2010年08月07日

Tsurugaoka-hachimangu' Shinto shrine and its 'Koma-inu' a pair of guardian dogs in Kamakura.

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'Tsurugaoka-hachimangu' dates back to the middle of the 11th century when it was built in other place in Kamakura as a branch shrine of 'Iwashimizu-hachimangu' shrine in Kyoto. After that, 'Minamoto-no-yoritomo' Japan's first 'shogun' generalissimo relocated it on the present site. Through the Kamakura period, this shrine had been worshiped as a god for the fortune of war by many warrior families from 'Minamoto'clan down. Since the 'Kamakura-bakufu' went into ruin, it had been in its twilight, however it regained the former glory thanks to the 'Tokugawa' family Japan's strongest shogun in the 17th century. A pair of the guardian dogs in the picture below called 'Koma-inu' literally Korean dogs is said to have a magical power to expel the evil spirit. It seems that when these lion statues were introduced from Korea in the 6th century, Japanese people had never seen lions, so they thought they were a new kind of dogs living in Korea. This is why the statues are now called Korean dogs even if they are lions.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

通訳案内士 高木聖久。

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posted by masahisa at 17:03 | Kamakura | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2010年08月03日

'Kencho-ji' temple in Kamakura is the first temple of 'Zen' buddhism in Japan, created in the middle of the 13th century.

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'Kencho-ji' built in honor of 'Rankei Doryu' a high-ranking priest in China is an old temple of 'Rinzai' sect, the first place in the five greatest temples in Kamakura. Like in the picture above, the major buildings of this institution such as a 'San-mon' temple gate and 'Butsu-den' Buddha hall are standing in a straight line. This is a typical arrangement of the 'Zen' style imported from 'Song' dynasty in China in the 12th century. Although most of the present structures were reconstructed or relocated during the Edo period in the 17th and 18th century, the ancient temple bell in the picture below is from the original time, therefore on the list of national trasures. The 'Hojo' family, said to be the first to establish 'samurai' government in Kamakura seems to oppose Kyoto's graceful culture fostered by the nobility by constructing the simple and fortitude temple. Japan's specific cultures such as the tea ceremony, Indian ink painting and dry landscape garden were originated here and compleated at many 'Zen' temples in Kyoto in the Muromachi period in the 15th century.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 12:02 | Kamakura | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2010年07月24日

The Great Buddha of Kamakura seated in the temple ground of 'Kotoku-in' in Kamakura near Tokyo is a notable example of Japanese huge statue of Buddha together with the Great Buddha of Nara.

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Kamakura City where the first 'Bakufu', the government controlled by 'samurai' warriors, was established boasts this gigantic statue that is the principle deity of 'Kotoku-in' temple. It is thought that the statue was brought to completion in the middle of the 13th century following its counterpart, The Great Buddha of Nara, erected in the 8th century. The stately statue in the picture was originally housed in the hall, however the structure was destroyed twice by the typhoon and tsunami in the 14th century and it has not been rebuilt again since. Once entering the inside of the bronze statue, each joint that was made in the process of being cast part by part in eight moulds is discernible by the horizontal line.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

通訳案内士 高木聖久。

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posted by masahisa at 09:38 | Kamakura | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする