Sunday, August 9, 2015

Kotogahama Beach Sunset


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Kotogahama is yet another of the fine beaches we have here in Iwami. Its located just before Niima. Like most of the beaches there are few people. We went there to watch an evening concert in a small cafe on the beach.

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The beach is home to "singing " sand that was the inspiration of the nearby Nima Sand Museum. Actually the sand squeaks as you walk on it, but if you have heard any J-Pop then you know singing and squeaking are synonymous.

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Living as we do in a narrow valley, sunrise and sunset is not something available to us, so I spent a lot of time watching the sun go down.

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

More Fudo statues at Taikoiwa Fudoson


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Along the path leading up to the giant cliff-carved Fudo Myo were dozens and dozens of other statues, a few of which were also Fudo....

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Here are 6 of them.
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Located on Mount Kurokami near Arita in Saga, it is about 400 meters altitude

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The post is here
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Monday, August 3, 2015

Okinawa World


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Okinawa World is a theme park at the southern end of the main island. It is very touristy and really is only worth visiting for the Gyokusendo Cavern.

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Lots of traditional houses and crafts etc plus music and food..... lots of ways to spend money

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It was the first time I saw reference to Kijimuna, a small, red haired, forest sprite....

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They also make Habushu, the alcoholic drink made with poisonous snakes....

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There is a small museum that actually had some good exhibits.....

Friday, July 31, 2015

Yumachihachimangu


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Yumachi is the settlement between Tamatsukuri Onsen and Lake Shinji and has a quite substantial Hachimangu.

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Unfortunately there was no signboard and nobody around so I couldn't find out the names of the numerous secondary shrines in the grounds.

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It was curious that it din't have an Izumo style shimenawa.

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One of the older sessha had its own protective roof and walls

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Itsukushima-Gu, Togo


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Towards the end of my first days walk across and around  Kunisaki  the valley narrowed and the road started to climb towards the middle of the cone shaped peninsula.

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Like all the shrines I had visited that day on my walk from Usa Hachimangu, the shrine had a golden Gingko tree in its grounds, though no Nio.

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This small shrine was called Itsukushima-Gu, and is therfore a branch of the famous Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima near Hiroshima, enshrining one of the 3 Munakata goddesses connected to travel between Kyushu and the Korean Peninsula.

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There was no signboard nor anyone around so I couldnt find any more information, though there was a small Inari shrine and several what I presumed were aragami shrines.

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What is noticeable to me is the difference between shrines in different areas of Japan. In some places, like here in Kunisaki, there is a palpable sense of ancient mystery, though I continue to define what exactly that means :)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Taikoiwa Fudoson


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This 7 meter high Fudo Myo is carved directly into the cliff face part way up Mount Kurokami near Arita in Saga.

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At more than 500 meters in height, the mountains have numerous outcroppings and rock formations, the type of place Yamabushi were drawn to. The mountain is home to legends of giant serpents and it is though Kukai stopped here on his way to China.

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Underneath the carving is a large mirror which faces east and reflects back the sunrise to the land below.

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The path leading up to the carving has numerous statues including many Fudo, which I will post later.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Tamatsukuri Historical park


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Both the manhole designs for Tamatsukuri feature magatama, the "comma" shaped jewels. This first design also includes an image of the Tamatsukuri Historical Park.

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Located on the hillside right behind the Public Onsen, the park is the site of the biggest magatama production area so far discovered in Japan.

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There is a modern structure protecting the archeological remains of the magatama workshop and a reconstruction of a yayoi period building.

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Behind the park is a small museum with displays on magatama and their historical production.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sumiyoshi Shrine, Mitarai


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Mitarai, on Osaki Shimojima in the Inland Sea grew into a major seaport in the mid 17th Century. Initially it was a good spot for boats to  wait for favorable winds and tides, but prospered by offering services that the sailors desired.

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The Sumiyoshi Shrine on the waterfront dates from this time.

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Sumiyoshi shrines are noted for offering protection for those undertaking sea journeys. The original Sumiyoshi shrine is in Hakata which was the main point of embarkation for mainland Asia. The Sumiyoshi shrine established in what is now Osaka, the main port serving the capitals of Yamato, is now considered the head shrine.

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The three main kami are the Sumiyoshi "brothers", Sokotsutsuno, Nakatsutsuno, & Uwatsutsuno, who according the the standard mythology were created when Izanagi purified himself after visiting Izanami in Yomi. It is possible they represent the three main starts of the Orion Constellation which were used for navigation. Later Empress Jingu was added,.

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Tamatsukuriyu Shrine


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The main shrine in Tamatsukuri is the Tamatsukuriyu Shrine. The three main kami are Kushiakarutami, Onamuchi (Okuninushi), & Sukunahikona. The latter two are well known, but this was my first encounter with Kushiakarutami, who was the priest Tamasuri (he who makes the jewels) who enshrined Okuninushi following the ceding of the land to the Yamato, Kuniyuzuri.

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Kushiakarutami is also equated with Haakarutama and Amenoakarutama, the first being the kami that gave Susano the jewels he used in his "contest" with Amaterasu, and the second being the kami that produced the jewels that were hung outside the cave that Amaterasu used to hide away in. The common feature of all these kami is the production of "jewels", the comma- shaped stones known as magatama. Tamatsukuri was a center of magatama production and the unusually shaped treasure house of the shrine has many of the objects found in archeological digs in the shrine area.

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Nowadays the shrine is most well known for its "wish fulfilling stone" (negai ishi). Nowadays you can buy small stones from the shrine office and hold them against the almost spherical stone and have its power transferred.

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There are numerous secondary shrines within the grounds including an Inari, Konpira, Susa, a Tama no Miya, Several other shrines I can find no information about, Kikakashi, Fukutoku, & Sanatama.

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Saikokuji, Onomichi


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Saikoku-ji is a major temple complex in Onomichi, and along with Senko-ji and Jodo-ji it is one of the three temples that shouldn't be missed among the dozens found along the temple walk.

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It is approached up a long slope that ends with the impressive Niomon with its huge straw sandals. Then there are steps to climb up to the temple complex itself on several levels.

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According to the founding legend it was founded by Gyoki sometime around 739. Now it is a Shingon temple. The Daishi Hall has some nice Fudo statues inside and out.

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The temple burned down, along with Gyokis Honzon, in the early 11th Century, but Emperor Shirakawa ordered it rebuilt in 1081. The main hall and three storey pagoda are both Important Cultural properties.

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