Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Original 24 Eyes School

24 Eyes ( Nijyushi no Hitomi ) was one of the most popular Japanese movies ever. The original was made in 1955 and was set in an elementary school on Shodoshima which was also the actual location for the filming.

In 1987 the made a remake of the movie but development had made location filming difficult so a fake village and school was built a few k down the road and is now a  movie theme park...

There were far fewer visitors at the real school.

There are hundreds and hundreds of these old schools abandoned all across the Japanese countryside, a few being conserved, but most not....

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Traditional Buildings of Mimitsu

Mimitsu is a small village on the coast of Miyazaki just south of Hyuga City. In the Edo Period it was an important port town and really only declined with the introduction of the railway in the early 20th century.

At it's peak there were over 1,000 homes, shops, and storehouses, and because the town was pretty much bypassed by development many of these traditional structures remain and the village is a Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings.

Like quite a few of these districts it is somewhat off the main tourist track and so has not been gentrified and turned into twee cafes and gift shops and therefore feels quite authentic.

I passed through quite quickly when I visited while walking the Kyushu Pilgrimage, but in a couple of weeks will be going back and spending the night there so will eb able to do some more exploring.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Yokeiji Temple Shrine Complex

Located on a hilltop overlooking the Yoshii River east of Okayama City, Yokeiji is a Tendai temple complex that I have posted about previously, on the pagoda, and the lotus blossoms.

It was founded in 749 and grew to be quite a large complex with numerous halls, sub-temples, and shrines within its grounds.

As well as the pagoda there are numerous other buildings and statues that are listed as Important Cultural Properties, like this bell tower. In some of the sub temples are nice, but small gardens.

It is quite a pleasant place to wander and explore and is not a major tourist spot so is nice and quiet. Ther are also a number of shrines which i will post about later...

Monday, September 24, 2018

Hyuga City to Takanabe: Day 20

The weather was improved on my twentieth day walking around Kyushu. It was a long day but filled with sights. The route hit the coast at several points during the morning.

The village of Mimitsu was a pleasant surprise. With a historic district of traditional buildings but not a big tourist destination it seemed a little more authentic and lacking in gift shops and cafes.

There were three of the pilgrimage temples to visit today, with one having a delightful waterfall for purification with the attendant Fudo Myo statues.

There were also lots of shrines including the Ichinomiya, the highest ranked shrine of the province, with a nice koi pond and gardens.

I will be walking this section in a couple of weeks on my next leg of the Kyushu Fudo Myo Pilgrimage and am looking forward to doing some deeper explorations of the area.

Monday, September 17, 2018

More Shisa of Taketomi Island

Shisa are the magical creatures found on rooves and gates all over Okinawa. Similar to Japanese komainu, though found most often on homes.

Very much "folk" artifacts, though also made by artisans, most are somewhat comical in appearance.

All these posted here are from Taketomi Island, the small island known mostly for its ox-carts.

Like komainu they are often found in male-female pairs, and in different postures.

Ishigaki Sea Salt

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Eiganji, Kadogawa

The 33rd temple of the Kyushu Shingon Pilgrimage of 108 temples is Eiganji, located in Kadogawa, overlooking a picturesque bay flanked by two peninsulas.

It's a small temple and the main hall is made of concrete, though it claims to originate in the 9th Century.

The honzon is Yakushi Nyorai and is said to be even older, dating back to the Nara Period. It is a Hidden Buddha, and so can not be viewed.

There are a few statues in the grounds including this Kannon, and also a small Inari Shrine.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Kunisaki Yayoi Village

Approaching Kunisaki Town from the west, a few kilometers inland was a reconstruction of a Yayoi Period village. Across the road was a small museum.

Yayoi period dwellings and structures are very much in the style of regions much further south, SE Asia and even pacific islands.....

The location was typical of where the Yayoi settled..... in an alluvial valley where the soil was soft enough to be worked with only wooden tools. Later with the spread of iron they could colonize further inland where the soil was harder and rockier.

Though the Yayoi Period covers many centuries, it is claimed that this site was settled around the 3rd Century.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Nobeoka to Hyuga City

Sunday, March 24th, 2018, was the 19th day of my walk around Kyushu on the 108 temple Shingon Pilgrimage. The route from Nobeoka down to Hyuga City included only one temple of the pilgrimage, but lots of small shrines to stop in at and explore.

It was a relatively uneventful day with no major discoveries on my part, though I enjoyed the visits to the shrines as for me there is almost always something to see.

On my way down the coast I crossed many rivers and though it was an overcast day and not great for photography light-wise, it was a still day so the water was mirrorlike.

More palm trees appeared so it certainly felt like I was now in Miyazaki. I stopped early in the day as I had reached the hotel I had a room booked in. The view from my room was not particularly great.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Roadside Attractions on Osakikamijima Island

The short ferry ride from Osakishimojima Island deposited me on the southern tip of Osakikamijima Island and I started to walk up the coast on the eastern side of the island. "Bow Shaped Rock" was a little offshore but apparently accessible at low tide. According to the legend the area was constantly raided by pirates in the early 15th Century and so one local samurai strung a bowstring to this rock and fired arrows at the approaching pirates and successfully drove them off.

A little further up the coast a small Local History Museum shaped like a boat. From here you can see across the water to Omishima and the distinctive architecture of the Tokoro Art Museum. Next to the Tokoro they were in the process of building the Toyo Ito architecture Museum.

Shipbuilding and repair is one of the main industries on the island and next to this rather nicely painted boatshed was a large steel sculpture.

Looking like a Chinese restaurant, this is actually a community center. I am sure there must be a reason why it was done in Chinese style, but I don't know it. On the hillside just above it is Kongoji Temple.

It has a large cemetery, so I guess the pagod-shaped elevator and walkway means parishioners don't have to climb steps to get to it. I walked up because from Kongoji a footpath heads directly up to Mount Kannomine, at 452 meters the highest point on the island and where I was planning to spend the night.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Imayama Daishi

At the other end of the hill known as Imayama on which Imayama Hachimangu Shrine is located is a small temple, Imayama Daishi, dedicated to Kobo Daishi the founder of the Shingon sect.

Among the cherry trees and numerous statues of Jizo, Kannon, 7 Lucky Gods etc is a massive statue of Kobo Daishi himself.  17 meters tall and weighing 11 tons, many sources claim it to be the biggest statue of Kobo Daishi, but actually was superseded by the one built down at Cape Muroto in Shikoku.

Unfortunately when I was there the statue was encased in scaffolding while it was being refurbished. You can pay an entrance fee to enter the small building on which the statue stands and go up to view it at close quarters.

In April, on what was the 21st day of the third month according to the old lunar calendar, a big festival is held here involved a huge parade of locals dressed in period costume.