuchu Soleil, had the much snappier name of  Diamond City Soleil, which is the name it is still popularly called.


It was built on the site of the former brewery of Kirin beer, and the original smokestack/chimney has been incorporated into the mall after having been suitably decorated.


The chimney artwork is about the only thing to distinguish the "Mega Shopping Mall" from the hundreds if not thousands of others all over the globe housing products of global brands.


I have to admit that I find no attraction in such places and can only feel like a visitor from another world....


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Izumo 33 Kannon Pilgrimage Temple 18 Iwakurader

Iwakuradera the 18th temple of the pilgrimage is just a single, small hall located right next to temple 19.

It is actually probably much older than Kannonji (temple 19) and was probably originally located higher up the mountainside.

According to the legend the temple was founded by Gyoki, which would make it early 8th Century. The honzon is also attributed to him.

It is now a Shingon temple.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage Temple 25 Shinshoji

Shinshoji, temple number 25, is only a few kilometers north of number 24, Hotsumisakiji on the tip of Cape Muroto.

According to the legend it was founded by Kukai in 807 who is also credited with carving the honzon, Jizo.

The ships wheel is a motif that appears around the temple and the many small jizo statues are holding a ships wheel. According to the legend the local lord was saved from shipwreck by Jizo who took the helm.

The temple was destroyed in the early years of Meiji but rebuilt in the 1890's. It belongs to the Shingon sect.

The concrete main hall was built in 1950, and from it there are great views down on the harbour.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Izumo 33 Kannon Pilgrimage Temple 19 Kannonji

After several temples without Nio it was nice to get back to one with. Temple 19, Kannonji, is located at the bottom of Gassan in Hirose.

It was moved to this location in 1187 from further upstream to pray for the success of building the castle on top of the mountain.

Thgere is no information on who it was who built the original castle, nor about the age of the original temple, though it now belongs to the Shingon sect.

The grave of Yoshiha Haru Horio, the lord who built Matsue Castle and moved the domain headquarters from here to there, though he died before the new castle was finished, so never moved there himself.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fudo Myo of Shikoku part 4


These first 2 photos are of a rather fine statue at the mountain temple of  Konomineji, number 27 on the Shikoku 88.


It is obviously a modern statue and I have no information who did it.


This one at Zenrakuji, temple number 30, is also quite graphic and bold, though it appears his fangs are both pointing down


These final 2 are at Shoryuji, temple 36. All three temples are in Kochi Prefecture.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Toda Hachimangu part 2

This is a follow on post from the previous. The defensive gate at Toda Hachimangu.

As a Hachimangu, the enshrined deity is Hachiman, which came to be equated with Ojin, the emperor whose name was Homuda Wake, as well as his mother Jingu. As the tutelary deity for samurai, there is almost always one associated with castles. The interior has a nice ceiling painting of a dragon.

The largest of the secondary shrines within the grounds is a Takeuchi Shrine just to the left of the main shrine.
Enshrining Takenouchinosukune, a government minister who lived for close to 300 years advising 5 emperors. There is a Takenouchi and Hachiman combined shrine on the southern outskirts of Matsue, but I believe this one is the original and the former was constructed after the castle was moved from here to Matsue.

Thgere are other smaller shrines including an Ebisu, Taisha, and a Sakatoke shrine. Sakatoke seems to be another name of Oyamatsumi, elder brother of Amaterasu and Susano.

There is also a Katsuhi Shrine, which was the original shrine on the mountaintop opposite. The shrine was moved here before the Hachimangu was built. A Katsuhi shrine was rebuilt on the mountain top after the castle was demolished and I will find out more about it before I post about it next week.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Toda Hachimangu part 1

Toda Hachimangu was the tutelary shrine for Gassan Toda Castle which lay across the river. The approach to the shrine is on a direct line to the castle. Halfway up the steps is a Zuijin Gate.

The shrine was established in the 13th Century when a Katsuhi Shrine on the mountaintop was moved here to make way for the castle. The Katsuhi shrine is now back on top of the mountain.

Off to the side of the Zuijinmon was a small Inari shrine, and next to it a Kojin altar.

Kojin is the Izumo name for the local land kami, an aragami, or "turbulent deity" that is the prime focus of local people as can be surmised by the number of gohei left there....

Further up the steps past the zuijin gate is the main gate, a defensive structure as many battles took place here....


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fudo Myo at Kenzanji


Kenzanji is a small rural temple belonging to the Shingon sect and is located near Hioki in Kagoshima.

The Hondo, main hall, is a large portakabin, but there seemed to be no preparations to build a more permanent structure.


Behind was a small man-made cave containing a statue of Fudo Myo-O that was quite impressive.


The flames painted on the rocks behind the bright blue Fudo were dramatic, almost psychedelic.

While I appreciate art made by artists with great technical skill and vision, I also have a fondness for art not made by artists. While an artist may make a statue that is officially correct, a non- artist is more likely to make a represntation based on impression and perception.....

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Graveyard at Toko-ji


Behind the Obaku Zen temple Toko-ji in Hagi, Yamaguchi, lies the large graveyard/cemetery housing the tombs of the Mori lords and their wives.


The 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th lords are buried here, the others are buried at Daisho-in temple on the other side of the town.


The most obvious feature are the lines and lines of stone lanterns donated by retainers of the lords.


Surrounded by woods, and wearing a mantle of moss, the graveyard is a very peaceful and still place.