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興福寺 大湯屋 Koufuku-ji Ooyuya Kofuku-ji Temple, Ooyu-ya Bathhouse

Jp En

The Kofuku-ji Temple, located in Nobori Ooji-cho, Nara City, Nara Prefecture, is a head temple of  the Hosso-shu Buddhism sect and it was a private temple of the Fujiwara Clan. The principal image of the Buddha is Shakanyorai. The temple is  9th in sequence of the 33-temple  Kannon pilgrimage and 4th of the 49-temple Yakushi Pilgrimage in Western Japan.
Koufuku-ji Temple was originally built in 669 by the wife of Fujiwara Kamatari under the name of Yamanashi-dera in Yamashina-ku, Kyoto City. It was transferred by Fujiwarano Fuhito to its present location and renamed  Koufuku-ji.
Ooyu-ya is a medieval style bathhouse standing in the east of the Gojyuuno-to, or Five-story Pagoda. It is not known in which year the bathhouse was built, however, the current building was reportedly restored in 1426. It is now designated as a national important cultural property.  
The bathhouse is 7 meters wide north to south  and 7 meters wide east to west with a Hongawara tile roof. The west side of the bathhouse has the Irimoya roof style and the east side has the Kirimoya roof style.  Inside the bathhouse are two gigantic iron pots  that are  used to make steam for a steam bath.
After the Middle Ages, the bathhouse was also used as a meeting place for public uprisings.
  The bathhouse is tremendously valuable as an example of bathhouse architecture from the Middle Ages.
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大笹原神社 Oosasahara-jinja Osasahara Shrine

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Osasahara Shrine is a very old shrine founded in 986. As the place where the god of water resides, it is visited by a lot of worshippers. Susanoo no Mikoto, Kushinada-hime and other 3 deities are enshrined.

Assembling the cream of the gorgeous Higashiyama Culture, Honden (the main hall) was constructed in 1414 during the Muromachi period. Though small in size, elaborate decoration is given to every detailed part of this Irimoya-zukuri building. The transom and doors are also beautiful. It was designated as a National Treasure in 1961.

To the right of the main hall is a bottomless swamp named Yorube-no-ike. It is said that the swamp has been filled with affluent water even though there is a long spell of dry weather since two mikoshi (portable shrines) were sunk into the swamp in hope for rain.

As this area has produced high quality glutinous rice and it is said to be the birthplace of Kagami-mochi, Kagami-no-miya Shrine enshrining the original of Kagami-mochi is located in the shrine precinct.
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八王子 真覚寺 Hachiouji Shinkaku-ji Shinkakuji Temple in Hachioji

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Shinkakuji Temple located in Sanda-machi, Hachioji City, Tokyo is a temple of the Chizan school of the Shingon sect. The main object of worship is Fudo Myoo. The temple is the 71st fudasho-temple of the Tama Shin-Shikoku 88 Holy Sites. The temple was founded in 1411. The temple treasure of the sitting statue of Yakushi Nyorai is designated as a Cultural Property of the city. The bell and bell tower are said to have been dedicated by Hachioji Sennin Doshin (junior officials) in 1660.

Shinkakuji Temple is famous for azalea and “Kawazu Gassen (the Frog Concert).” In the precinct is a pond called Shinji-ike in the shape of the Chinese character for “heart,” around which grow a lot of azalea and they are in full bloom in the middle of June. From the middle to the end of March, a lot of toads move to this pond for laying eggs. Though the toads decreased in number today, there used to be tens of thousands of toads got together here, which was called “Frog Concert” by the local people.
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功雲寺 Kouun-ji Kounji Temple

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Kounji Temple located in Tsukui-cho, Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture, is a temple of the Soto sect. In 1408, a small hermitage named “Koun-an” was founded in a village of Oi (present-day Tsukui-cho Oi) behind Tsukui Castle (present-day Tsukuiko-Shiroyama Prefectural Park). Later in the Warring States period (1493-1573), Naito Kagesada, the castellan of Tsukui Castle, relocated it to the present place and built the temple. In the Edo period (1603-1868), Kounji Temple was a sub-branch temple of Soneiji Temple, which was appointed as the registrar (Kanto Sorokushi) and the head of the three head administrative temples (Kan-Sansatsu) of the Soto sect in the Kanto region. The temple was so flourished as to be feoffed with the land of 50 koku of rice and the Main Hall, Kaizando Hall, Hakusando Hall and the bell tower stood in the large precinct.

In back of the Main Hall are Muhoto pagodas (priests’ tombs) with Hokyointo (three-tiered stupa pagoda) in the center, which is supposed to be the tomb of Kagesada and his wife. The pagodas are surrounded with the toms of the family of Moriya Sadaiyu, the local governor, Baba Sado, the castle substitute, and Shimazaki Norinao, a former retainer and Sodai-Nanushi (the officer delegating nearby villages) of Tsukui area. Kagesada’s tomb is designated as a Cultural Property of the town.
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群馬 茂林寺 Gunma Morin-ji Morinji Temple

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Morinji, a temple of the Soto sect, is in Horiku-cho, Tatebayashi City, Gunma Prefecture. The principal object of worship is Shakamuni Buddha. It was founded in 1426 by a Zen monk, Dairin Shoutsu. The temple is famous as the setting of the nursery tale “Bunbuku Chagama,” in which a Japanese raccoon dog changes itself into a chagama (tea kettle) and repays the priest for his kindness. The Bunbuku Chagama and old documents concerning the story are treasured at the temple. Visitors will be welcomed by many pottery statues of raccoon dog with humorous expressions on their faces, which create an amusing ambience.

Since 2002, “the Raccoon Dog and Cherry Blossom Festival” is held in April. A lot of visitors come to enjoy listening to the tune of “Bunbuku Chagama” played on the Satsuma-biwa (Japanese lute in the Satsuma style) and the story read by Kodan storyteller as well as seeing traditional dances. The first 100 visitors can be treated with mochi (rice cake).
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瑞雲山大寧寺 Zuiunzan-taineiji Zuiunzan Taineiji Temple

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Zuiunzan Taineiji Temple in Fukagawa Yumoto, Nagato City, Yamaguchi Prefecture is a Soto Zen temple, which is popularly called “Mt. Koya in the West.” It was constructed in 1410 by the Washizu clan, a branch family of the Ouchi clan, the governor of Suo and Nagato provinces (present-day Yamaguchi Prefecture). The temple thrived as the western academic center of the sect.

The temple buildings were destroyed by fire in 1551, when a high rank retainer of the Ouchi family, Sue Harukata, rebelled against his master, and the 31st lord Ouchi Yoshitaka committed suicide at this temple. The present building was reconstructed by Mori Motonari.

The Banjaku-kyo Bridge in the precinct is called one of the three distinctive bridges in the prefecture. It’s a beautiful bridge made of two huge flat stones supported by the combination of large and small stones. The temple is a famous viewing spot of cherry blossoms in spring and crimson foliage in fall. In November, when the leaves are lit up at night, a lot of visitors come to enjoy the fantastic scenery.
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方広寺 七尊菩薩堂 Houkouji Shichison-bosatsu-dou Shichison Bosatsudo Hall at Hokoji Temple

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Hokoji Temple located in Inasa-cho, Kita-ku, Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Pref. is Daihonzan (one of the major head temples) of Hokoji School of Rinzai Sect. The worshipped are the three statues of Buddha; the principal image of the statue of Shaka Nyorai and the statues of subordinating Monju Bosatsu and Fugen Bosatsu. In 1371 the Ii clan established the temple and invited the Zen monk, Mumon Gensen, a son of Emperor Go-daigo, as the first resident priest.
Shichison Bosatsudo Hall built in 1401 is said to be the oldest wooden structure in the prefecture. It houses the seven deities of Fuji Sengen Daibosatsu, Kasuga Daimyojin, Ise Daijungu, Inari Daimyojin, Hachiman Daibosatsu, Umemiya Daimyojin and Kitano Tenman Daijizai Tenjin. The hall, 0.9 m wide and 1.5 m deep, is built in Ikkensha-Nagarezukuri style (one-bay wide flowing style) with a Kokera-buki (thin wooden shingles) roof. It is a fine building that represents the architectural style of the 14th century.
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二本松城 Nihonmatsu-jyo Nihonmatsu Castle

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Nihonmatsu Castle is located in Kakunai, Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, and is counted as one of Japan's 100 best castles.

Construction of the castle was begun in the 21st year of the Ouei era (1414) by Mitsuyasu Hatayama (Nihonmatsu). Upon entering the Warring States period, the Nihonmatsu clan fought bitterly with Masamune Date. Masamune was outraged when the Nihonmatsu clan kidnapped his father after pretending to surrender. In revenge, Masamune annihilated the Nihonmatsu clan in the 4th year of the Tensho era. Since then, the rulers of Nihonmatsu Castle have changed numerous times over many generations.

Mitsushige Niwa greatly refurbished the castle in the 20th year of the Kannei era (1643), and resided there until the Meiji Restoration. During the Boshin Wars, Nihonmatsu Castle sided with the government, but was overrun in the 5th year of the Meiji period (1872) and eventually abandoned.

The castle grounds are currently the site of Kasumi-ga-jou Park, and the stone walls and structures remain. A Kansekimeihi monument stands at the entrance. The Nihonmatsu Castle was designated as a National Monument in 1935.
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