NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/1/28


揖宿神社 Ibusuki-jinja Ibusuki Shrine

Jp En

Ibusuki Shrine is located in Higashikata, Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. The enshrined deity is OOhirumemuchi-no-mikoto.
According to the shrine’s record, the shrine’s history dates back to 706 when a shrine was built to honor the visit of Emperor Tenchi and was named Katsuragi Palace.
In 874, due to the great eruption of Mt. Kaimondake, the spirit of the shrine was transferred to Hirasaki Shrine and was renamed Montake-shinguu or Montake New Palace. It was after the Meiji Restoration that the palace received its current name, Ibusuki Shrine.
The shrine has been worshiped as the general shrine deity of Yabusuki area, primary deity of local reclamation and guardian deity of sailing and business prosperity.
The main building seen today was built by Shimazu Narioki in 1847.
In the precinct stand eight gigantic camphor trees which are estimated to be over 700 years old. The whole area is known as Ibusuki’ god forest and designated as a natural monument by Kagoshima Prefecture.
Ibusuki Shrine is the historical shrine that had been deeply venerated by the successive heads of the Satsuma Clan.
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2007/11/12


鬼室神社 Kishitsu-jinja Kishitsu Shrine

Jp En

Kishitsu Shrine in Hino Town in Shiga Prefecture is an old shrine enshrining Gwisil Jipsa (Japanese: Kishitsu Shushi), an exiled nobleman from Paekche.

Gwisil Jipsa was the son of Gwisil Boksin (Japanese: Kishitsu Fukushin), a general of Paekche. When Paekche fell in 660, his father tried to save the nation by raising an army, but the restoration movement was besieged by the Silla-Tang allied forces. Gwisil Jipsa migrated to Japan with 700 men and women and settled in Hino Town. It is said that he was a person of culture.

Being called Fudo-do, the shrine had functioned and had been worshipped as the shrine guarding the west direction of the village until the Edo period (1603-1868). The festivals and rituals of the shrine had been performed by Muroto-kabu, the Miyaza (a specially empowered village guild concerning with shrine festivities) of the village.

In 1429, the shrine pavillion was constructed and it was named Kishitsu Shrine in honor of Gwisil Jipsa, for it is thought that Jipsa was buried in the stone chamber in back of the main hall of the shrine.
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2007/10/2


行基 Gyouki Gyoki

Jp En

Gyoki was a Japanese Buddhism priest of Nara period. He was a charismatic monk of the ancient Japanese Buddhism. He was called by the honorific title of Gyoki Bosatsu (Bodhisattva Gyoki).

Gyoki was born in Kawachi province (present-day Osaka Prefecture) in 668. He studied Buddhism under the priest Dosho of hokoji Temple in Asuka, and took Buddhist vows at the age of 15. He also studied civil engineering under Dosho. Advocating hat Buddhism should be independent of the regal power, he propagated Buddhism for salvation of the suffering people. He also contributed to social welfare like building temples, roads, bridges, irrigation reservoirs. The Imperia court was afraid of his overwhelming influence on common people and clamped down on his activities blaming that he had violated the law to regulate priests and nuns.

However, when Emperor Shomu asked Gyoki to help raise funds to build Daibutsu (a great Buddha statue) in Nara, Gyoki accepted the emperor’s request, and immediately began fund-raising campaigns. He was recognized by the Imperia court and was given a rank of Daisojo (the Great Priest). At the age of 80, he had passed away at Sugawaradera Temple in Nara in 749 just before the consecrating ceremony for the statue took place.

The legends about Gyoki Bosatsu are referred to in many books such as “the Nihon Ryoiki,” “the Honcho Hokke Kenki” and “the Nihon Ojo Gokurakuki.” It is said that he might have drawn the oldest Japanese map, “Gyoki-zu.”
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2007/8/16


上野三碑 Kouzuke-sanpi Kozuke Sanpi

Jp En

Kozuke Sanpi is the generic name of the three stone monuments erected in the areas around Takasaki City in the ancient times. Yamanoue-hi and Kanaizawa-no-hi are in Yamana-machi in Takasaki City and Tago-no-hi is in Yoshii-machi in Tano-gun. They are nationally designated as Special Historic Sites.

Yamanoue-hi Monument is considered to have been erected in 681 and to be the epitaph of Yamanoue Kofun located next to the monument. It is Japan’s oldest epitaph.

Kanaizawa-no-hi Monument was erected in 726. It is written in the clerical script and reads that some descendants of the management officer of the Imperial agricultural land in Takada in Kozuke province (present-day Gunma Prefecture) formed a Buddhist group and were praying to Buddha for their parents’ safty and ancestors’ souls.

Tago-no-hi Monument erected in 711 is considered to be one of Japan’s Three Old Monuments. It is thought to be the memorial stone that celebrated the establishment of Tago County, but there are several other opinions about its interpretation. Calling it “Hitsuji-sama,” local people had worshipped it as the tomb of Hitsiji Tayu, a legendary hero of the county.

Kozuke Sanpi monuments are precious historic sites, by which the political situations of the time can be inferred.
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2007/2/27


飛鳥寺 Asuka-dera Asukadera Temple

Jp En

Asukadera located in Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Pref. is a historic temple belonging to Buzan School of Shingon Sect. To be accurate, its name “Asukadera” is the old name and its present formal name is “Angoin Temple.” Its Sango (the mountain name of a temple) is Torigata-yama. This is the oldest temple in Japan, which was established by Soga no Umako in 596 and had flourished until the Middle Ages. The temple was moved to Nara, following the capital relocation and changed its name to “Gankoji Temple.” However, the original temple remained in Asuka and was called “ex-Gankoji Temple.” Asukadera Temple was once destroyed by fire in 1196 but restored in the Edo period and has existed hitherto. The main object of worship is the bronze image of Shaka Nyorai (popularly called Asuka Daibutsu) cast by the master Buddhist sculptor, Kuratsukuri no Tori, in 606. It is the oldest extant image of Buddha in Japan. This is the place where Prince Nakano Oe and Nakatomi no Kamatari first encountered.
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2007/2/15


転法輪寺 Tenpourin-ji Tenporin Temple

Jp En

Tenporin Temple belongs to the Shingonshu Daigo Buddhist sect, and is located on the summit of Mt Kongo, the tallest mountain in the Kongo-Ikoma range in Nara Prefecture. The index of the temple's name is Mt Kongo. It was also once called the Ichijo Tenporin Temple.

This temple is a holy place for the mountain religion, and is also a training ground of Shugen for both the Tendai and Shingon sects.

Tenporin Temple was built in 666 by Enno-Gyoja (a Japanese ascetic and mystic) in order to deify Hoki Bosatsu. The Katsuragi Shrine was built to deify Hitokotonushinogami, which resulted in a sacred mountain where Shintoism and Buddhism mixed.

The mountain, which was once called Mt Katsuragi or Mt Takama in ancient times, changed its name to Mt Kongo by taking the index name of the Tenporin Temple.

Among the hills around the temple are many megaliths and ancient trees, such as fukuishi, kongogo and the meoto-sugi cedar. At the summit of Mt Kongo is an observatory, which faces Sennan. On clear days, there is a distant view of Kansai International Airport and Awaji Island.
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2007/2/14


弘川寺 Hirokawa-dera Hirokawa Temple

Jp En

Hirokawa Temple belongs to the Shingon Daigo school of Buddhism, and is located in Minami Kawauchi-gun in Osaka. The hill on which it is built is called Mt Ryuuchi.

Hirokawa Temple is a supplication temple for the Tenmu, Saga and Gotoba emperors. Ennogyoja established it in 666. Gyogi trained as a priest here in 737 and Kukai inherited the temple and reformed it in 812. In 1463, it burned down, but Jiun reformed it in 1732 and added the Saigyo building. The shape it has today is unchanged since then.

Hirokawa Temple is famous as a place where Saigyo stayed and established a hermitage. Within the temple precinct is a memorial museum to Saigyo and Jiun. The temple also features the Nishi Kodo building and is popular for cherry-blossom viewing in spring when over 1500 flowers bloom. Furthermore, one of the cherry trees is 300 years old.
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2007/2/1


吉田寺 Kichiden-ji Kichidenji Temple

Jp En

Kichidenji Temple is located in the north of the village of Koyoshida near Ikaruga Town in Nara Prefecture. The temple is commonly referred to as Pokkuri Temple.

The Tenji Emperor ordered a grave to be built at this site for his sister, Hashihito-no-himemiko, and in the first year of the Eien period (987), Genshin built a temple here.

The name 'Pokkuri' ('drop dead') derives from the story that Genshin prayed to keep off evil spirits as his mother lay dying, so she could die without pain.

You should not miss the statue of seated Amida in one of the main buildings. It is about 4.85m tall and is the biggest wooden statue in Nara as well as a National Important Cultural Asset. It is said that if you pray in front of this statue, you will live longer.

The rare Taho pagoda, also in Nara, was built in the fourth year of the Kansei period (1463), and has been designated as an Important Cultural Asset.
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