Monday, December 11, 2017

Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage Day 3


Sunday 16th December 2012, and I begin my third day walking the Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage with Mount Sanbe silhouetted  inland. Today I will walk from Shizuma down the coast and end at Nima.


There was one of the pilgrimage temples and lots of shrines.  A few mountain roads and a few villages and a nice stretch of beach to walk.


A great day for surfing, I guess,.... we get good surf mostly in the winter it seems.


A couple of the shrines are very intriguing and tell the story of the arrival of Susano from the Korean peninsula. Almost completely ignored in most renditions of the myths and early history of Japan, the two shrines were instrumental in sending me on the search for Susano stories...


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Ebisu & Daikoku Kote-e


Kote-e are a traditional type of plaster relief often found on storehouses, temples etc. A kote is a type of spatula-shaped trowel used to work plaster, so kote-e means "trowel pictures"


Not purely for decoration, the symbols used in the kote-e were either to ward of misfortune, commonly fire, or , as in the case of the pictures here, to attract good fortune.


Ebisu and Daikoku are both members of the ' Lucky Gods of Japan", and have long been associated with commercial success and wealth. The picture here were taken in Usuki, Oita. Though kote-e can be found all over Japan, Oita does seem to have a lot.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Sunrise at Yasaka Yahama


On the night of my tenth day walking the Shikoku Ohenro pilgrimage I stayed in the tsuyado at Saba Daishi Temple .


Next morning, Saturday September 24th, I awoke to a glorious sunrise.


This section of the Tokushima coast is named Yasaka Yahama, which means 8 slopes & 8 beaches.


Just offshore was a small group of islands, and the sun rose from behind the largest.....


Monday, November 6, 2017

Pagoda at Ryugenji


Ryugenji is a small temple in the old district of the former castle town of Usuki on the coast of Oita.


The pagoda was constructed at the latter end of the Edo period, circa early 19th Century.


Other than that I can find no information about the place......


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Yokai Manholes


I won't be posting for a week or so as I am off on the pilgrim trail, and as we are approaching Halloween I thought these would be appropriate.


Sakaiminato in Tottori was the home of Mizuki Shigeru, the great manga writer and the town has a whole bunch of new manhole covers featuring some of his most famous yokai.....


The first one is Gegege no Kitaro, with Daddy Eyeball. The second one is Kitaro's sidekick Nezumi Otoko, ... filthy, disease-ridden, never bathing, with disgusting breath and farts......


Then we have Neko Musume,...normally with the appearance of a young girl but able to transformn into a monstrous cat........ then there is Konaki Jijii.....Little Crying Old Man...... who attaches himself to enemies and then increases his weight until he crushes them.


The final one is Ittan Momen, a length of cotton cloth that attacks by wrapping itself around the head and mouth........

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Fukura Tenmangu


Fukura is a district of Usuki, and as I walked into town I stopped in at Fukura Tenmangu. Like quite a few shrines it was actually a temple until the Meiji Period when many temples were converted to shrines by the government.


Being a Tenmangu it features a statue of an ox as well as the usual komainu etc. There are several sub shrines within the grounds.


It seems to be a very popular shrine offering a full range of ceremonies and amulets etc as well as a shrine to a red cat. Red Cat was the nickname of a successful local merchant and petitioners at the shrine pray for business success.


I was there at the end of February and the plum blossoms were in bloom. Tebmangu shrines often have plum trees because of poems Sugawara Michizane wrote about them, in the time before plum blossoms were supplanted by cherry blossoms in the Japanese imagination....


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ehime Prefectural Museum of History & Culture


Located in Seiyo, about halfway between Uwajima and Ozu in a fairly remote part of the prefecture is the Ehime Prefecture Museum of History & Culture.


Composed of massive halls off of a big central corridor-hall, it does have some nice details and features.


It was designed by Nikken Sekkei whose most famous piece is probably Tokyo Skytree.


The exhibits themselves were interesting enough too.....


Monday, October 16, 2017

Mangatsu-ji Temple, Usuki


Mangatsu Temple is right next to the Usuki Stone Buddhas. The current buildings date from 1950 though it was established in the Muromachi Period.


The Nio are quite interesting, and like the torii at the entrance to the little valley, are now buried up past their knees, no doubt from centuries flooding leaving layers of silt.


It is now a Shingon temple though if that was its original sect I don't know. It was supposedly established by Renjyo, a Chinese monk who it is said was brought over by a local man Mana no Choja and his wife "Princess" Tamatsu.


Behind the temple are a pair of statues of the couple as well as this one of Renjyo. It is said Mana no Choja financed the carving of the Usuki Stone Buddhas.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Shikoku Pilgrimage Temple 34 Tanema-ji


Tanema-ji, which means "seed sowing temple" is temple number 24 of the pilgrinmage. The name refers to a legend that Kukai planted 5 kinds of seeds that he brought back from China.


It is said that Kukai founded the temple though the honzon, a Yakushi Nyorai, is supposedly carved by a Korean monk centuries before Kukai.


The temple is famous for women who pray here for a safe childbirth to the Kosodate Kannon. Hung around the statue are dippers that have had their base removed and placed here by women whose prayers were answered.


Having been destroyed by typhoons numerous times, none of the architecture is particularly noteworthy.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Hiyoshi Shrine, Usuki


On a hilltop among the Stone Buddhas of Usuki is a small Hiyoshi Shrine. One of about 4,000 Hiyoshi Shrines around the current, it is a branch of the famous Hiyoshi Taisha at the base of Mount Hie near Lake Biwa.


Originally called Hie Shrine, Hiyoshi Taisha was the protective shrine for the monastic complex of Enryakuji on top of Mount Hie, and so I suspect that the monks who carved the Usuki Buddhas were of the Tendai Sect.


The woods around the shrine are apparently quite unique and listed as a prefectural nature site.


The wooden komainu were quite unusual and the honden had some nice relief carvings....


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