Thursday, October 7, 2010
The pagoda at Bitchu Kokubunji is a landmark on the Kibi Bike Trail. Its a classic example of a late Edo Period pagoda, being constructed in the middle of the 19th Century.
The original Kokubunji was built in the middle of the 8th Century and the site is near the current Kokubunji.
The Kokubunji were a series of temples built under orders of Emperor Shomu as a way of consolidating control over the provinces, each province had a Kokubunji, and its purpose was to protect the ruling elite in Yamato.
Most of the kokubunji fell into disuse during the Heian period, and none of them became famous.
Bitchu Kokubunji is the only kokubunji that still has a pagoda.
At the time of the kokubunji's establishment, Buddhism was still under the control of the rulers and used for their own protection and safety. It was illegal to teach common people about Buddhism.