Monday, December 21, 2015

Fudo Myoo of Shikoku part 10


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Continuing with statues of Fudo Myoo encountered while I walked the Shikoku Pilgrimage, this first one is at temple 58, Senyuji, just outside Imabari. It is a miniature Fudo, but nicely detailed.

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On the way down from temple 60, the mountain temple, Yokomineji, I stopped in at Shirataki Okunoin, not part of the pilgrimage, and here I found a waterfall looked over by Fudo and two of his young boy servants usually known as Kimkara and Cetaka.

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This small Fudo was in the grounds of Temple 64, Maegamiji, in Saijo City.

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As was this last one.....

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Nanzoin Temple part 2


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There is a lot to see at Nanzoin Temple. A friend once described it, critically, as like a Buddhist "theme park", but I think back in the Edo period pilgrimage temples were a lot like that with many "attractions" to draw pilgrims. In the grounds  stands a massive, ancient tree that had been hit by lightning, though still living. Carved into it is a relief of Raijin, the God of Thunder and Lightning.

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Nanzoin is a pilgrimage temple, being the first of the Sasaguri Pilgrimage. There is also a complete set of the 500 Rakan, or Arhats, the disciples of the Buddha, each with a different face and pose.

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Not sure who this is. Obviously dressed as a monk, it might very well be Kobo Daishi. the founder of Shingon, the sect to which Nanzoin belongs.

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This modern carving of a married couple is a Sainokami, also known as Dosojin. In earlier times they were often a single phallic stone, or a a pair of stones and were placed at village boundaries and crossroads for protection.

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Probably a Jizo as he often is holding a staff and with children around him, but he seems to have a medicine jar in his left hand which is what Yakushi Nyorai, the Healing Buddha, would be holding

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hofukuji Jizo-Do


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These are a unique form of Nio that I have not seen anywhere else. They are carved as diagonal spars that support the porch roof on the Jizo Do at Hofukuji, a small temple in the Teramachi district of Hagi. Only the Jizo Do remains, the main hall being destroyed in early Meiji.

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I have been unable to find out anything about them, so if anyone has seen anything like this before, please leave a comment.

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There is a legend connected to a Jizo statue here. A local man married a beautiful woman who died giving birth to a son. The father hired a nurse to take care of his son. Later he remarried and his second wife gave birth to a son. The nurse used to take both boys to play in the grounds of Hofukuji. The wife beacme increasingly jealous of the first so, believing that her son deserved to inherit the family business, so one day took a red-hot poker and struck the first son, apparently killing him.

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Next day however, the son was fine with not a mark on him. Later a Jizo statue at the temple was discovered with a burn mark across its face, causing the wife to repent and become a devotee of the statue.

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This is a rather unusual statue of Daruma Daishi, the Japanese name for Bodhidharma, the legendary monk who brought Buddhism to China.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Nanzoin Temple part 1


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Nanzoin Temple, a Shingon temple in Sasaguri, near Fukuoka, is a big temple complex with lots of statuary. I have already posted about the numerous Fudo Myoo statues and the giant reclining Buddha. Above is an Enmeijizo, a Jizo who grants a long life, housed in a small. thatched structure.

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Of course there are plenty of other Jizo statues.

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En no Gyoja, the famed 7th Century ascetic, is generally considered to be the founder of Shugendo. He is often depicted with a pair of servants, the husband and wife Zenki and Goki, 2 demons who En no Gyoja converted.

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Maneki Neko, the welcoming cat, has obscure origins, but is almost certainly not Buddhist, however this one is more than 2 meters tall.

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With their pleated bodies, these would appear to be stone versions of Teru Teru Bozu, the folk dolls usually made of paper or cloth and hung to attract fine weather.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Okazaki Shrine, Kidani


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Standing in front of this small, rural shrine in Kidani, southern Okayama, was an unusual torii. I saw another at the shrine in the middle of the village, and my guess is they were constructed to house lanterns for matsuri.

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It is an Okazaki Shrine, and as there were no information boards I presume it is a branch of the famous Okazaki Shrine in Kyoto.

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As such it enshrines 3 main kami, Susano, Kushinada, &  Yahashira no Mikagami, the last being eight offspring of Susano.

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I've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating:- I often hear that Amaterasu is the primary kami in Shinto, but really that is just a hangover from State Shinto that placed here in that position to elevate emperor worship. If you actually check shrines all over the couintry, then shrines to Susano and his lineage far outnumber shrines to Amaterasu and her lineage.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Nanten Inari Shrine


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Nanten Inari Shrine is located in a pretty, wooded, narrow valley in the grounds of Nanzoin Temple, between the main temple buildings and the giant Nehanzo.

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At first I was not sure if it was in fact an Inari Shrine, as there were no guardian fox statues. There were also no multiple toriis.

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At the base there was a small pond with a Benzaiten statue, so I thought it could have been a Benten Shrine.

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However, at the small honden at the top of the steps there were a small pair of kitsune figurines.

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Friday, December 4, 2015

Churaumi Aquarium


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Until 2005, the Kuroshio  Tank at Churaumi Aquarium was the biggest in the world. The acrylic panel holding back almost 2 million gallons of water is  2 feet thick.


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Located in the Ocean Expo Park in northern Okinawa, the three floored aquarium is entered from above. After exiting the main building there are other buildings and museums.

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It is considered to be the best aquarium in Japan, The Kuroshio Tank features creatures found in the Kuroshio current, the warm waters surrounding the Okinawan Islands, the largest being the Whale Sharks and Manta Rays.

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The first exhibit is a large tank of starfishes which can be handled by the public. There is a big exhibit of coral, and lots and lots of fish.

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One of the exterior tanks features Sea Turtles.

Monday, November 30, 2015

More Fudo Myo at Nanzoin


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Kurikara, the sword of Fudo Myoo, is often represented with a dragon wrapped around it. Occasionally Fudo himself is given a dragon head, like here at Nanzoin.

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There were lots of Fudo statues at Nanzoin, as there were at the other temples nearby in the Wakasugi Mountain area. Like the other temples there was a waterfall surrounded by Fudo statues used for ascetic purification practises.

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There was also a fudo altar within a cave, something else that is not unusual for Fudo altars.

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As well as the numerous Fudo statues, and the largest bronze reclining Buddha, Nanzoin had a lot of other features which I will post next....

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sunset at Namiishi Dam


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At the end of a very long first day of my walk over and around the Kunisaki Peninsula I stopped for the night on the banks of the reservoir behind Namiishi Dam.

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I had now reached the high country in the middle of the peninsula by walking up one of the numerous valleys that radiate out from Mount Futago, and  the landscape was dramatic with features that made it an obvious site for early Yamabushi to inhabit.

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There is a small park here, and that is where I spread out my sleeping bag....

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All the posts of this days walk can be found by clicking here, though they will be in reverse chronological order.

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Tomorrow I will pass over the high center of the peninsula and hopefully reach the east coast.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fudo Myo at Nanzoin


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This Fudo Myo statue is about 10 to 11 meters high and is located at Nanzoin in Sasaguri, Fukuoka.

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Its the first temple on the Sasaguri 88 sacred places pilgrimage, a miniature version of the Shikoku Pilgrimage, but its not part of the Kyushu 108 temple pilgrimage, though I stopped in at the start of my 3rd day of the latter pilgrimage.

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It's a Shingon temple, and Fudo Myo is particularly popular in Shingon, so its not surprising that there are a lot of Fudo statues there....

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