2017年12月05日

'Hieizan Enryakuji' Buddhist temple in Shiga Prefecture used to be a pillar of Japanese Buddhism together with 'Koyasan Kongobuji' Buddhist temple in Wakayama Prefecture.

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The precincts of this temple spreads all over 'Hieizan' mountain, 848 meters high above sea level, standing northwest of Kyoto. Being built by a famous priest 'Saicho', who was a founder of the 'Tendai Sect' Buddhism, late in the 8th century, this temple was made up of more than 3,000 buildings in the golden age. As a central educational institution of Japanese Buddhism from the 10th to 13th century, many brilliant Buddhist monks studied here. 'Honen' the founder of the 'Jodo Sect', 'Eisai' the 'Rinzai Sect', 'Dogen' the 'Soto Sect', 'Shinran' the 'Jodo-Shin Sect', 'Nichiren' the 'Nichiren Sect' and other giants trained themselves in Buddhist ascetic practices. All these sects have been deeply rooted in Japanese Buddhism now. On the other hand, this great temple also has a history as an armed temple. As the strongest religious power with thousands of monk soldiers, this had fought against the political powers for some hundreds of years. This was like an independent state within Japan.
However, this temple was beaten in a battle against a samurai government late in the 16th century. Most buildings were destroyed during this battle. The majority of the present buildings were reconstructed in the 16th-17th century. The picture shows 'Monjuro' gate of 'Konpon Chudo' main hall. This gate was reconstructed late in the 17th century.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 09:41 | Kyoto | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2017年09月18日

A national treasure building 'Hikone Castle' is an excellent castle together with Himeji Castle.

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Hikone Castle had been resided by the Ii family which produced five chief ministers of the Tokugawa feudal government. The Ii family, a daimyo (feudal lord) in hereditary vassalage to the Tokugawas, had successively ruled this domain for 14 generations from the beginning of the 17th century to the middle of the 19th century. Most daimyos were frequently ordered to change their domain by the central government controlled by Tokugawa shogun, the purpose of which was to lessen the accumulation of wealth from their domain. However the Ii family was one of the rare families which had never experienced the forced relocation as it was enough trusted. Hikone Castle standing on the top of the hill on the east coast of Lake Biwa, Japan's largest lake, the castle tower and three annexed buildings of which are designated as national treasures, and five other buildings are important cultural assets. This castle was designed as a real fortress, thus many elaborate devices, such as hidden loopholes, are found here and there. The picture shows a distant view of the castle tower from 'Genkyu-en' Japanese garden, which was built in 1678.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 13:01 | Kyoto | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2017年01月07日

'Kuramadera' Buddhist temple, known as the place of ascetic practices by 'Ushiwakamaru', the childhood name of 'Minamoto-no-Yoshitsune' a 'samurai' hero in the 12th century, is a base of mountain religion on the teaching of esoteric Buddhism.

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The origin of Kuramadera temple, standing along the south-facing steep slope of Mt.Kurama in the north of Kyoto, dates back to the 8th century. 'Makura-no-soshi' essay, written by a well-known woman essayist 'Seisho Nagon' in the 10th century, described the meandering steep approach way of this temple as an example of 'close yet far'. In a large fire in the 12th century and the repeated fires thereafter, most buildings were gone, however they were rebuilt each time. On the other hand, many precious Buddhist images as well as the historical materials designated as a national treasure or important cultural asset have survived these disasters. 'Niomon' main gate in the picture was rebuilt in 1911, from here a cable car is running up halfway to the main building of this temple.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 10:57 | Kyoto | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする