NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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大野寺 Oono-dera Ono Temple

Jp En

Ono Temple belongs to the Muroji Shingon Sect of Buddhism  and is located in Muro-ku, Uda, in Nara Prefecture. The temple's sango title is Mt Yoryu.

Ono Temple is a branch temple of Muro Temple and, because of its location west of this, it was also called the 'West Gate of Muro Temple'. The temple was built by Enno Gyoja in 681. In 824, Kukai built a saya and named it Jisonin Miroku Temple, but it came to be called Ono Temple after its location.

The Miroku Gesho Senkoku Daimagaibutsu, seen carved on the Byobugaura on the opposite shore by the Uda River, was carved in 1207 by a mason named Inoyukisue from Song Dynasty China; it is the largest Senkoku Daimagaibutsu in Japan.

Trees within the precinct of the temple include the large 'benishidare' (a type of cherry) growing here in rows, as well as the 300-year-old giant 'koitoedatare' (another type of cherry), which  blossoms beautifully in the spring.
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大分 五百羅漢 Ooita Gohyaku-rakan The 500 Rakan of Oita

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Gyoku-ho-dorin, the 15th resident priest of Toko Temple (which has a history of 612 years), asked Yoshino Kakunojo, a Hide stone craftsman, to sculpt 521 statues of rakan. Starting from 1863, it took him 19 years to complete.

The sculpting of the rakan was to gain merit for the local people. Usually rakan do not appear to have human face, but these statues are carved to represent four different emotions, which make them peculiar. Also at this site behind the main building is a bussokuseki (a carved stone foot) called 16 Rakan. It is modeled on a similar one at Todaiji Temple in Nara. The size of this rare bussokuseki is about 48.5cm.

The rakan temple, standing in the harsh rocky mountains, was established in 645 by an Indian monk. Many visitors come here to pray for safety and good work.

Within the cave are over 3777 statues, of which the 500 rakan in the Murodo are the most famous. Standing in the entrance is a statue of the Zenkai monk, which contains his relics.
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吉田寺 Kichiden-ji Kichidenji Temple

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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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大安寺 Daian-ji Daianji Temple

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Daianji is a temple of the Shingon sect. It is situated on Mt Koya, Nara Prefecture, and is one of the Nanto seven temples.

The origin of Daianji is said to be Kumagori Temple, which Shotoku Taishi built in Nara. After that, the temple was moved and renamed many times. It has been known as Kudara-o-ji temple, Takaichi-o-ji temple and Daikan-o-ji temple.

When the capital was relocated to Heijo-kyo, the temple settled in its present place.

In the Nara period, the temple was the most prosperous of its day; many important figures in Buddhist history trained here, such as: Yoei, who guided Ganjin in Japan; Gyohyo, an instructor of Saicho; and Gonso, an instructor of Kukai.

Now, there are nine Buddha statues of the Tenpyo, Nara period such as a main statue, a wooden 11-faced Kannon statue, a wooden 1000-hand Kannon statue and a wooden Fuku-kenjaku Kannon statue. All the statues have been designated as Important Cultural Assets.
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大迫磨崖仏 Osako-magaibutsu Giant Buddha Rock Carving

Jp En

In Chitose, Bungo-ono, Oita Prefecture, there is an impressive sculpture of the Dainichi-Nyorai Buddha (Vairocana: the embodiment of Dharmakaya) carved from rock. It is said to have been made by Nichira in 1533.

The rock sculpture is about 3.2m high and was made using a technique called 'sekishin-sozo' in which the body is carved from stone; the face, arms and legs are made of clay; and the robe is made of plaster.

More than half of the face of the sculpture, which has an intimidating and forceful expression, is covered with dirt and clay which, along with its monstrous torso, creates a distinct and extraordinary atmosphere. The sculpture draws visitors into a compelling and profound world.

Since ancient times, locals profess that the sculpture is an 'ushigami', whose reputed power to work wonders and answer prayers attracts visitors and worshippers.

Festivals take place here twice a year on 28 January and 27 August. In 1976, the sculpture was designated as an Important Cultural Property of Oita.
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犬飼石仏 Inukai-sekibutsu Inukai Giant Buddha Rock Carving

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There is a giant Buddha rock carving in Tonase, Bungo-ono, Oita Prefecture. Although it is considered to have been created by Nichira, certain characteristics and features of the statue are similar to those even before the Kamakura period, and probably date it to the Heian period.

In the center of the shrine is a Fudo Myo-o (principal deity of the great kings), which is about 3.7m high and carved in the full-lotus meditation position. Fudo Myo-o is flanked on the right by a chief attendant, Seitaka Doji (1.73m high), and on the left by the second chief attendant, Kongara Doji (1.7m high). There are subtle traces of red paint on the face of the Fudo Myo-o, and the figure is rare in that it shows both soles of his feet while seated.

This statuary was designated as a national historic relic in 1934. The three major 'Shubun' of the 'Ryudenzan', along with the eight initial letters of the 'Namu-daishi-henjo kongo', are carved into the upper quay of the stone Buddha as a memorial to the earnest beliefs of the Daishi (Great Master).
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高塚愛宕地蔵尊 Takatsuka-atago-jizouson The Takatsuka Atago Jizo Statue

Jp En

The Takatsuka Atago Jizo statue is located in Amagase-cho, Hita in Oita Prefecture, and is a rare example of a statue merging Buddhist and Shinto elements. It is also in unusually good condition despite its age.

The existence of this statue is clearly mentioned in the 'Takatsuki-engi', which records that, in the 12th year of the Tenpei era of the Nara period (740), on his way home from Chikugo, Gyoki-bosatsu stopped in Takamatsu to pray under a ginkgo tree for the nation's peace and prosperity. Here he received an oracle and, in gratitude, carved a Jizo image and had a structure built to enshrine it.

The Takatsuka Atago Jizo statue is reputed to grant any kind of wish, and the 2.3 million people who visit every year ensure that the temple and its precincts are always bustling. The approach to the shrine is always lined with shops selling local goods such as royal fern, bracken, shiitake mushrooms, chestnuts, and many more goods, adding to the bustle. The Takatsuka Atago Jizo statue is regarded with great fondness by all the locals.
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羅漢淵 Rakan-buti Rakan-buchi Ravine

Jp En

Rakan-buchi Ravine is located in Amagasemachi, Hita, Oita Prefecture. It is between JR Sugikawachi and Amagase stations, and is on the northern side of the Kusu River with a cliff rising 30m on one bank.

National Route 210 snakes alongside the Kusu River, and on rainy days the water runoff from the rocky cliff forms many miniature waterfalls. Gazing at the surrounding view of nature while relaxing in the Yunozuri Hot Springs nearby is another way of enjoying the ravine.

Also near the ravine is a cave where, according to legend, a defeated Heike soldier fleeing from the enemy took refuge and carved a rakan statue for salvation. The statue can still be seen inside the cave.

The rustic view of rocky cliffs surrounded by nature is a pleasurable sight to the observer. And Rakan-buchi is a place where one can taste the true charm of nature.
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