Monday, September 28, 2015

More Fudo Myo at Kongochoin


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Of all the Fudo statues at Kongochoin I think this pair were my favorites. I think its because of the traces of color and the fact that they were not made by professional sculptors.

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Sometimes represented sitting, often found standing, occasionally he strikes and active and aggressive pose.

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The man made waterfall for the practise of cold water austerities. Fudo Myo is almost always found at such locations.
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Kongochoin was a little higher up Mount Wakasugi than Myo oin, and part of the Kyushu 108 temple pilgrimage as awell as the Sasaguri 88 temple pilgrimage.

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Further up the mountain I was to visit a couple more temples. both of which had a Fudo presence.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Grand Tour Colchester Firstsite


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Firstsite is a new and controversial arts center in Colchester designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly. Firstsite refers to the fact that it is built on one of the earliest roman settlements in England.

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The building is clad in a copper/aluminium alloy and is kept low so as not to intrude upon the skyline.


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The building is semicircular in shape and has no foundations so as to protect the archeological remains that may be buried underneath.

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The building has not verticals on the exterior and has come in for a lot of criticism. I like it because it offered me plenty of opportunities for the kind of photographic composition I like :)

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fudo Myo at Kongochoin


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A little higher up Mount Wakasugi from Myo-oin is Kongochoin, temple 89 on the Kyushu Pilgrimage.

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Like Myo-oin there are a lot of Fudo Myo statues here, many quite primitive and therfore in a way more expressive.

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There was also a small man-made waterfall for ascetic use and this also had numerous Fudos around it.

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I seem to be on a Fudo Myo binge right now but to a certain extent that is just because of the way I am slowly working through my backlog of photos....

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Shikoku Pilgrimage Temple 29 Tosa Kokubunji


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Tosa Kokubunji, temple 29 on the Shikoku Pilgrimage has a large Niomon housing a fine pair of Nio. The gate dates back to 1655, though it was dismantled and repaired in 1987

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Emperor Shomu ordered the construction of Kokubunji, state-proteting temples, in every province, and the 4 on Shikoku are all part of the pilgrimage. The Tosa Kokubunji was built by Gyoki in the middle of the eighth Century.

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According to kegend Kobo Daishi performed a ceremony here. The temple burnt down many times, inluding by Chosokabe, but this was one of the temples he rebuilt when he became a Buddhist towards the end of his life.

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There is quite a nice garden that includes poems inscribed in rocks, and a bell tower. The temple is now Shingon and the honzon is a thousand-armed Kannon.

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Friday, September 18, 2015

The Views From Mount Wakasugi


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Mount Wakasugi rises to 681 meters in height to the east of Fukuoka. Climbing from the north side views over Sasaguri become visible at various breaks in the trees.

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A little higher and the town of Hisayama comes into view.

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Higher still and the bay and Shikanoshima can be seen.

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Close to the top and the urban sprawl of southern Fukuoka City lies spread out.

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From the top you can see all the way to the Fukuoka Tower and Fukuoka Dome with the mountains north of Itoshima behind.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Fudo Myo of Shikoku Part 9


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Continuing with Fudo Myos I encountered on the Shikoku Pilgrimage, this votive plaque (ema) was at temple 52, Taisanji, overlooking the port that serves Matsuyama in Ehime.

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Not to far away at temple 53, Enmyoji, was this fairly modern version

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Temple 56, near Imabari, was also called Taisanji, and that is where I find these two....

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A little further inland, temple 57, Eifukuji, is where this final photo was taken

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Monjuin Statues


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Monjuin is a small temple located right next to Myo-oin on Wakasugi Mountain in Fukuoka. At first I thought it was ust part of Myo-oin. What little I have been able to find out about it is a little confusing, but it is probably a fairly new temple.

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It is a Shingon temple, and part of the 24 temple Jizo Pilgrimage of Kyushu, which is who I think the first statue is. There was a shrine to Benzaiten as well.

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The figure on the right is certainly Kannon, and the middle one Jizo

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Not sure who the three-headed figure is,... there are three headed Buddhas, three headed Kannons, as well as various other deities/boddhistavas, etc

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There were statues of the 7 lucky gods, and also another statue of Daikoku.....

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Mount Shizuki


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At 145 meters in height, Mount Shizuki in Hagi would be called a hill in English, but is symmetry and steepness give it quite a dramatic appearance.

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Jutting out into the sea it is particularly dramatic on a misty morning when viewed along the wide sweep of Kikugahama Beach.

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Hagi Castle was built at its base. The castle town and a couple of other sites in Hagi have been added to the newest World Heritage site in Japan.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Kyushu 108 Pilgrimage Temple 9 Myo-o-in


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I preveiously posted photos of a few of the Fudo Myo statues at Myo-o In located high on Wakasugi Mountain in Fukuoka, a temple founded at a waterfall where Kukai practised austerities after his trip to China.

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Several of the other early Shingon patriarchs also visited here.
At some point in the 14th Century the temple was destroyed and was not really revived and reconstructed until early in the twentieth century.

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There are many other statues around the waterfall as well as an Inari shrine. The interior of the temple is lined with hundreds of miniature Fudo statues.

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Riding what is almost certainly a peacock is either a buddha, a kannon, or a wisdom king...

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Monday, September 7, 2015

Chugoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage Temple 3 Shorakuji


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Though it is the third temple on the pilgrimage, Shorakuji, by virtue of being the most easterly temple is often where most pilgrims begin their pilgrimage, and I was no exception. Located in the hills of Bizen, it is inland north of Hinase, Okayama.

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Known, among other things, for its rather fine gate, constructed in 1801, I was disappointed to find it encased in scaffolding and tarps. However it was possible to watch a skilled artisan at work making repairs to one of the guardian Nio statues.

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It is believe a temple stood here since 794, but Shorakuji was established in 1304. It burned down in 1615 and was partially rebuilt by 1704, however it was not until 1801 that the complex regained its earlier size.

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There was not a lot of statuary, though there were many diverse onigawara. It has a fine bell tower that instead of containing a bell houses a large drum. It is said this is the style of ancient Korea. It is currently a Shingon temple and the honzon is the 11 faced Kannon.

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Grand Tour 1 Brightlingsea Beach


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Just got back from a thoroughly enjoyable  month travelling around the UK. On the first day we visited Brightlingsea Beach, somewhere I had never been before. Located where the river Colne reaches the open sea, not too far from Colchester.

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It is famous for its beach huts which I guess are a quintessentially English thing. A place to store some beach furniture, make a cup of tea, etc. I was amazed to learn that the price of one of these costs at least three times what we paid for our Japanese farmhouse.

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It is a decidedly uncommercial beach, a single cafe at the end of the promenade being the only place to spend money, which means the free activities of hanging out, chilling out, paddling and swimming, exploring the marine life of the shore,  fishing,  napping in the sun, practising English Tea Ceremony, or just watching the boats and clouds pass by are what most people do.

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Batemans Tower was built in 1883 and was used by John Bateman as a place for his daughter to recuperate from consumption. Reputedly the foundation were built upon faggot piles as that is why the tower leans.

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