Monday, September 17, 2018

More Shisa of Taketomi Island

Shisa are the magical creatures found on rooves and gates all over Okinawa. Similar to Japanese komainu, though found most often on homes.

Very much "folk" artifacts, though also made by artisans, most are somewhat comical in appearance.

All these posted here are from Taketomi Island, the small island known mostly for its ox-carts.

Like komainu they are often found in male-female pairs, and in different postures.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Eiganji, Kadogawa

The 33rd temple of the Kyushu Shingon Pilgrimage of 108 temples is Eiganji, located in Kadogawa, overlooking a picturesque bay flanked by two peninsulas.

It's a small temple and the main hall is made of concrete, though it claims to originate in the 9th Century.

The honzon is Yakushi Nyorai and is said to be even older, dating back to the Nara Period. It is a Hidden Buddha, and so can not be viewed.

There are a few statues in the grounds including this Kannon, and also a small Inari Shrine.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Kunisaki Yayoi Village

Approaching Kunisaki Town from the west, a few kilometers inland was a reconstruction of a Yayoi Period village. Across the road was a small museum.

Yayoi period dwellings and structures are very much in the style of regions much further south, SE Asia and even pacific islands.....

The location was typical of where the Yayoi settled..... in an alluvial valley where the soil was soft enough to be worked with only wooden tools. Later with the spread of iron they could colonize further inland where the soil was harder and rockier.

Though the Yayoi Period covers many centuries, it is claimed that this site was settled around the 3rd Century.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Nobeoka to Hyuga City

Sunday, March 24th, 2018, was the 19th day of my walk around Kyushu on the 108 temple Shingon Pilgrimage. The route from Nobeoka down to Hyuga City included only one temple of the pilgrimage, but lots of small shrines to stop in at and explore.

It was a relatively uneventful day with no major discoveries on my part, though I enjoyed the visits to the shrines as for me there is almost always something to see.

On my way down the coast I crossed many rivers and though it was an overcast day and not great for photography light-wise, it was a still day so the water was mirrorlike.

More palm trees appeared so it certainly felt like I was now in Miyazaki. I stopped early in the day as I had reached the hotel I had a room booked in. The view from my room was not particularly great.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Roadside Attractions on Osakikamijima Island

The short ferry ride from Osakishimojima Island deposited me on the southern tip of Osakikamijima Island and I started to walk up the coast on the eastern side of the island. "Bow Shaped Rock" was a little offshore but apparently accessible at low tide. According to the legend the area was constantly raided by pirates in the early 15th Century and so one local samurai strung a bowstring to this rock and fired arrows at the approaching pirates and successfully drove them off.

A little further up the coast a small Local History Museum shaped like a boat. From here you can see across the water to Omishima and the distinctive architecture of the Tokoro Art Museum. Next to the Tokoro they were in the process of building the Toyo Ito architecture Museum.

Shipbuilding and repair is one of the main industries on the island and next to this rather nicely painted boatshed was a large steel sculpture.

Looking like a Chinese restaurant, this is actually a community center. I am sure there must be a reason why it was done in Chinese style, but I don't know it. On the hillside just above it is Kongoji Temple.

It has a large cemetery, so I guess the pagod-shaped elevator and walkway means parishioners don't have to climb steps to get to it. I walked up because from Kongoji a footpath heads directly up to Mount Kannomine, at 452 meters the highest point on the island and where I was planning to spend the night.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Imayama Daishi

At the other end of the hill known as Imayama on which Imayama Hachimangu Shrine is located is a small temple, Imayama Daishi, dedicated to Kobo Daishi the founder of the Shingon sect.

Among the cherry trees and numerous statues of Jizo, Kannon, 7 Lucky Gods etc is a massive statue of Kobo Daishi himself.  17 meters tall and weighing 11 tons, many sources claim it to be the biggest statue of Kobo Daishi, but actually was superseded by the one built down at Cape Muroto in Shikoku.

Unfortunately when I was there the statue was encased in scaffolding while it was being refurbished. You can pay an entrance fee to enter the small building on which the statue stands and go up to view it at close quarters.

In April, on what was the 21st day of the third month according to the old lunar calendar, a big festival is held here involved a huge parade of locals dressed in period costume.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Hill of Eternal Hope Revisited

Miraishin no Oka, the Hill of Eternal Hope is a sculptural work located on a hill above Kosanji, the somewhat bizarre temple located on Ikuchijima along the Shimanami kaido that connects Hishu with Shikoku.

I have posted about it before, the link is here Heights of Eternal Hope for the Future

All the statues and in fact the surface of the hill top, is constructed out of Carrera marble from Italy where the Japanese sculptor, Kazuo Kuetani lives and works.

I revisited it while on my second day walking along the Shimanami Kaido, a route most often cycled by visitors.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Imayama Hachimangu

Imayama, a small hill not far from Nobeoka Station is home to the main shrine of the area, Imayama hachimangu. A large entrance gate that probably held Nio before the Meiji Period is at the base of the hill.

Next to the main gate was a small Inari shrine.

Being a Hachimangu, the main kami enshrined here is Hachiman, which is the legendary emperor knwn as Ojin, though here named by his "given" name of Homuda Wake, plus usually his mother Jingu and his wife.

The buildings are of post-war vintage and made of concrete.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Nibehime Shrine

On the third day of my walk along the Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage I started the day at Shizuma with a visit to the main shrine in the village. To all outward appearances just a small village shrine, with a large shimenawa in Izumo style. However this was a relatively important shrine in the past.

It's listed in the Engi Shiki, a tenth Century document that, amongst other things, lists all the shrines in Japan that were receiving official offerings from the central government in Kyoto. The shrine also has some interesting kami enshrined here.

The main kami is Haniyasuhime, the female of the pair of kami known as kami of the soil. According to one version of the myth the two kami were created out of the feces of Izanami after she was killed by the kami of fire. The agricultural reference is pretty obvious.

Another couple of female kami are enshrined here also, Oyatsuhime and Tsumatsuhime, both daughters of Susano who arrived near here from the Korean Peninsula along with a Susano son, Isotakeru. All three landed not far from here near the village named after Isotakeru, Isotake. The three kami are known for spreading the seeds of useful trees they brought with them.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Nobeoka Castle Ruins

Origunally called Agata Castle, Nobeoka castle was never very big and didn't even have a keep, ony a three-story turret that only lasted 30 years before burning down.

Built on a small hill at the junction of two rivers, a succession of clans controlled the castle with the Naito holding it until the castle was decommissioned in 1870.

There are no buildings left but the gate was rebuilt in 1993. Like most castle ruins the grounds are now planted in cherry trees.

a more than twenty meter high wall supposedly would collapse and crush 1,000 attackers should a single keystone be removed. Saigo held the castle briefly in 1870.

Now it is a popular ohanami spot.

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