May 28, 2011

New Main Hall of Fukagawa Fudo-do

Today is May 28th. It is said that 28th is a special day for Fudo-myoo. People who believe in Fudo-myoo visit a temple, and pray to Fudo-myoo on the 28th of every month. It may be difficult to visit a temple each month. But, it is recommended to visit a temple on the 28th of January, May, and September.

Since Fudo-myoo is very popular in Japan, there are many temples enshrines Fudo-myoo. Among these, I recommend Naritasan Shinshoji Temple and its branch. The reason is that Goma (sacred fire rite) is conducted every day, and anyone can attend the rite freely.

Today, I visited Fukagawa Fudo-do, which is a Tokyo branch of Naritasan Shinshoji Temple. Fukagawa fudo-do is located near Tokyo Metro Monzen-Nakacho Station. It is one minute walk from the station.

Building a new main hall was completed in April. This was the first time I have entered the new main hall. The appearance is different from that of conventional temples. But, when I entered it, I felt stately.

The Goma rite is regularly conducted at 9, 11, 13, 15, and 17 o'clock. You can attend it sitting down a bench. This is a good points for modern people. I attended the rite that started from 3 o'clock. It becomes more powerful than before. Attending the Goma rite is one of the easiest way to learn Japanese old culture.

New main hall.

New main hall (left) and old main hall (right)

Sanskrit of Fudo-myoo

May 19, 2011

Shin-komyoji Temple in Shizuoka

I visited Shin-komyoji Temple in Shizuoka in March of this year. The temple is located near JR Shizuoka Station. It takes about 3 minutes from the station to the temple by foot.

The temple is on the 7th floor of a modern building. Thus, when visitors come to the temple first time, they are bewildered by the modern building. Of course, I was bewildered.

Some might think whether it is worth visiting such a temple. The answer is Yes. A Buddha statue sculpted by Kaiei is enshrined in Shin-komyoji Temple. Kaikei is as famous as Unkei.

Two pictures of the Buddha statue are shown. This is Amida. Since Kaikei believed in Amida deeply, he sculpted many statues of Amida. A woman who accompanied me said that the face looks like a cat. Do you think so?

There is an interesting fact about the statue. Springs are used to fix its eyes. This might be the oldest use of a spring in Japan. Thus, a specialist for a spring came and examined the statue.

May 15, 2011

Jyorakuji Temple in Yokosuka

Jyorakuji Temple in Yokosuka city is well-known to people who are interested in Buddha statues. This is because Buddha statues sculpted by Unkei are enshrined in the temple.

The storage where the statues exist are always close. In particular, however, it is open four times a year; March 3, April 15, May 15, and October 19. Today is May 15. So, I went to Jyorakuji Temple.

I got off at JR Zushi Station. I then took a bus and got off at Jyorakuji bus stop. It took about 30 minutes from Zushi Station to Jyorakuji Temple by bus.

I entered the storage, and watched 5 statues: Amida triad (Amida, Kannon, Seishi), Fudo-myoo, and Bisyamon-ten. All statues were terrific. Amida triad was elegant. Fudo-myoo and Bisyamon-ten look powerful, which Samurai loved. I rediscover that Unkei is one of the best sculptors in Japanese history.
Main hall in Jyorakuji Temple. The storage is located behind the main hall.

May 14, 2011

Tokudaiji Temple along Ameyoko Market in Ueno

There is a famous market near JR Ueno Station. It is always active and crowded. The market is called Ameyoko. Although many people walk along Ameyoko Market, most of them do not notice that a temple is located along Ameya Market.

The temple is Tokudaiji Temple. It is famous for a deity, Marishiten. When I visited the temple on May 8, I found a brochure written in English. I was not interested in English brochure before I started this blog. But now, I like to read it because I would like to know what words and phases are used.

I present the introduction of Tokudaiji temple written in the brochure.
Having 600 years of history, the Marishiten Tokudaiji Temple is known as one of the three Great Marishiten Sanctuaries.
In middle age Japan, Marishiten (Marici in Sanskrit) was largely embraced as a protector and patron by the Samurai.
Today this solar deity is revered as a guardian god that brings spirit energy and wealth. Therefore, those who worship Marishiten are said to be protected from evils and dangers and are given prosperity and luck.
It is said that the image of Marishiten enshrined to this temple is Price Shotoku's work.
As described above, Samurai revered the deity. Marishiten is a deification of shimmers. You can see a shimmer, but you cannot catch it. Thus, samurai believed that if they pray to Marishiten, the deity prevents them from be caught by enemies.

May 12, 2011

Face of Great Buddha in Ueno Park

Speaking of Great Buddha statue in Japan, most people imagine the statue in Nara or Kamakura. It is not well-known that the seated Great Buddha statue was in Ueno Park, and the only face is left now.

The seated Great Buddha statue was built in 1631. The face fell from the body due to the earthquake in 1647, and a bronze Great Buddha was newly built. Again, the face fell from the body due to the fire in 1841 and 1855, and the statue was repaired.

The face fell from the body due to earthquake in 1923. This was 4th fall. There was a plan to repair the statue, but, it was not executed.

When you visit Ueno Park, you can see the only face of Great Buddha statue. Since the face is strongly fixed, it will not fall again. This wins the hearts and minds of student preparing for an exam. They do not want to fail an exam. They hope to receive a power from Great Buddha.

I think that the last paragraph seems to be a little difficult to understand for non-Japanese readers.

We use the same verb "ochiru" in Japanese when expressing "face fall from the body" and "student fails an exam". That is, we say "face ochiru from the body" and "student ochiru an exam".

The face of Great Buddha statue will not ochiru. Thus, students believe that if they pray to the Buddha face then they will not ochiru an exam.

May 11, 2011

Benten-do in Ueno Park

In the article I posted yesterday, I presented Kiyomizu Kannon-do. Today, I will present Benten-do in Ueno Park. Kiyomizu Kannon-do is modeled on Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. On the other hand, Benten-do is modeled on Hogonji Temple in Chikubu Island, Shiga prefecture.

Since Benzaiten is one of the most popular deities in Japan, many temples enshrine Benzaiten. Among the temples, Hogonji Temple located in Chikubu Island is the center because it is said that Chikubu Island is the place where Benzaiten descend to first in Japan.

Benzaiten is a deification of the river. Thus, a hall where Benzaiten is enshrined is usually located by a pond. For example, Hogonji is located in Lake Biwa. You have to ride a ferry to go to Hogonji.

I visited Benten-do on May 8. Benten-do is near Kiyomizu Kannon-do. Benzaiten is called Benten shortly. In the Edo period, Benten-do was located in Shinobazuno Pond, and people rode a boat to go there. But, the way is built to landfill a part of the pond. That is, You can walk there today.

When I visited there, I watched a sign at the place for burning an incense stick.The sign says "This INCENSE STICK is for Cleaning your body and Cleaning your spirit".

May 10, 2011

Kiyomizu kannon-do in Ueno Park

Ueno Park is the first modern park in Japan. In the Edo period, however, there was a temple called  Kaneiji Temple. Kaneiji Temple had strong connection with Tokugawa Shogunate. Thus, the Meiji government got away most of the lands from Kaneiji Temple, and built a park.

As I wrote above, most of the lands were got away, but, some temples are still located within Ueno Park. One of the temples is Kiyomizu Kannon-do.

At the beginning of the Edo period, the center of culture and economy was the Kansai area. People lived in Edo admired the Kannon area. Thus, new temples modeled on famous temples in the Kansai area were built in Edo. Kiyomizu Kannon-do was modeled on Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto.

I visited Kiyomizu kannon-do on May 8. In the Edo period, people enjoyed the view from the temple. But, the current view is not as good as the one in the Edo period.

May 8, 2011

Kannon face turned to the east after the earthquake

There is a temple called oo-kannon-ji in Tokyo. Oo-kannon-ji can be translated as Great Kannon Temple in English. As the name suggests, the great statue of Kannon face is enshrined. The height is 170 cm, the width is 54 cm. It is made of iron. Thus, it is too heavy to move it.

After the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, the Kannon face turned to the east. There are several Buddha statues in the temple, but, only the statue of the Kannon face turned. This is very mysterious.

I visited oo-kannon-ji today. It is located near the Ningyo-cho station in Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line. I have visited the temple several times before. I strongly remember that the Kannon faces to the front. Today, however, it does not face to the front. I wonder why the Kannon face turned to the east. Kannon may want to tell us something.

May 7, 2011

Golden Temple opposes Kyoto Marathon route plan

I read an interesting article "Golden Temple opposes Kyoto Marathon route plan" though it is a little old news (issued on March 10). It is written in Japanese, so I try to write it in English.

Kyoto city has a plan to hold the 1st Kyoto Marathon on the second Sunday in March 2012. The city anticipates 15,000 runners will take part in the Kyoto Marathon.

There are many beautiful temples along the route. It is one of the most attractive point for runners to run seeing these temples.

While runners are running, the route have to be blockaded. For example, the road in front of Golden Temple is blockaded from 9 am to noon. Unfortunately, there are no alternative routes to Golden Temple. That is, tourists cannot visit Golden Temple while runners are running. In addition, residents around Golden Temple cannot go to other places.

A man from Golden Temple told that we do not oppose the Kyoto Marathon. For example, think foreign tourists for whom visiting Kyoto is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We ask Kyoto city to change the route.

On the other hand, Kyoto city told that changing the route is difficult. We are considering an idea that tourists can visit Golden Temple during the Marathon.

The article was finished by the following sentence; "The route will be determined in April". However, the route has not been determined yet.

May 3, 2011

Azalea at temple

Today, I visited Togakuin Temple in Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa prefecture. The temple is famous for azalea.

When I went there, many people were taking a picture. I took a digital camera from my bag, and pressed the power button. But, it was not powered on. Unfortunately, the battery was dead.

I used my smart phone (Android) to take a picture. Thus, the quality of pictures may be lower. In addition, the weather was not good today. But, azalea was really beautiful.