NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/2/1


法起寺(世界遺産) Houki-ji Hokiji Temple

Jp En

Hokiji is a temple of the Shotoku sect and is located in Ikaruga Town, Ikoma County, Nara Prefecture. It is a world heritage site.

There are several old temples related to Prince Shotoku such as Horyuji, Horinji and Chuguji in Ikaruga. This place is a traditional Buddhist place.

The site of Hokiji was originally the Okamoto-no-miya palace, where Prince Shotoku lectured on the Lotus Sutra. In the 10th year of the Jomei period (638), Prince Shotoku's son, Yamashiro-no-oeno, changed Okamoto into a temple according to Shotoku's will.

The remains of a golden building and a tower have been found here. An additional fact is that the three-storeyed pagoda is the only remaining original building and is the oldest of its kind in Japan.
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2007/1/25


西大寺観音院 Saidai-ji-kannon-in Saidaiji Temple and Kannon'in Temple

Jp En

Saidaiji Temple and Kannon'in Temple are located to the north of Eian Bridge, which spans the Yoshii River. This river flows through eastern Okayama prefecture.

The principal image of Saidaiji is of the Senju Kannon or Thousand-armed Avalokiteśvara, and the temple flourished as a branch of Mt Koya's Shingon Buddhism. Saidaiji was established about 1200 years ago. Anryu-shonin founded it in 770~781, but it was renamed as Saidaiji in 1221. According to the temple's history, there were several halls (including Hondo, Jyugyodo, Miedo, Shodo, Kyozo and Kairou) before it was destroyed in a fire in 1229. We know from this that it was a huge temple.

Other than the temple itself, it is famous for a hadaka matsuri ('naked festival') that takes place annually on the 3rd Saturday in February. During the event, nearly naked men undergo a water ritual called 'mizugori' then fight for two wooden sticks called 'shingi'. It is counted as one of Japan's three major eccentric festivals.
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2007/1/8


雲辺寺 Unpenji Unpenji Temple

Jp En

Unpenji Temple belongs to the Omuro school of the Shingon Buddhist sect. It is located in Ikeda-cho, Miyoshi, Tokuyama Prefecture, and is the 66th temple out of 88 on the Shikoku Pilgrimage. The principal image (gohonzon) of the temple is of the bodhisattva Senju Kannon (Sahasrabhuja).

The temple is on Mt Unpenji (927m high) and is also known as Shikoku-Kouya. The temple site covers a 40ha2 area and is surrounded by ancient cedar, cypress, fir and hemlock trees.

Unpenji was founded by the then 16-year-old monk Kukai (Kobo Daishi), who was moved by the aura of the mountains here. In the year 807, Kukai received an order from the Emperor Saga and climbed up the mountain to the temple again. There, he sculpted the Senju Kannon figure and enshrined it with Buddhist relics and gems. The area thus became a place of pilgrimage. 
  
Later, the temple became famous as an academic institution, then as a monastery, and finally as a prayer hall for the Minesuga clan. The temple declined, however, over the years, and is now much smaller. The temple lies in a world above clouds. Mists cover the surrounding mountains and create a mysterious atmosphere for this pilgrimage site.
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薬王寺 Yakuouji Yakuoji Temple

Jp En

Yakuoji Temple is situated on Mt Iozan, and belongs to the Koya school of the Shingon sect. It is located at Hiwasa-cho, Kaifu-gun, Tokushima Prefecture. The temple is dedicated to the Medicine King Yakushi Nyorai (Bhaisajyaguru in Sanskrit).

The monk Gyoki, at the request of the Emperor Shomu, erected Yakuoji in 726 (Jinki 3). The temple was opened in 815 (Kounin 6), when Kobo Daishi carved the image of Yakushi Nyorai by order of the retired Emperor Heijo.

It is the 23rd temple on the Shikoku pilgrimage, and is also known as the temple for expelling evil. The temple’s formal name is Jigou Muryo-Jiin Iozan. This title indicates Buddhist concepts of infinite life and refers to the Medicine King, or the Medicine Buddha.

Yakuoji is regarded as the main temple of the Kouya school of the Shingon sect. Here, the emperors Saga and Junwa prayed to expel evil, while in the second year of the Karoku period, the retired Emperor Tsuchimikado stayed here. The Emperor Gosaga rebuilt the temple in the first year of the Kangen period and the prince Jinsuke had preached at the rebuilding ceremony of the temple.
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