Friday, August 13, 2021

Yakumo Honjin

Yakumo Honjin

Yakumo Honjin.

Yakumo Honjin is the name given to this large, traditional residence located in settlement Shinji, located about halfway between Matsue City and Izumo City on the southern shore of Lake Shinji.

akumo Honjin is the name given to this large, traditional residence.

It was formerly the residence of the wealthy Kowata Family who had been here since the early 16th century and were major landowners and also involved in commercial activities.

It was formerly the residence of the wealthy Kowata Family.

Located on the San-in-do, the major highway that ran through the region, the residence was used as a honjin, a place where lords and high-ranking officials could spend the night while traveling. Another honjin was in Hirata on the north side of the lake.

Located on the San-in-do, the major highway that ran through the region.

The main building dates back to 1733, however, the property is now huge as several other Edo Period buildings that belonged to high-ranking vassals of the lord in Matsue have been reassembled here.

Yakumo Honjin.

One room has been left as it was when the Crown Prince stopped here for lunch while toring in the Taisho Period. The carpet, table, decirations etc are original.

Yakumo Honjin.

On display throught the property are artworks and artifacts, some of which I will post later. The property also has a fine Izumo-style garden which I will also post later.

Tatami room with view of garden.

Koinobori & Children's Day in Japan

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Juraku-ji Revisited


Juraku-ji is temple number 7  on the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage. I visited when I walked that pilgrimage but this time I am walking the Shikoku Fudo Myo Pilgrimage, and although this temple is not part of that pilgrimage, the first day and a half of the Fudo Pilgrimage roughly follows thye same route so I stopped in at any temples I passed.

Later, on his second day of walking the Fudo pilgrimage, my route deviates from the Ohenro route and I continue up the valley for a few more days;

It'smid December so the sun never gets very high and makes strong shadows. For taking photos and also for long distance walking, it is my favorite time of the year in Japan.

Like the previous temple, Anrakuji, Jurakuji has a Chinese-style gate. There is nothing special in any of the other architecture which is all relativeky modern.

There are quite a few statues, a lot of Jizo, amd a couple of Fudo Myo statues, the one pictured below with an unusual stance.....

Buy tatami direct from Japan

Monday, August 9, 2021

Kubota Residence Gardens

Hagi in Yamaguchi is a former castle town that is home to a lot of historical and traditional architecture including several Preservation Districts.

In the merchant district, one of the houses open to the public is the former residence of  the  Kubota Family who were drapers and later sake brewers.

Their house, built in the mid Edo Period has two small gardens, a front one walled off grom the main street, and a courtyard one viewable from three sides.

Not as grand as the gardens of the Kikuya Residence which is directly on the other side of the street, but they are pleasant enough and you will usually have the place to yourself.

four posts on the Kikuya Residence and gardens....

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Arikoyama Inari Shrine

Arikoyama Inari Shrine

The shrine was established to protect the castle built by the Yamana Clan on top of the mountain at the end of the 16th century.

A few years later the Yaman lost the domain and their replacements dismantled the castle and constructed it at the base of the mountain, now known as Izushi Castle.

It seems the shrine was disestablished, probably as the new lords built several shrines within the new castle grounds, however it was re-established in the early 19th century.

It is now the most popular shrine in the central part of the old castle town of Izushi, 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Imaura Harbor


Continuing with the  second day of my in-depth exploration of the Sea of Japan coastline,I left the bounds of Gotsu and entered the realm of Oda and visited the harbour of Imaura.

I have passed through Imaura several times before while walking the narrow roads that hug the cpast here, but had never taken the side road that drops down to the fishing harbour.and was surprised by how big it was.

There are a lot of small islets and rocks just offshore that must provide some protection for the narbour, but like most places along the coast of Japan it is now protected and enclosed by massive concrete walls. The sheer amount of concrete poured  along the coast of Japan is probably not known to outsiders.

I wonder about the value of all the fish produced by this little harbour and if it ever approached the cost of all the concrete construction. But that was not the point..... LDP politicians will have won votes and concrete and construction companies will have made profits.

Set back up on the slope away from the waters edge a line of ramshackle fishermens huts suggest that before all the concrete this was probably just a protected beach rather than a harbour.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Kannon at Myo-On-Ji Temple


Myo-On-ji is temple number 15 on the Sasaguri Pilgrimage in Fukuoka. If you follow the suggested route it is the 11th temple you visit since starting, just a few hours earlier. It is the biggest temple so far, though there are no grand buildings, rather a large number of smaller "halls", and like all temples on the pilgrimage, a huge number of statues.

Previously I posted some of the Fudo Myo statues at Myo-onji, and then later an even larger selection with more detail about the deity Fudo. This time I will post what I believe are all photos of Kannon, and offer a few details about her.

Known as Kanzeon Bosatsu in Japan, and commonly referred to as the Goddess of Mercy in  English, Kannon began, as did many Buddhist deities, in India, where he is known as Avalokiteshvara, and where he is almost always considered to be a male deity, also in Tibet and SE Asia. In China he became mixed with a female Daoist deity and so in China, Korea, and Japan is considered female. 

Kannon comes in many forms, the most iconic perhaps being the 1,000-armed Kannon, though actually not many of the statues actually have a full 1,000 arms. 11-faced Kannon is fairly common, as is Jibo Kannon, usually depicted wearing white robes and holding a baby.

Bokefuji Kannon is an increasingly popular form of Kannon as she protects against senility and dementia and also increasingly popular is Mizuko Kannon, like Mizuko Jizo, prayed to for the souls of deceased babies and abortions. Kannon has many motherly qualities, and during the pre-modern period when Christianity was outlawed statues of Kannon were used as a substitute for Maria.

There are some giant-sized statues of Kannon in Jaan that are so big you can climb up inside to viewing platforms. There are also numerous pilgrimages to Kannon, usually consisting of 33 temples. I have walked the Izumo Kannon Pilgrimage, the Iwami Kannon Mandala Pilgrimage, The Chugoku Kannin Pilgrimage that covers Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Shiman, and Tottori, and the oldest pilgrimage route in Japan the Saigoku Pilgrimage in Kansai.

Clicking any of the pilgrimage links above will take you to a listing, in chronoloical reverse order, of posts on those pilgrimages. The only one that i have completely posted is the Izumo, all the others I am only as far as the frst few days in posting.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Kongoji Temple 58 on the Kyushu Pilgrimage


My last stop on day49 of my first walk around Kyushu was Kongoji. temple number 58 on the Kyushu Pilgriage, which I have recently read claims to be the longest pilgrimage in Japan.

After the somewhat bizarre architecture of the previous temple, Naritasan Taishoji, it was somewhat of a relief to see a failr standard, urban temple, located in "downtown" Arao.

I could find no date for the temple, though it belongs to the Koyasan Shingon sect, and the honzon is a Dainichi Nyorai.

On the approach to the temple there are 88 memorial stones set in the grounds, and underneath each one is small amount of dirt collected at each of the 88 temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage. They ahve also done the same with then 33 temples of the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage.

I Didn't venture inside, but apparentky they have some kind of "Peace Flame" that was lit with fames from a temple in China and a temple in India.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Dragons and Fudo at Ariake naritasan Taishoji


There wasn't a lot of statuary, nor greenery, at Taishoji, but I ws taken by the double dragons at the temizuya.

Fudo Myo is the hinzon of the temple, but the one in the main hall is hidden. However, outside were two statues, the second seeming quite feminine to my eye.

Finally a look at the unusual architecture of the triangular main hall.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Ariake Naritasan Taishoji Temple 101 Kyushu Pilgrimage


As I approached the 101st temple of the Kyushu pilgrimage I was not sure I was at the right place as it really didn(t look like a temple at all. To my untrained eye it looked quite Chinese and possible SE Asian in design. The whole place, except for a small Daishi-do, was made out of concrete, which is actually not that unusual.

It's a branch of the famous Naritasan temple up in Chiba and like the mother temple, Fudo Myo is the honzon. I&s not a very old temple, but seems to be very popular judging by the size of the car park.

In the car park was a "chapel" devoted to blessings for vehicles and drivers, which leads me to believe a focus of the temple, and a reason for its popularity, is on Genze Riyaku, which translates roughy as "this-worldly benefits".

That is to say a focus on services for attracting health, wealth, success, and protection against any kind of misfortune.. Though Buddhism in Japan is said to be funerary-based, and "shinto" is said to be nature based, both religions focus a lot on genze riyaku.

Visiting was a somewhat strange experience.

The main hall of the temple is triangular in shape, the first time I can ever recollect seeing such a shape in temple buildings.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Greenland Amusement Park


For several hours while heading for the next temple on the pilgrimage, I seemed to be heading directly for some kind of multi-colored tower. Turns out the temple is adjacent to a huge amusement park.

The "tower" I was seeing was in fact a huge Ferris wheel seen edge-on. At 105 meters tall its not the tallest in Japan, but close. Greenland Amusement Park claims ro be the biggest amusement park in West Japan, but I think that must exclude kansai.

It has numerous rollercoasters including one of the longest in Japan. I think the name should probably be Green Land, ratherb than the name of the north atlantic island. There seems to be no theme to the park though a couple of attractions relate to Egypt.

It is a full resort with a golf course for the grown-ups and a large hotel complex. Its a bit out of the way with little public transport and is located in the foothills near Arao, Kumamoto.