Saturday, February 24, 2018

Cement Town Tsukumi

Tsukumi is a small fishing port on the coast of Oita between Usuki and Saiki that I walked through after visiting temple 29, Kaiganji.

Kust inland is a massive limestone quarry many times larger than the town itself, and the fishing harbors are overshadowed by a large port that ships out the cement. In between is a complex of industrial infrastructure that processes the material.

To get through the town means passing right through the maze of factories, smokestacks, conveyor belts etc.

By any criteria, ie per capita, per acre, etc etc Japan produces more concrete than anywhere else in the world.......

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Portraits of Rakan

Rakan, sometimes referred to by their sanskrit name of Arhat, are generally considered to be disciples of the historical Buddha, and in Japan are often found collectively as a group of 500 statues.

One of their features is that every single face is different with a different expression, and that you will be able to find at least one that reminds you of someone you know.

In the rakan hall of Jizoji, temple number 5 of the Shikoku Pilgrimage, there are nowhere near 500 of them, but they are unusually large.

On my first morning walking the Shikoku Fudo Myo Pilgrimage I started at Jizoji before heading up the mountain to the first Fudo temple.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Kaiganji, temple 29 on the Kyushu Pilgrimage

Located in a small fishing village at the edge of Tsukimi on the coast of southern Oita, Kaiganji is the 29th of the 108 Shingon temples on the Kyushu Pilgrimage and was quite a surprise with a wide range of statuary and features.

I am always fascinated by the eclectic groupings of god, buddhas, mythical creatures, and pop characters found at small shrines.........

One building was very much in a SE Asian style and enshrined a Yaku Yoke Taishi for the prevention of personal disasters.....

The wooden fish "gong" was quite impressive...... nowadays often only found at Zen temples.....

A Kannon on the edge of a pond,.... a large white elephant,..... a small shrine in a cave above the temple..... quite a range of unusual things to see......

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Traditional Boathouses at Tsuma

Funa-Goya are traditional boathouses found all over the Oki Islands, but at Tsuma on the SW coast of Dogo is a collection that are most famous and a sightseeing spot.

Several dozen connected boathouses curve around the waterfront and are quite picturesque.

They are still in use today.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Nioza Historical Road

Nioza is the old district of the former castle town of Usuki in Oita. One of the narrow lanes is stone paved and winds around a slope.

Sometimes called a samurai district, there are a few samurai homes, but also a lot of temples and merchant quarters.

One of the former temples has been converted into a "rest area" for visitors and puts on seasonal displays. When I as there it was dolls.

If you are in Usuki it is certainly worth a look see, but not worth making a special journey.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Nachi Taisha

Kumano Nachi Taisha is one of the three Kumano shrines that are the focus of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes in the Kii peninsula of Wakayama.

The Nachi Taisha complex is on a hillside overlooking Nachi Waterfall, the highest in Japan, and an object of veneration since ancient times.

It is believed that the shrine was originally closer to the falls. The identity of the kami enshrined is quite complex.

Seiganto-ji temple was part of the complex until being somewhat separated from the shrine.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Kyushu Pilgrimage Temple 28 Kozanji

Kozanji, the 28th temple on the Kyushu pilgrimage is in the hills south of the main town.

It was established here in 1590 but was moved here from Koyasan and is known locally as Koyasan Kozanji. Hideyoshi gave some support to the move.

They brought a lot of statues with them from Koyasan, some dating as far back as the kamakura Period, but I didn't go inside so don't know how many can be seen.

There were a lot of statues in the grounds though......

Sunday, January 28, 2018

24 Eyes Movie Village

On my first morning walking the Shodoshima Pilgrimage I took a short detour to visit the 24 Eyes Movie Village. 24 Eyes ( Nijyushi no Hitomi) was an extremely popular movie made in 1955. A melodrama centered around a teacher and young pupils in a village school.

It was set and filmed on location here on Shodoshima, and thenactual school wgere it was filmed is just up the road. In 1987  they filmed a remake but with the amount of modern development could not find any real locations to film it so built this film set.

It is now open to the public and while the focus is on the movie there are plenty of other displays on Japanese movie history, especially the golden age of the 1950's.

There is very little English information, but if you are interested in japanese movies and or have seen either version of 24 Eyes it would be worth a visit. The cafe serves 1950's school meals.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Matsushima Shrine, Usuki

Located on a long, narrow island near the mouth of the Usuki River, Matsushima Shrine was founded in 1707.

The three main kami enshrined here are Sokozutsunoo, Nakazutsunoo, & Uwazutsunoo, three kami that were created when Izanagi was purifying himself in water after fleeing from the Underworld.

There is no agreed upon meaning for their names, though they are the three kami that collectively are enshrined at Sumiyoshi shrines. The inclusion of Jingu as a secondary kami further suggests the connection to Sumiyoshi. Why it is a Matsushima shrine and not a Sumiyoshi shrine is not clear to me.

There are other Matsushima shrines so quite probably this was founded as a branch of the main one. Also enshrined here is Sugawara Michizane, Tenjin.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Pagoda at Yokei-ji

At the start of my second day walking the Chugoku Kannin Pilgrimage I was at Yokeiji Temple on a hilltop overlooking the Yoshii River.

The temple dates to 749 but the pagoda is much more recent. The lotus were blooming and I posted earlier on that here

There were numerous shrines and temples within the complex which was a site of Shinbutsu Shugo since the Heian Period, that is to say the kami and the buddhas were worshipped together.

Yokeiji is the third name for the temple here, having been renamed twice.

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