Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Atrium at Ehime Science Museum


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The entrance to the Ehime Science Museum is through a perfectly conical atrium.

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From there steps lead down to an underground tunnel that leads to the planetarium.

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Information and photos of the planetarium can be found here, and photos of the outside of the museum complex can be found here.

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The museum was designed by Kishi Kurokawa and it opened in 1994

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It is located in Niihama, Ehime, and entrance is 500 yen for adults.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Shikoku 88, Temple 21, Tairyuji


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Tairyu-ji, which means Great Dragon Temple, is one of the few locations on the pilgrimage that can be historically verified as a location where Kukai visited. He spent 50 days on the mountaintop as a youth performing a ritual with a mantra being repeated 1,000,000 times. A statue of him can be found on a mountaintop below the temple.

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The temple is at 610 meters above sea level and affords some expansive views....... there is now a ropeway to the summit. Looking back, it is possible to see the pagoda from temple 20 rising through the trees on the next mountain.

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Kukai later returned to the site under orders from Emperor Kammu and founded the temple and became its first head priest.

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It is a Shingon temple, and the main deity is Kokuzo, whose mantra Kukai recited.

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Gakuen-ji


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Temple #3 of the Izumo 33 Kannon Pilgrimage is the Tendai mountain temple of Gakuenji, a place I have visited many times and still one of my favorite temples. earlier posts can be found here.

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To my great surprise there was for the first time an entrance fee!!!!.... that included a cup of green tea, and once I got over my initial shock I decided that maybe its a good idea. With no parish to provide funerary expenses the temple needs funds to maintain the buildings.

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When i first came here many years ago there was a wonderful thatched-roof nunnery. Without maintenance it collapsed and was torn down. Maybe with the income from the thousands who come here in the Fall for the colors and the increasing number of pilgrims who come here can provide some protection for the place.

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Before I left the young priest gave me a pamphlet of the Izumo 33 Kannon Pilgrimage. It has a nice map and details of each of the temples, and most useful the temple names are written with furigana so they can be easily read. Gakuen-ji is also part of the Chugoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage, so I will be back here again when i walk that in 2014.

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The Chugoku Nature Trail runs through the temple, and while car pilgrims have to drive back down the mountain and around I can take the trail straight up and over the mountains....

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Many More Rivers To Cross


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This is a second post on some of the rivers that must be crossed while walking the Shikoku Pilgrimage. The first post can be found here. This first photo is the Hiwasa River where it reaches the sea at Hiwasa in Tokushima, home to temple #23, Yakuo-ji from where the photo is taken.

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According at a no longer extant 16th Century guidebook there were 488 rivers to cross on the route, though this may be a symbolic number as it also claims there were 488 hills to be climbed. The second photo shows the Kaifu River at Kaifu, Tokushima.

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Many rivers had to be forded, some had paying ferries.  Chozen, a monk walking the pilgrimage in the mid 17th Century, recorded instances of boats left for the use of pilgrims, but also having to beg for rides from passing boats. This third photo is the Shishikui River in Shishikui, Tokushima.

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By the end of the 17th Century the pilgrimage had become much more popular and a guide book written by Shinnen, the Michishirube, gave detailed instructions on how and where to cross the rivers and by then there were many more free boats available for pilgrims.

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The last two photos are unknown rivers on the east coast of the Muroto Peninsula, just inside Kochi.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Daisho-in Temple, Hagi


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Daisho-in is a Rinzai Zen temple in the castle town of Hagi, Yamaguchi.

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A little off the regular tourist route in Hagi, the quietness combined with dilapidation make for an atmospheric visit.

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The garden and pond are quite nice, but the main sight to see is the family graveyard of the Mori clan who moved here and built the castle and town.

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The temple was derelict when the Mori moved here, but the second Lord of Hagi, Tsunahiro, rebuilt the temple in the mid 17th Century as a family temple. He, as well as his father and the 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th Lords are interred here along with their wives. The other generations were interred on the other side of Hagi in Tokoji.

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Leading up to the tombs are 603 stone lanterns donated by loyal vassals. Thats 100 more than at the more visited Tokoji. Every Obon all the lanterns are lit.

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