Jokanji Temple in Matsuzaki Town in Shizuoka Prefecture is a temple belonging to the Honganji denomination of Jodoshinhsu. The principal object of worship is Amida Nyorai. It was founded by the priest Joshin during the Einin era (1293-1299).
The temple had declined since it was burned down in a big fire during the Genroku era (1688-1703) and was revived by the 13th resident priest, Honda Shokan. Jokanji Temple has been famous for its divine power to get rid of evils and bring happiness.
Jokanji Temple is also famous as the place where Chohachi Irie, a plaster artisan in the Meiji period (1868-1912) is buried. Although most of his representative plaster works in Tokyo were lost by Great Kanto Earthquake and fires caused by air raids on Tokyo, some 20 excellent works including Happo-nirami-no-ryu (the Dragon Glaring in Eight Directions) and Hiten (the Heavenly Maiden) are preserved in the main hall of the temple, which is open to the public as Chohachi Memorial Museum. The bronze bust of Chohachi and the stone monument are elected in the precinct.
Aokage Castle located in Innoshima Takuma-cho, Onomichi City, Hiroshima Pref. was a fortress built by Murakami Yoshihiro, the head of the Murakami Suigun (maritime warrior clan), during the Nanbokucho period (1336-1392). Since then it had been the base of the Murakami Suigun for 270 years.
As Innoshima Island was the base of the Murakami Suigun, there were a lot of castles or fortresses built in the Middles Ages. Aokage Castle was at the top of Mt. Aokage (277 m) in the mid-western part of Innoshima Island. It is presumed that the castle was built to reinforce the defenses for Dozaki Castle located in the east against the attack of the Kobayakawa clan standing to the North Imperial Court side. After the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, it was dismantled.
At the present time, only the ruins of Honmaru (the main castle), the stone walls and other residences remain in the mountain. Kinrenji Temple to the north of this castle is known as the family temple of the Innoshima Murakami clan. The graveyard of the successive generations of the clan lies in the precinct.
Shingyoin Temple in the center of Hino Town in Shiga Prefecture is a temple of Jodo sect of Buddhism. It was the family temple of the Gamo clan, which ruled Gamo county from the Muromachi to the end of the Warring States periods (1336-1573).
The temple originates in a small hall built in Komikado Castle in 1349 by Gamo Takahide to enshrine Amida Nyorai. In the later periods, the hall was relocated with the relocation of the clan’s main castle; from Komikado Castle to Otowa and Nakano Castles. When Nakano Castle was abolished after the Battle of Sekigahara, it was relocated again to the present place, where Gamo Sadahide spent his retirement days.
The main hall was constructed in 1739 and it is a prefecturally designated cultural property. The temple also possesses the statue of Kannon carved by the priest Den Eshin. The ceiling of the main hall is decorated with the Japanese painting of a raging dragon painted by Takada Keiho (1674-1755), an artist painter of Kano School from Hino Town.
Sarukake Castle located in the northwester part of Yoshida Basin in Yoshida-cho, Aki Takata City, Hiroshima Pref. was a castle closely related to the Mori clan. It was built during the Meio era (1492-1501) by Mori Hiromoto, Motonari’s father. The castle is well known as the place where Mori Motonari spent his young days till he succeeded the clan. Sarukake Castle stood on the ridge of a mountain facing the Tajihi River running on the border of currently Yakake-cho in Oda-gun and Makibi-cho in Kurashiki City. It functioned as an important base to keep watch on passers coming from and going to the west. After the Battle of Sekigahara, however, the Mori clan lost three provinces including Aki and moved to present-day Hagi, Yamaguchi Pref. The castle became a Shogunal property and later dismantled. Doshoji Temple in Yakake-cho had been the family temple of the successive castellans.
A Toshogu shrine is where Tokugawa Ieyasu is enshrined. In the Edo period (1603-1868), there were as many as over 500 Toshogu shrines in the country. Some of them like the ones in Nikko and Mt. Kunozan were constructed by the Tokugawa Shogunate, while others were constructed by daimyo, who were feudatory to the Tokugawa clan. With spate of abolition and integration of the shrines in the Meiji period (1868-1912) and onward, the number decreased to about 130.
Toshogu Shrine in the mountain village of Matsudaira is one of such existing Toshogu shrines. It enshrines Matsudaira Chikauji, the founder of the clan. It is said that Chikauji was a person of strong faith and compassion. He built many temples and shrines in his domain including Kogetsuin Temple as his family temple.
As the premise was where the Matsudaira family resided until the Taisho period (1912-1926), there remain historic ruins such as the ruins of the residence and an old well from which the water for Ieyasu’s first bath was taken. The stone walls and dry moats surrounding the precinct remind the visitors the atmosphere of bygone days.
Chokoji Temple in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, is a Bekkaku (a kind of title, which literally means “special”) temple of the Tofukuji school of the Rinzai sect of Buddhism. The principal object of worship is Juichimen Kanzeon Bosatsu (Kannon with 11 faces). Its mountain name is Shuunzan.
The temple was founded in 1335 by Nakajo Hidenaga, the castellan of Koromo Castle, as his family temple. The temple thrived in the early Muromachi period (1336-1573) possessing the precinct of 545 meters from north to south and 436 meters from east to west, where as many as 18 branch temples were built. After the Onin War (1457), when the Nakajo clan declined, the temple also lost its power. It was attacked by Oda Nobunaga and destroyed by fire in 1567. However, the temple was immediately restored by a retainer of Nobunaga, Yogo Masakatsu.
Chokoji Temple possesses several cultural properties, one of which is the portrait of Nobunaga. It was painted by Kano Motohide by the order of Yogo Masakatsu after his master’s death. The picture is now designated as a cultural property by the national government.
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.
Kogetsuin Temple in Matsudaira-cho in Toyota City, Aich Prefecture, is famous as the family temple of Matsudaira Chikauji and his son Yasuchika, the ancestors of the Tokugawa clan.
The tombstone of Chikauji (the founder of the clan) in the center and those of Yasuchika (the 2nd head of the clan) and the wife of Chikatada (the 4th) on both sides are erected in the grave yard surrounded by stone walls with the doors, on which the family crest of the Tokugawa clan, hollyhock leaves (aoi-no-mon) are inscribed.
Kogetsuin Temple was founded in 1367 by Asuke Shigemasa under the patronage of Ariwara no Nobushige, the father of Chikauji’s wife. It was originally named Jakushoji Temple, but its name was changed to Kogetsuin after Chikauji dedicated the hall, the pagoda and the statue of Amida Buddha, which is the principal object of worship, and became the family temple of the Matsudaira clan.
The temple had received a great degree of protection from the Tokugawa Shogunate until the end of the Edo period (1603-1868). It was enfeoffed with the land producing 100 koku of rice by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1602. The main hall and the gate were reconstructed under the order of the 3rd Shogun Iemitsu in 1641.