Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Flowers of Shikoku


h9961

A long time ago a regular reader asked for more flower pictures, so.......

h5

I dont often take pictures of flowers, but while on the Shikoku Pilgrimage I did try to keep a record of what I saw....

h111

All these photos were taken in the middle of August, 2011, in the Yoshino River valley on the first two days of my pilgrimage.

h179

Other than the first photo which is obviously a lotus blossom, I dont know what any of the others are called :)

h216

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Abandoned Mikoshi


hagi3551

Mikoshi are sacred palanquins or portable shrines used for transporting kami most often seen during matsuris when the kami are paraded around the local community once a year.

hagi3552

It is believed their origin lies in when the great kami Hachiman was carried by palanquin from Usa in Kyushu to Todaiji in Nara in the middle of the eighth century.

hagi3554

When not being used the Mikoshi are normally kept in a special storeroom though it is not uncommon for them to be put on display at New Year when many visitors come to the shrine.

hagi3555

In the heavily depopulated rural areas of Japan many shrines are now virtually unused and the mikoshi are no longer used. These photos were taken in a small shrine in the mountains of yamaguchi Prefecture.

hagi3556

Friday, August 24, 2012

Joren-an


h273

Joren-an is the third and final "chapel"/shrine on the trail up to temple 12 Shosanji.

h276

The huge cedar and statue of Kobo Daishi mark the spot where legend says Kukai spent the night on his ascent of the mountain.

h275

It looked pretty dilapidated and there was no-one around, but I was there out of the main pilgrim season so maybe it is manned in season.

h278

It is at 745 meters above sea level but unfortunately the trail drops down to the valley before starting up the final climb to Shosanji.

h279

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Garden of Phalli: more Mara Kannon


hagi3533

This is the third and final post on Mara Kannon. The first post showed the thousands of small, votive phalli left at the shrine. The second, like this post, showed the larger, more individual votive phallic sculptures left there.

hagi3534

The larger ones are made out of wood, stone, and steel.

hagi3540

Most of the phalli are left with prayers for fertility, but other reasons exist..... to cure diseases of the genitals, for improved sexual "performance" etc etc.

hagi3541

Mara Kannon Shrine is located in Tawarayama, a small onsen village in the mountains of northern Yamaguchi Prefecture. There are infrequent buses from Nagato City.

hagi3542

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Akashi Kaikyo Bridge


k1601

Higashiura is a town at the northern end of Awaji Island and its manhole cover depicts the nearby Akashi kaikyo Bridge which connects Awaji to the mainland.

k1445

It is a suspension bridge that has the longest central span of any suspension bridge in the world and it opened in 1998.

k1448

The central span is 1,991 meters, but was originally planned to be 1,990 but during construction in 1995 the area was hit by the Kobe Earthquake and the two bridge towers moved 1 meter apart.

k1450

The bridge is 3,911 meters long in total.

k1447

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vacation 2011 Day 18 Essouira


e5381

My room in the hotel we stayed at in the medina of Essouira was on the roof so it was not far to go to watch sunrise......

e5385

These posts on my vacation in Morocco are not popular with most of my readers, but I found Morocco to be very photogenic and I like the photsos I took, so.......

e5394

I ancient times Essouira was settled by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Romans. In more recent times the Portugese established a presence here for a while but the Essouira of today was built by an Arab ruler though he did use all the latest techniques of fortress construction from Europe and many nationalities contributed their expertise. The watchtower at the harbour where I took this photo was designed by someone from Genoa.

e5421

Essouira is a major harbour on the Atlantic coast of Morocco and so there is lots of fishing...... and of course fresh fish....

e5423

I believe these blue boats are for inshore sardine fishing....

e5438

I really liked essouira..... much more laid back than Marrakesh...... not unusual to hear reggae pumping out from many of the stores in the Medina...

e5441

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art part 2


kobe8344

The Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art in Kobe is usually pictured from the sea front, but the entrance is at the back of ther building on the road and while it is less dramatic it is also interesting.

kobe8359

Photos of thye front can be found here

kobe8360

It was designed by tadao Ando and opened in 2002.

kobe8364

The museums collection is of modern art, both japanese and foreign, with special emphasis on sculpture and prints.

kobe8365

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Shikoku 88 Temple 14 Jorakuji


h354

Jorakuji, the 14th temple on the Shikoku pilgrimage is unusual in several respects. The first being that whereas many temples have carefully manicured gardens and large flat areas of raked gravel, Jorakuji is built on an uneven rocky outcropping with nary a flat spot anywhere.

h356

The second unusual feature is the main deity which is Miroku Bosatsu, known as the "Future Buddha" and who is believed will become a buddha in the future to save all people. It is the only temple on the pilgrimage with this as the main deity.

h360

Meaning "temple of everlasting peace" Jorakuji belongs to the Shingon sect and legend has it was founded by Kukai.

h361

It is believed that diabetes can be cured by praying here and drinking tea made from the leaves of the Yew tree that grows here.

h363

There is also a legend of a woman who carried her crippled husband 5 times around the pilgrimage and on the sixth circuit he was healed here so it is also popular for disabled people.

h364

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sand Sculptures at Aquas


l1434

Following the success of last years exhibition of sand sculptures on the beach in front of Aquas it has been done again though this time under cover and in the grounds of Aquas itself. There was a big one of Kakinomoto Hitomaro and his wife Yosami. Surrounded by penguins and Beluga whales, the main attractions at Aquas.

l1436

It was nice to see a representation of them that did not descend to "kawaii" manga style.

l1435

The other big tableau was of Susano and Yamata no Orochi

l1433

There were several smaller sculptures done by teams from local companies. My favorite was this hanya mask.

l1437

l1438

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Masks of Shikoku


h205

During my Shikoku Pilgrimage I actually visited far more shrines than I did temples. One of the things I was hoping to see at the shrines were masks but I was disappointed that compared to shrines in my area or in Kyushu for example there were actually very few masks. These first ones I posted before in the post on Ichibacho Hachimangu, and they remain the strangest looking masks Ive seen in Japan.

h404

On Day 4 at a shrine in Tokushima City I found this Sarutahiko mask.

h817

After my typhoon adventure in the mountains of Tokushima I was invited into a shrine matsuri near temple 22 Byodoji. One of the village men modelled one of the small Sarutahiko masks they had.

h1027

On the next day I reached the Tokushima coast at Yuki and found this pair of Oni at a shrine there.

h5354

2 weeks later after having walked all the way through Kochi I came across this fine pair of Tengu masks.

Related Posts with Thumbnails