Thursday, September 14, 2017

Goganji Temple Nakatsu

I made a start on walking the Kyushu Fudo MyoO Pilgrimage, and the night before I set out I stayed in Nakatsu. That evening I went for a walk in the Teramachi and revisited Goganji Temple.

It is famous for its plaster walls which are red rather than white.

According to the story, there was a fight between two groups of opposing samurai just outside the temple, and the white plaster walls became stained with blood. Every time they tried to replaster the walls the bloodstain seeped through, so in the end they decided to make the walls red so it would not be seen.

The temple was founded in the 16th Century and now belongs to the Pure Land Sect. The Honzon is Enmei Jizo.

Monday, September 11, 2017

One Thousand Medicine Buddhas

Next door to Renjoji is the Yakushi Hall, a very long structure containing 998 small statues of Yakushi Nyorai, commonly referred to as the Medicine Buddha.

The hall also contained two large wooden Nio.

Because of its length the hall is often referred to as a copy of Kyotos's famous Sanjusangendo, though that id much, much larger, and contains statues of Kannon.

In the middle of the hall is a triad of statues.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

3000 Buddhas at Isshinji

Isshiteji is quite a well known temple in the Tennoji area of Osaka that is known primarily for its statues made from  bones, but just across the road, and owned by the temple, is a very modern building that houses an experimental theater group and theater.

Part of the building seems to be what I would call a "chapel", and its name is Three Thousand Buddhas. When you go through the doors  you see a large dome built in the interior, and on the exterior of the dome are golden buddhist statues. Not yet three thousand though. When enough donations have been made they will number three thousand.

The interior of the dome very much resembles a church with seats and an altar, behind which is a giant mural.

From the outside of the building you get no indication of what is inside, in fact it looks like a bank or an office building.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Renjoji one of the oldest temples in Japan?


Renjoji is temple 27 on the Shingon Kyushu 108 temple Pilgrimage and is located just outside the town of Mie in Bungo Ono, Oita.

The guidebook to the pilgrimage, and the information signboard at the temple had two different versions of the temples origins. The book says it was founded by a Chinese monk in 546, whereas the signboard says it was founded by a local man who than brought over a monk from Paekche on the Korean Peninsula.

The official version of the introduction of Buddhism into Japan has the king of Paekche sending a statue to the Yamato court in the mid 6th Century, but that ignores the fact that northern Kyushu and the Japan Sea coast, much closer to the peninsula, had extensive contacts and interactions with Korea, and it seems highly unlikely that Buddhism did not appear in these areas before then. Here in Shimane we have two temples that claim an origin that predates the Paekche gift to Yamato.

The main deity here is a small statue of Kannon, but the temple has a strong connection with Yakushi Nyorai, the "Medicine Buddha" and there is a hall containing almost 1,000 Yakushi statues which I will post about next.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Jizoji Revisited

On Friday 16th December, 2016 I began my walk along the Shikoku 36 temple Fudo Myo-o pilgrimage. At times the route is the same as the 88 Henro, but at other times it is quite different.

Some of the 36 temples are actually bangai temples from the Henro. In fact the first temple is Taisanji which is the first Henro bangai.

I decided to start walking from Jizo-ji, the fifth of the henro temples and the closest one to Taisanji, because I wanted to revisite the Rakan Hall.

I was there a long time before the Hall opened so hung out in the days first light and snapped some pics.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Kyushu Pilgrimage Temple 96 Kenryuji

By late afternoon I was approaching the outskirts of Mie, the town that is now the administrative center of Bungo Ono City. Kenryuji Temple overlooked the Ono River.

The two statues flanking the entrance were not the usual Nio, but rather Monju Bosatsu, riding a lion, pictured above, and Fugen Bosatsu, riding an elephant.

An unusual modern statue of what I believe are the 5 Wisdom Kings, with Fudo in the cetter flanked by his two attendants and that would be Daitoku on the left of the photo riding an ox.

There was also a nice set of 13 stone statues with Fudo Myo-o on the right. The temple was founded by a priest from Kyoto a little over 500 years ago and has been renamed multiple times.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Candle Rock Sunset

While the coastline on the evening cruise was impressive, the trip was times to coincide with sunset at Candle Rock.

Rising about 20 meters high up out of the sea, the rock is so named because when the setting sun sits on top of the rock it looks like a candle.

It was a cloudy evening so I did not hold out much hope of getting a spectacular view, but as the sun got closer to the horizon there were some breaks in the clouds and lo and behold.....

There were several boats out for the show, and the captains are expert at positioning their boats to achieve the perfect shot........ doing it for the passengers on each side of the boat and also backing off and letting the other boats in......

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

An Evening Cruise

On the afternoon of the second day of my walk around the island of Dogo I headed west from the museum and fairly quickly reached my hotel on the coast.

I checked in early and had an early dinner as I was booked on the evening cruise from the nearby fishing village of Fukuura.

A couple of hours before sunset the boats head out of the bay and up the coast.

There are plenty of dramatic cliffs, sea caves, and rock formations, but the highlight was to come as sunset approached......

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Inukai Stone Fudo

From the narrow road along the riverside a sign pointed up a steep road to a cliff carved statue. It was only 400 meters so I took the detour and was glad I did as the carving was of Fudo Myo.

The carving, which probablty dates from the late Heian Period, is almost 4 meters high, and shows Fudo sitting in the full lotus position. Apparently it is unuaual because both soles of his feet are shown. There are still traces of vermillion pigment on his face.

He is flanked by two attendants, on the left Kongara Doji, and on the right Seitaka Doji.

The vast majority of cliff carvings in Japan can be found in Oita. Many are on the Kunisaki Peninsula, but the southern part of the prefecture, around Oita City and Usuki also has many.

I was about halfway on walk along the river towards Bungo Ono on day 12 of my walk around Kyushu.

Yuzukosho (yuzu pepper) is a signature product from southern Kyushu

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Synchronized Serpents

After the Orochi arrives they then do a series of synchronized movement.

Audiences here kn0w very well when some kagura has been well executed.

Although it was a bit chaotic with 16 serpents, from different groups that were not used to performing together.

Rather than wait for the finale when Susano chops off all their heads, we chose to leave early and avoid the traffic