I recently visited Yamaguchi Prefecture and found out that the first Christmas ever celebrated in Japan was right there. During the Christmas holidays I watched the movie ‘Silence’ so I decided to dig a little deeper. Searching for more information I came across this article. It’s well written, thus I would like to share it… Read More First Christmas in Japan, 1552
This is one of my favourite temple regions and it is a World Heritage Site to boot. You will need a least a whole day to explore the three temple complexes properly. You will also need to have a basic level of fitness as the site is on top of Mt Hiei and there are… Read More Enryakuji temple – Kyoto (Pictorial)
For about a year I have wanted to visit Hara Castle ruins. I first heard of Hara castle when I visited Amakusa, a short distance across the Ariake Sea. Both regions made famous during the Amakusa Rebellion in 1589-1590 and the larger Amakusa-Shimabara Rebellion in 1637/38. I covered the rebellion in Amakusa a little in… Read More Hara Castle Ruins and the Amakusa/Shimabara Rebellion, Minami Shimabara, Nagasaki Prefecture.
A statue of Shiro Amakusa. The young Christian rebel who rose up and led a rebellion against the Tokugawa Shogunate. Amakusa-Shimabara Rebellion (1637) Cherry blossoms and a Tori on the way up to Nokanetenbo Park Sakitsu Church, established in 1569 by the Portuguese. Interior of the church. I have never seen tatami in a church… Read More Amakusa and the Shimabara Rebellion – Kyushu.
A couple of weeks ago I visited Raizan Sennyoji in Itoshima. Itoshima is a nice little country suburb a little to the west of where I live in Fukuoka. It is famous for beautiful beaches, mountains and the countryside. Many people also farm and produce a lot of great produce. It’s a nice place to… Read More Raizan Sennyoji and early Buddhism in Japan. Itoshima, Fukuoka
Miyajidake sits in the northern region of Fukutsu city about 1 hour from central Fukuoka. It is famous for the ‘road of faith’ and stairs leading up to the main temple which look out directly to the sea about a kilometre away. More on this later. Sunsets around October are supposed to be really beautiful.… Read More Miyajidake Shrine, Fukutsu City, Kyushu.
In Japanese folklore the female demon (oni) Hannya figures prominently. Often depicted in traditional Noh and Bunraku plays using a wooden mask of a fierce and grimacing horned demon, this malicious entity may be Japan’s most well-known demon. An ancient legend recalls how the female Hannya persecuted all who attempted to pass through the Rashomon… Read More Hannya – (A Japanese She-Demon)
On the hill overlooking the historical Bikan area is the ancient Achi Shrine. According to the Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan) it was founded way back in the 4th Century AD during the reign of Emperor Ojin. Since that time the shrine has been an important stop for sea travelers and merchants between eastern and western… Read More Achi Shrine, Kurashiki, Okayama.
God (Kami) When the English word God is translated into Japanese, it is generally represented by the kanji (Chinese character) 神 and pronounced kami. However, to avoid misunderstanding, it would be better to think of God, 神, and kami as three separate concepts. “God” is the supreme being of monotheism and is customarily capitalized to… Read More The Evolution of Japan’s Native Gods
After 2 years with the same theme, I decided to make a change. Please tell me what you think. I hope this new theme will showcase more of the articles on the front page so people can get a better idea what the article is about. The layout I think is a little more organised… Read More Site Update
Nishi Honganji is the mother temple for the Jodo Shinshu sect of Japanese Buddhism established by Shinran Shonan who lived between 1173 to 1263. The temple has its origins in the Eastern hills of Kyoto, where Shinran’s mausoleum is currently located. The sect has an interesting history and the current site has been occupied since… Read More Nishi Honganji
Shikoku is host to the famous 88 temple pilgrimage. It is said to take up to 3 months to complete the 1200km. The pilgrimage dates way back to the time of famous Buddhist monk Kukai who lived from 774 to 835. There are several legends related to the beginnings of the pilgrimage. The most popular… Read More Shikoku Pilgrimage
Not a bad summary I found of Francis Xavier and Christianity in Japan. Francis Xavier, a founder of the Society of Jesus, arrived in Japan in 1549, inaugurating a century of Catholic Christian missionary activity in that country. After enjoying enormous success, Christians suffered brutal persecution and were almost eliminated a century later. Japan was… Read More A short summary of Francis Xavier and Christianity in Japan
I have a few friends who also have a passion for Japanese history. Here is a great article about the emergence of Buddhism into Japan. Buddhism arrived rather late in Japan in the middle of the 6th century, along with Korean and Chinese priests … one thousand years after the religion had originated with Siddhartha… Read More 6th Century Japan and the Emergence of Buddhism.
Wow, so busy teaching at the moment so I haven’t had time to do any more research into my next blog post. In the mean time I found a nice article from the Japan Times. I hope you enjoy it. The sense of antiquity on the Kunisaki Peninsula is immediate. There are those that believe… Read More Kunisaki: Into a World of Moss and Stone
I never get tired of going to Mt Hiei and taking photos. The three Enryakuji temple complexes are fabulous and are different within themselves. I just wish I could read more Kanji so I can read the information sheets to share with you all. You can buy a day ticket that will allow you entry… Read More Mt Hiei
Tokyo – A trove of ancient documents unearthed at the Vatican could shed light on the brutal crackdown on Christianity in isolationist Japan under its samurai rulers, scholars say. The hoard contains about 10 000 pieces of paper, collected by an Italian priest who lived in Japan last century, mostly dating from the “Edo” period… Read More Trove of documents found from the Samurai era
I visited Senso-ji earlier this month and it is by far the busiest temple I have been to. On a flyer I picked up it noted that 30 million people visit the temple every year, I reckon there were probably 10,000 people there on that day. Anyway, back on topic. I wonder how many people… Read More Senso-ji, Asakusa
Reading through one of my fellow bloggers pages (thankyou Stephen) reminded me of a couple of old Japanese maps I have saved on my hard drive. I love old maps and I remember studying a few maps while doing my history major at university. Lets have a look. A map of Edo in the 1840s,… Read More Old Japanese maps
Emperor Kammu was born in 737 as the crown prince of Emperor Konin and ascended to the throne in 781 as the 50th Emperor of Japan. Realizing that the capital of Heijo was small in scale and beneath the dignity of our country, Emperor Kammu transfered the capital to Nagaoka in the province of Yamashiro… Read More Heian Shrine – Kyoto