Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Nyoirin-ji-Temple-3 on the Kyushu Pilgrimage


Temple number 3 on the Kyushu pilgrimage is Nyoirinji in Ogori, southern Fukuoka. Because of how I planned my route I did not visit it until day 55, about three-quarters of my way along the walk.

All 108 temples of the pilgrimage belong to the Shingon sect, one of the 2 ancient esoteric sects, and consequently many of the deities have their roots in Hinduism.

The temple is named after the honzon, a Nyoirin Kannon, the "wish-fulfilling" Kannon, one of 6 main manifestations of Kannon, derived from the word nyoi, the wish-fulfilling jewel.

The honzon here is a "hidden buddha" and is only open to public view every 12 years. It is very unusual because it is standing and most Nyoirin Kannon are seated.

The grounds contain numerous halls and shrines, including this one to Benzaiten.

Founded in the first half of the 8th century by the famous monk Gyoki. Some say he carved the honzon, but other sources say it was much later in the Heian period. The temple was burned down at the emnd of the 16th century but later rebuilt.

I had wanted to speak with the priest as his son had told me that he had walked this pilgrimage,  but it was early January and was very crowded. The temple is also popular in July when the grounds are filled with wind chimes.

The temple is most famous for its collection of thousands of frog statues and has the nickname Frog Temple.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Frog Temple Nyoirin-ji

Frog Otera

Nyoirinji, a venerable and ancient Buddhist temple in Ogori, Fukuoka, is known as Kaeru Dera, or Frog Temple.

It has earned this unusual nickname by being home to about 5,000 small statues, figurines, and other representations of frogs.

This "tradition" started more than 25 years ago when the head priest returned from a trip to China and brought a small jade frog carving with him.

In Japanese the word for frog, kaeru, is also the word for "return", and so frogs have been linked with the notion of returning safely, and with coming back.

As is now very common in contemporary Japanese culture, an awful lot of the frog figures here are "cute".

Inside there are several versions of Kermit, the famous Sesame Street character....

But not all the frogs descend into cuteness...

Many of the statues have accrued specific meanings for a variety of "this worldly benefits".

previously I posted on the wide variety of Fudo Myo statues here at Nyoirinji, and next, I will post on the temple's history and other attractions.

Ema Votive Plaques

Friday, October 7, 2022

Fudo at Nyoirinji

Fudo at Nyoirinji

Without planning to, I think I may have created the biggest collection of photos of Fudo Myoo statues on the internet.

All of these photos are from a single temple, Nyoirinji, located in Ogori, Fukuoka, that I visited while walking the Kyushu pilgrimage.

Much of what I post about on my blog are from my walks around Japan, mostly following Buddhist pilgrimages, so statues are obviously going to feature....

With fangs, flames, and wielding a sword, the deity Fudo Myo is striking and noticeable.

One of the reasons I take so many photos is because I am fascinated by diversity.... the same thing, whether a statue or not,  made by people, will be different in intriguing ways......

As well as Fudo Myo, other similar topics in my blogs would be Nio guardians, or komainu guardians....

Another reason for the diversity of statues of Fudo is that though he is considered to be a single deity, he manifests in a multitude of individual forms, with people worshipping specific statues with specific identities, for instance, one of the Fudo statues here at Nyoirinji is known as a "cancer-cutting Fudo".

The longest piece I wrote on these different aspects of Fudo is this post from the Sasaguri pilgrimage.

Fudo is not the main deity here at Nyoirinji, that would be Kannon, and the temple is most well known for its frogs!!!...... more on that next......

All About Japan

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Manhole Art of the Chikugo Plain


January 4th, 2015, was the 55th day of my walk around Kyushu. I started from Amagi Station in Asakura, Fukuoka, and walked west across the Chikuzen Plain north of the Chikuzen River and ended at Tosu just inside Saga Prefecture. As with all my walks around Japan I kept my eyes open for manhole covers. These are eight I found that day. This first one depicts den-den daiko, a kind of drum. I cannot find any connection to Amagi.

This next one is from Asakura City. Not sure but that is probably Egawa Dam, though it could be one of the other dams within the city limits.

This is from Miwa Town. In 2005 Miwa was merged with another small town to form the new town of Chikuzen, which was the name of the former province that became Fukuoka. The town flower was wisteria, and the town tree was pine.

I am guessing this small manhole is from Chikuzen and features, I think, the Japanese Bush Warbler, known as uiguisu in Japanese, as well as more wisteria.

This full-size manhole cover from Chikuzen features pine, cosmos flowers, and warblers.

Yet another Chikuzen design with a warbler, cosmos, and a water wheel, though I'm not sure what the building is. In neighboring Asakura, they have more famous waterwheels but I think this one is connected.

By the afternoon I had reached Ogori which also features wisteria, this time in a geometric design.

I then crossed into Tosu City in Saga whose city flower is the Japanese Iris.

I have posted many times on Japan's unique manhole covers. Unfortunately many of the older posts no onger have photos, but more recent ones can be seen here. All the previous posts on my epic walk around Kyushu can be accessed by clicking the Kyushu108 tag below.

Japan Goods

Monday, October 3, 2022

Kotokuin Temple 7 Kyushu Pilgrimage

Kotokuin Temple

Day 55 of my walk along the longest pilgrimage route in Japan, the Kyushu 88, began where I had finished the day before at Amagi Station in Asakura, Fukuoka.

I had trouble finding the temple as it did not look like a temple, rather like a standard home. It seems this was a conscious choice made when it was rebuilt in 1981.

The temple was established not far from here in 1929 but it was moved to its current location in 1965 and an 11-faced Kannon was made honzon at that time.

There were several Jizo statues in the grounds, with his staff, shakujo, with 6 rings, one for each of the six  Buddhist Realms of Existence and also the six perfections that lead to nirvana.

There were also other statues including a Fudo. It was too early in the morning and the temple wasnt open yet, so I didnt go inside.

Since its founding, the temple has been run by a succession of three nuns.


All About Japan

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Path of Light at KitanoTenmangu Kurume


A long, straight road leads to the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine near Kurume, and is known as the "path of light" as in mid-March and mid-October the sun sets at the end of the road. This is obviously close to the equinoxes.....

The shrine was established in 1054 as a branch of the Kitano Tenmangu in Kyoto, the original shrine deifying the angry ghost of Michizane Sugawara.

A giant Camphor tree in the grounds is said to be over a thousand years old.

Most striking is that the impressive gatehouse is painted red. Yesterday I posted on some of the guardians here.

The area is well known for Kappa and there is s story of a kappa and Michizane. The mummified hand of the kappa is shown to the public once a year.

Tenmangu shrines are very popular with students praying for success with exams, but are also known for calligraphy.

There are often statues of an Ox at Tenmangu shrines as it became a symbol after an ox carrying the corpse of Sugawara Michizane stopped and refused to move further and so that was the spot he was buried, now Dazaifu Tenmangu a little further north in Fukuoka.