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.

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

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Orochi Spectacular

Last night we went to Hamada to see the annual Orochi Spectacle. They close off the center crossroads in town and put on regular kagura and end with a unique version of Orochi

Most versions of Orochi don't show the start of the dance which depicts the second to last daughter being sacrificed to Orochi, the 8-headed serpent.

Then the hero Susano arrives. Usually he is alone but a second hero accompanied him in this version. My guess would be his son Isotakeru who according to one of the versions of the myth came with him from the Korean peninsula.

The parents of Kushinada, the last daughter, are instructed by Susano to prepare vats of sake which are then drugged so as to disable the serpents. In return for saving Kushinada from her fate she is given to Susano as a bride.

Then the Orochi arrives. Originally the dance only had a single dancer dressed as the serpent. Here in Iwami it was developed to include 8 serpents in the dance, though many shrine performances will only have four due to space and kagura group size limitations. What is unique about this performance is fully sixteen serpents take part.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Nachi Cliche

Ranking up there with a bullet train in front of Mount Fuji, a geisha in Gion, a tunnel of torii at Fushimi Inari, and sunset at the floating torii of Miyajima, the pagoda with Nachi Falls behind it is a full fledged Japan photo cliche.....

So here are a few of mine.....

Taken on the first day of my walk along the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, the first few days of which follow the Kumano Kodo....

Earlier that morning I had visited Fudarakusan Temple where monks would set of on suicide boat journeys,..... earlier today I was reading that monks used to jump off from the top of the falls as another way to quickly reach Kannons paradise...

Monday, July 17, 2017

An Oita Shopping Arcade

On my way out of town to walk upriver to Bungo Ono I passed through one of Oita's covered arcades.

This one had a huge model of what I believe is a Portuguese sailing ship. commemorating the city's historical connection with Portuguese trade as well as Christianity.

Arcades are a pleasant way to walk across a city without having to deal with traffic too much

Though during the daytime they can be crowded with pedestrians and bicycles

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Shodoshima Pilgrimage Temple 6 Tanoura-an

Early morning on my first day walking the Shodoshima Pilgrimage  and I came down out of the bamboo forest into the upper part of the little, but famous, fishing village of Tanoura.

Tanoura-an is the small buddhist temple for the village, but it is also the shrine. They are quite clear that they didn't separate the two when ordred to by the government in the late 19th Century.

Obviously there was once a huge tree here :). The main deity of the temple is Amida.

In its own little case was a Jizo statue that attracts people from further away than the village as it has a reputation for removing warts.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Kyushu Pilgrimage Day 12 Oita to Bungo Ono

Day 12 was going to be a long day, but I kept my room in Oita and would come back by train so I could walk the day without a heavy pack.

My route was inland following the Ono River as far as Bungo Ono. Along the way there would be numerous shrines, some cliff carvings, 2 pilgrimage temples, and some great views.

The second of the pilgrimage temples has a claim to be the oldest temple in all of Japan......

The weather was great in late February, though a little chilly in the shadows....

Friday, July 7, 2017

Yukie Shrine, Osafune

Coming to the end of my first day walking along the Chugoku Kannon Pilgrimage and after spending a few hours walking down the banks of the Yoshii River in Okayama, I arrived at the village of Osafune.

Yukie Shrine is at the north end of what was a swordmakers village. The kami enshrined is known as the patron of swordsmiths, though I could not find a name. Sometimes Inari has that role.

It is known as a shrine to pray for relief from eyes diseases as the legend says that Takauji Ashikaga prayed here and his eye disease was healed.

Just south of the shrine are workshops where swords are still made and a sword museum, and that is where I headed to end the day.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Samurai carvings at Yasaka Shrine in Oita

Unlike the carvings on the gate at Yusuhara Hachimangu, the carvings on the Yasaka Shrine gate are cruder.

Another big difference is that are they painted quite brightly.

The subject of the carvings is also different..... here they are of samurai.though I have een unable to find out the story that is being depicted.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Dai Sekirinzan

Dai Sekirinzan is at the northernmost point of the main island of Okinawa. It is a karst and geologists believe it to be the oldest part of Okinawa.

Being a karst it has many strange eroded rock formations, and within it are many ancient Okinawan shrines. The place is known as a "Power Spot".

There is also a lot od strange vegetation, notably Banyan trees,

There are trails throughout the park, some leading to viewpoints looking down on Cape Hedo, the tip of Okinawa. It was here that they have some of the sacred white snakes I posted about before.

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