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)
While I was living in Kumamoto one of things I really wanted to do is visit the cave Musashi Miyamoto retired to after his last duel with Kojiro. Musashi spent the last 5 years of his life at Reigando, a cave located on the western side of Mt Kinpo just outside of Kumamoto city. Unganzenji… Read More Reigando (Musashi’s last resting spot) – Pictorial
Happy Thursday! I’m going to start posting some new blogs which only focus on my photography. Articles are great but time consuming and I have so many photos just sitting on my hard drive. Anyway I’m going to try and start posting a little more regularly between writing in depth articles with some great photos.… Read More Nanzoin Temple, Fukuoka, Kyushu
History of the Japanese Tea Ceremony Drinking of green tea was known in China from the fourth century. Tea plants didn’t grow in Japan until the first seeds were brought from China during the Tang dynasty (China 618-907), when relations and cultural exchanges between the two countries reached a peak. In the eighth century the… Read More History of the Japanese Tea Ceremony
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
Miyamoto Musashi Died On June 13, 1645. Considered one of the greatest samurai of all time, Miyamoto Musashi’s reputation has grown to mythic proportions over the years, despite much of his life remaining a mystery. The undefeated swordsman, master of strategy, calligrapher, painter, writer and martial arts icon, Miyamoto Musashi was born towards the end… Read More Reigando Cave and the life of Miyamoto Musashi
The rain misted down and I had two choices: the road up the hill, or the one alongside the river. I stood next to some kind of cement plant, most of it hidden behind a corrugated metal fence dripping with moisture. My pack pulled down on my shoulders. The river, engorged by two days of… Read More Looking for Hiroshige’s Japan
I went to Onomichi today hoping for clear skies and cherry blossoms. One came true, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom now. The sky was hazy so I couldn’t get nice blue/white contrasts. But it was nice and good exercise. I went to Tennei-ji, climbed what seemed like 1000 stairs to get up to… Read More Onomichi – Tennei-ji and Senko-ji
The Kamakura period 1185 to 1333 is a period of Japanese history that marks the governance of the Kamakura Shogunate; officially established in 1192 by the first Kamakura shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo. The era of the imperial courts of the Heian period were drawing to a close and feudalism was on the rise. Buddhism also… Read More Kamakura Period 1185-1333
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
Hall of the golden hue (konjikido) This print was the last print ever to be designed by Kawase Hasui. Sadly, he passed away 1957 just before this print was to be published. Thus, his “fate” did not allow him to see the production of this, his final work: ….Stepping up a long stair towards heaven,… Read More Konjikido in Snow, Hiraizumi, 1957
Title: Konosu Station, View of Mt Fuji from Fukiage. This scene is dominated by Mt Fuji in the distance and the sharp curves of the Kisokaido (walking path). On the left of the print is a Komuso monk wearing a basket shaped straw hat and white attire of a holy man. He is carrying a… Read More Keisai Eisen – 69 Stations of the Kisokaido – Plate 8.
Not far from Minowa station on the Hibiya line is a nondescript temple called 浄閑寺—Jokanji. From the street, it looks like many other Tokyo temples, but behind the new main building is an old cemetery that has one particular point of interest, a crypt and monument to twenty-five thousand prostitutes interred there. Being so close… Read More The Throw Away Temple – Dumping Ground of the Yoshiwara Prostitutes.
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.
Fukuoka is the largest city in Kyūshū. From ancient times, the city’s proximity to the mainland has made it an important gateway for cultural influences from China and Korea. Two members of the Nippon.com editorial team visited the city in search of traces of its ancient links to the continent. Closer to Seoul than Tokyo… Read More Fukuoka: The Ancient Gateway to Japan
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