Saturday, February 5, 2011
The Niomon at Saijo Inari is most unusual. It is built of stone in the style of an Indian Palace.
The nio are quite remarkable, though taking photos of them is hindered by the wire grill protecting them.
Saijo Inari is often considered on of the top three Inari in Japan. It is located a little off the Kibi Bike Path, and well worth the detour.
Saijo Inari is officially a temple named Myokyo-Ji, and is sometimes known as Takamatsu Inari.
According to legend it was originally founded in the 8th Century as a Tendai temple. In the 16th Century it became a Nichiren temple, and in 1954 it became the head temple of its own separate sect known as Saijo Inarikyo.
According to the founding legend the founder of the temple, a monk known as Hoon Daishi, had a vision involving a deity riding a flying white fox, though it is quite possible that this is a Meiji-era invention created after the separation of the buddhas and kami.
Also worshipped here along with Inari is the Lotus Sutra, and behind the main hall of the temple the cliff has been sculpted supposedly into a sculpture based on the Lotus Sutra.