Entsuin Temple is a historic temple that belongs to the Myoshinji school of the Rinzai sect of Buddhism. It is the 1st Holy Place of 33 Kannon Pilgrimage in Sanriku. Located in Matsushima, one of Japan’s Three Finest Views, the temple is popularly called “Rose Temple” or “Moss Temple.”
In the precinct is Otamaya (the mausoleum) named Sankeiden, where Date Mitsumune, a grandson of Date Masamune, is buried. Constructed in 1647, it is the oldest mausoleum structure in the precinct. It is a square building with a pyramid-styled tiled roof. The railing is built around the building. It is one of the few 3-bay square mausoleums in the Tohoku region.
Inside the mausoleum is Zushi (a miniature Buddhist shrine) housing the statue of Mitsumune on the horse. The painted decoration given on Zushi is very gorgeous. Interestingly, some Western-styled patterns influenced by the Kirishitan (Christianity) culture can be seen among the decorations.
The mausoleum had been closed to the public for 350 years. However, it was open to the public since it was designated as an Important Cultural Property by the national government.
Jochu-ji Temple is the site of the tomb to the first Yoshinao of the Otomo clan, an ancestor of Sorin Otomo, a Christian feudal lord of the clan. Sorin Otomo conquered the six countries of Kyushu (Bungo, Bunzen, Chikugo, Chikuzen, Higo and Hizen) during the Warring States period.
Jochu-ji Temple is the family temple of Akitsura Betsuki, who was the leading general of the Sorin Family, as well as a lord of the Yoroidake. It is said that Akitsura was partially paralyzed after being struck by lightning. Despite this, he continued to command his army, but from a 'koshi' (a cart-like vehicle).
At one point, the temple was demolished but was later restored by Yoshiteru Honda between 1704 and 1710. A fire destroyed the temple once more, but it was again restored to its present state in 1806 by the great-grandchild of Yoshiteru.
Over 40 types of water iris have been planted at the temple and, every May, the Jochu-ji Temple iris festival takes place. People can also appreciate fireflies here on summer nights.
Omizuen was the garden of the Kinoshita clan and the Ashimori domain head. It is located at the foot of Mt Miyaji, and is constructed around a pond at its center. It is unclear when the garden was built, but the 6th head, Kinoshita Kinsada is reckoned to have built it in the early 18th century. It is a Zen garden designed by Enshu.
Omizuen is one of the biggest gardens in Okayama prefecture, like Korakuen in Okayama City and Shurakuen in Tsuyama City.
There is a teahouse called Ginpukaku just near the pond. The view from the house is especially beautiful because the garden harmonizes with the backdrop of Mt. Uno behind it. Ginpukaku is made from wood that was left over from the construction of Kyoto Imperial Palace. The roof used to be thatched but is now covered with copper sheeting.
Within the garden you can see a monument inscribed with a poem by Kinoshita Rigen, a local poet of the Shirakaba School, and there are also Maria Lanterns for clandestine Christians.
Ooura-tenshudo, or Ooura Cathedral, is the only church designated as a National Treasure and is the oldest remaining wooden gothic-style church in Japan. It is officially named “Church of the twenty-six Saints of Japan” and faces Nishizaka Hill. At this location in 1597, by order of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the absolute ruler of Japan at the time who outlawed Catholicism and persecuted Christians, twenty Japanese Christians and six European missionaries were crucified. Later in 1862, these Martyrs of Japan were canonized by the Catholic Church and remembered by other Christians worldwide. To commemorate the Saints, Ooura Cathedral was built under the direction of the French priest, Bernard Petitjean. When the Cathedral was originally built in a gothic style with three steeples, it had some unusual features such as its front center wall being baroque style and the outer walls being decorated with Namako-kabe style, geometrical patterns of white and darker colors. It was reconstructed in 1879 when all the outer walls were replaced with brick, converting it solely into a gothic-style building.
ComSoufuku Temple is located in Kajiya Town, Nagasaki prefecture. In 1629, the 6th year of Kanei, Chinese people living in Nagasaki invited a monk called Chonen from their old homeland Fukushu to live there, and built the temple. It is one of the three major Chinese temples in Nagasaki, the others being Kofuku Temple and Fukusai Temple. At that time, Christians were persecuted, so the Chinese people living there built it in order to show they were not Christians. The architectural style of the temple was imported from that of China in the 17th century. You can appreciate a gorgeous exotic mood which has no competition throughout Japan.
After passing through the San entrance gate, which is a landmark of the Soufuku Temple, you will see 'Daiipo Ggate', a national treasure. It is famous for the beautiful and complex timberwork under the eaves. The timberwork, called Tokyo, has a splendid and richly-colored pattern and the view is exceptional.
For three days from July 26th to 28th in the lunar calendar, many Chinese people living in Japan come together and cerebrate Chinese Bon, the Buddhist ritual where people pray together for their ancestor's spirits. The temple is filled with a celebration of the Chinese spirit during the festival.