Shiofune Kannon Temple located in Shiofune, Ome City, Tokyo, is a Bekkaku-Honzan (the special headquarters) of the Daigo school of the Shingon sect. The main object of worship is Juichimen Senju Sengan Kanjizai Bosatsu (Bosatsu with 11 faces, 1,000 arms and 1,000 eyes). It is the 72nd of the Kanto 88 Holy Sites.
It is said that the temple was founded during the Taika era (645-650), when Yaobikuni, a legendary character who had eaten the flesh of mermaids to get immortality at age 17 and later became a nun, dropped in at this village and placed the Kannon statue here.
At the annual festival held on May 3 every year, the Saito Goma Fire ritual is performed. Torches are thrown into the huge goma stage set up in the center of the open space in the precinct, where a dozens of yamabushi (mountain practitioners) stand in a circle, chanting Shingon prayers to invite the main object of worship into the fire and pray for attainment of people’s wishes. Then the Hiwatari ritual is performed, in which some of the yamabushi with a sward in their hand run through the burning fire one after another, yelling with vigor. This is a very gallant and solemn religious event.
Tahoto is a two-storied pagoda composed of a square lower story and a cylindrical upper story. This Tahoto pagoda is one of many cultural properties that have been preserved at Ishidoji Temple in Minamiboso City in Chiba Prefecture. The temple is said to have been founded by Priest Gyoki in 726 and to be the oldest temple in the southern part of Boso Peninsula.
It is said that the Tahoto pagoda was constructed in 1545 by Satomi Yoshitaka, the ruler of this province during the Warring States period. It is a 13-meter tall pagoda with Japanese cypress bark roof and elaborate wood carvings. The lower story is supported by four pillars and the altar inside the pagoda houses the statue of Senju Kannon (Kannon with 1,000 arms). The pagoda is a prefecturally designated important cultural property.
Chimanji Temple located in Kawane-Honcho, Haibara-gun, Shizuoka Pref. is a historic temple of the Soto sect Buddhism. The principal object of worship are Hasso Shakamuni Nyorai (the eight aspects of Shakamuni), Hokan Shakamuni Nyorai (crowned Shakamuni), Senju Kanzeon Bosatsu (Kannon with 1,000 arms) and Yakuyoke Enmei Jizo Bosatsu (life prolonging Jizo).
According to the temple record, it originates in a hermitage built by Kochi, a second generation student of Priest Ganjin, in the Nara period (710-794). Some say that it was founded as an attached temple of Chimanji Temple in Shimada City to teach priests of the Tendai sect. After the mid-Heian period, it was flourished as a training ashram for mountain practitioners. In 1491, the temple sect was changed to the Soto sect and a Zen monk Kaifu Keimon of Dokeiin Temple in Suruga province was invited as the first resident priest of the new temple. During the Warring States period (1493-1573), the temple was revered by the Imagawa and Tokugawa clans.
Located in a scenic place with refreshing air, the temple is proud of its fine groves in the precinct including ten cedar trees of 800 to 1,200 years old, which are nationally designated Natural Monuments.
Reizanji Temple located in Shimizu Ouchi, Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Pref. is a temple of the Kogi Shingon (old Shingon) sect. The temple is said to have been established by Priest Gyoki in 749. The main hall houses the principal image, the standing statue of Senju Kannon (Kannon with 1,000 arms), which is said to have been carved by Priest Gyoki. It has been worshipped by people as one of the Seven Kannon in Suruga province (present-day Shizuoka Pref.) and friendlily called “Kannon-san at Ouchi.”
The temple used to be located on the eastern side of the mountain but it was relocated to the present place during the Shogyo era (1332-1334). Going up the winding mountain path called “Thirty-three Curves,” you will get to Nio-mon Gate at the entrance, which is supposed to have been built at the end of the Muromachi period (the 16th century). It is one of the oldest structures in the prefecture and nationally designated as an Important Cultural Property.
The best time to see this temple is early spring, when the mountain path to the temple is lined with cherry trees in full bloom. After visiting Reizanji Temple, it is worth hiking thirty minutes further to Ipponmatsu Park at the summit.
Zuiunzan Honkoji Temple, about ten minutes’ walk from JR Mitsugane Station in Koda Town, Aichi Prefecture, is a temple of the Soto sect. It was founded in 1528 by Matsudaira Tadasada, the founder of the Fukozu Matsudaira clan, which was one of the 14 sub-clans of the Matsudaira clan. The principal object of worship is Shaka Nyorai. The statues of Jizo Bosatsu and Senju Kannon Bosatsu (Kannon with 1,000 arms) attending Shaka Nyorai on both sides are said to have been carved by the 12th-century master sculptor, Unkei.
Going along the front approach and passing by a small old shrine on your right, you will get to the red-painted main gate in the Yakui-mon style. Beyond the main gate lie the mausoleums of the Matsudaira clan on both sides of the path. The main hall is a landscape building. The small bell made of alloyed gold, silver and copper is hung under the eaves of the main hall. It was made under the order of Matsudaira Tadatoshi in the early 17th century.
Known as “the Temple of Hydrangea,” it is famous for hydrangea as well as plum and camellia. In June, the front approach and the precinct are covered with wonderful hydrangea flowers.
Mizusawadera, or popularly called Mizusawa Kannon (Mizusawa, Ikaho-machi, Shibukawa City, Gunma Prefecture) is a historic temple of the Tendai sect. It is the 16th temple of Bando Pilgrimage to the 33 Holy Places of Kannon. The principal object of worship is Juichimen Senju Kannon Bosatsu (Kannon with 11 faces and 1,000 arms).
It is said that the temple was founded about 1,300 years ago by Priest Ekan from Goguryeo under the order of Empress Suiko and Emperor Jito and built by Takamitsu Chujo, the provincial governor. According to the temple record, it used to be a magnificent temple enshrining as many as 1,200 images of Buddha housed in more than 33 temple halls including the halls of Kon-do, Ko-do, Jogyo-do and Kanjo-do, the sutra library,, the bell tower and the Tahoto pagoda.
Rokkaku-do (the Hexagon Hall) constructed in the Genroku era (1688-1703) is a two-story pagoda that has a very unique structure, where the 6 images of Jizo Bosatsu are placed on the rotating platform.
The statues of Shaka Triad and other precious statues and paintings are displayed and open to the public in Shaka-do (the Shakamuni Hall), which was constructed in 2001.
Sanjuusangen-dou is a temple located in Higashiyama, Kyoto. The temple is officially known as Rengeouinhondou. It belongs to and is run by Myouhou-in Temple. Sanjuusangen-dou was destroyed by fire in 1249 and later rebuilt in 1266.
The temple was originally built by Taira no Kiyomori in 1165 by order of Emperor Goshirakawa inside the premises of Houjyuu-ji Temple complex which the Emperor also built and lived in.
Sanjuusangen-dou (designated as a National Treasure) is translated as “a hall with thirty three spaces” and, as the name suggests, the temple has 33 bays. The columns extend for a distance of 118 meters. In Edo period, the temple held an archery tournament known as “Tooshiya” under the eaves. Even now, the temple holds the National Archery Competition on January 15th every year at their archery range located on the west side of the temple, keeping the tradition alive.
One thousand one statues of Thousand Armed Kannon are arranged in a spectacular scene inside the temple enchanting visitors.
Rinnoji Temple is the generic name of the Tendai sect temples on Mount Nikko in Nikko City, Tochigi Pref. The principal images are two sets of three images of Buddha; Nikko Sanja Gongen Honjibutsu, which is composed of three wooden statues of Senju Kannon, Amida Nyorai and Bato Kannon, and Tosho Sanja Gongen Honjibutsu, which is a wall hanging Buddha images of Yakushi Nyorai, Amida Nyorai and Shaka Nyorai.
History of Rinnoji Temple dates back to the end of Nara period (710-794), when Priest Shodo built a temple in Mount Nikko. During the Edo period, the temple was flourished as a guardian temple of Toshogu Shrine dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. However, as Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines were separated by the law in the Meiji period, a lot of temples on Mount Nikko were merged to Rinnoji, and since then a framework of two shrines (Toshogu and Futarasan Shrine) and one temple was established (Rinnoji). Rinnoji Temple is Nikko’s most important temple with a long history and close connection with the Tokugawa family.