NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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中宮寺 Chuuguu-ji Chugu-ji Temple

Jp En

Chugu-ji Temple is one of the three major Yamato Monzeki temples. It is close to Horyuji-temple in Ikaruga Town, Ikoma County, Nara Prefecture, and is associated with Shotoku Taishi.

Chugu-ji Temple was established in the 29th year of the Suiko Emperor period (621), when Shotoku Taishi changed a house of his mother, Anahobe-no-Hashihito Queen, into a temple.

After Sonchi Queen became a nun in the temple, Chugu-ji Temple became a Monzeki temple, one in which the imperial family or aristocrats live and train themselves.

The Miroku Bodhisattva statue, a national treasure preserved in one of the main buildings, was made in the late Asuka period and is the oldest example of marquetry work in the country. The figure, with its left leg folded under it and its right finger lightly touching its cheek, is beautiful and  famous. 'Tenjukoku-shuchu' is a collection of valuable embroidery dating to the Asuka period. A princess, Tachiba-no-Ooiratsume, mourning over Shotoku Taishi's death, was ordered to embroider the other side. Now, you can see its replica in the temple.
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犬飼石仏 Inukai-sekibutsu Inukai Giant Buddha Rock Carving

Jp En

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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頼久寺庭園 Raikyuji-teien Raikyuji Garden

Jp En

Raikyuji is a Zen temple that was established by Ashikaga Takauji in 1339. Its garden is especially famous and was designed by Kobori Enshu, a great tea master. It is a representative Japanese Zen garden that was built in the early Edo period.

From the temple, Mt Atago can be viewed in the distance as a 'borrowed view' beyond the garden. In the center of the raked gravel, there are two artificial rock islands called Tsuru Island and Kame Island. Both of them are surrounded by shaped azalea topiary ('okarikomi'), which is arranged along small artificial hills. This form was also used to illustrate the 'Seigaiha' (one form of Gagaku).

The garden has a graceful atmosphere and, in 1974, was designated as a Japanese beauty spot.
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眼目山立山寺 Ganmokuzan-ryusenji Mount Ganmoku Ryusen Temple

Jp En

Mount Ganmoku Ryusen Temple is famous for the Sōtō Zen Buddhism practised here and is located in Nakaniikawa district, Toyama prefecture.

The priest Daitetsu Soryo established it in 1370. In ancient times, it was worshiped as a holy mountain. The religion that refers to Ryusen is called Ryusen Shinkyo and its deity is called Ryusen Kengon. There is a legend that Ryusen Kengon turned out to be a tree-feller and persuaded Daitetsu Soryo to construct the temple.

There is a wooden statue of the priest which is designated as an Important Prefectural Asset. Also, there are two spectacular stones for Zen meditation in the forest near the cloister-shaped temple.

The avenue lined with toga trees creates a magnificent view. By walking along the pathways, the silence that flows from the natural world can be felt in one’s bones.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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