Thursday, June 13, 2013

Day 8 Visiting Itoshima's Temples

Today, me and Hiro's father are going to see some of the famous shrines and temple around Itoshima area. Our first destination is Sennyo-ji temple which is located near mount Raizan. Sennyo-ji (Sennyo Temple) was opened in 742 and has very long history. In 1752, the lord of Fukuoka at that time contributed the buildings, and it came to be called “Daihioin” named after the lord. This temple has two important cultural properties, “Mokuzo-senjukannon-ritsuzo (A standing wooden statue of thousand-armed Kannon)” and “Mokuzo-seigashonin-zazo (A seated wooden figure of Seiga-shonin)”.

In this temple, there are trees such as a 900-year-old ginkgo as a protected species of plant, a 250-year-old Japanese fir, over-400-year-old-Irohakaede, and over 1000-year-old big Japanese cedar, and they look very beautiful especially in November. Although i might not lucky to see how this maple trees turns red, but i was happy enough that i can see some of the oldest trees around Japan!

This tree believed has been here for over 1000 year

There is a Buddhist monk that shows us around the area where later we can find a "Giant Buddha Statue" inside the temple but unfortunately i wasn't able to take photo of it because no photography was allowed in that room. It played the important role of prayer temple for the Kamakura fuedal government, particularly during the Mongolian invasion attempts against Japan when 300 additional hospices were built on the mountain. The temple lies at the north of Mount Raizan’s midsection and is also called “the Kannon of Raizan”. On the left side of the stairs, you can see many statues scatters between the trees, which the numbers said to be around 500 statues. This statues said to represents all different types of people.

500 statues outside the Temple

Hiro's father takes a moment for praying
This temple was founded by an Indian Buddhist monk (known in Japanese as Seiga Shonin), Sennyoji Daihioin Temple flourished as an emporer-mandated temple. Just in front the 500 statues, there is another room where we can find the "Seated Seiga Shonin" inside. As i step inside, the room was very dark with minimum light and but has many paintings on the surrounding walls.

This item said will bring fortune if we touch it, and yes off course I did!

A little way up from Daihioin, there is “Ikazuchi Shrine ”. Over there, there is a huge tree located just outside the Shrine. By the look of the size, you can tell that this tree have already been here for at least 500 years. Just like the trees in Sennyoji Daihioin Temple during november, the autumn leaves here are beautifully worth to see as well.

Ikazuchi Shrine
After Ikazuchi Shrine, we go to the third temple which is called Ryukoku zenzi Temple. This temple used to have "Zen" teachings. Zen is a school of Mahayan or Buddhism teachings that developed in China during the 6th century. From China, Zen spread south to Vietnam, northeast to Korea and towards east to Japan. Zen emphasizes the attainment of enlightenment and the personal expression of direct insights in the Buddhist teachings. Inside the temple we can still find actual items that have been used during the era. There is a Mikoshi (portable shrine) that was placed on the ceiling. Mikoshi served as the vehicle to transport a deity in Japan while moving between main shrine and temporary shrine during a festival or when moving to a new shrine.

The main entrance of Ryukokuzenzi Temple
Ryukokuzenzi Temple
Illustration of Ryukokuzenzi Temple in the past

Mikoshi (portable shrine)

We went back home because the day was starting to get dark. At night, Mrs. Muta (we met earlier at Studio Kura) invited me to come for a dinner together with some of her friends. Mrs. Muta said to bring over some of my works to show to her friends. Though i might happen to be the youngest among them, but all of them are very friendly and we enjoyed a lot of the conversations. I tell them the story how i got here in the first place and where i come from. Later on, i explain to them about the culture, what kind of food do we have and what are the great places in Indonesia, they all seems to be curious and amazed about how rich and diverse Indonesia is. I had a wonderfull time meeting with new people and had a great feast as well, just wraps the day nicely!


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