Most magnificent temples of Japan - part II
Zuiganji Temple: This temple was founded by Jikaku Daishi in 828 AD. But it was actually rebuilt by Date Masamune after 1604. He rebuilt it with lumber gathered from Mount Kumano which was in Wakayama prefecture. He called all the skilled workers from Kyoto and kii for the work. The main building measures 39 meters to 25.2 meters and is called Hondo. This building houses the primary Buddhist statue. Most of the temple’s parts are designated as national treasures. The golden walls inside this temple are such a cultural creation as well. This temple was supposed to have been converted into a zen temple during Kamakura period.
Another specialty of this temple is that it has a number of caves caved deep into the rocks. These caves are being utilized for the memorial services and also for the cinerarium to keep the ashes of the dead. The zuiganji art museum was also established in the temple ground in 1996. The greatest display of calligraphy and artifacts of various monks are something to cherish.
Entsuin Temple: This temple was built in 1646 close to Matsushima’s Zuiganji temple. It was actually built to house the mausoleum of Date Mitsumune, who was the son of the local feudal lord Date Terumune and who died at the age of 19 as well. So the temple was built when people were mourning. This temple was devoted to the Buddhist God of mercy, Kannon. Actually, the mausoleum is constructed at he back of the temple grounds. Inside this mausoleum, the statue of a young lord in his lovely white horse surrounded by the greatest devotees who, in reality, committed ritualistic suicide upon the death of the young son can be found. The inside of this mausoleum is interestingly decorated with gold leaves and great ornate paintings. These paintings actually include some Western symbols of hearts, spades, clubs, diamonds and the primitive Japanese image of a rose as well. The reason for these designs was that the Date clan truly had an interest in Western technology and Christianity.
The main hall was surrounded by two aesthetic gardens. One is based on Japanese style moss and a maple garden with a pond that is shaped like a heart. The other is influenced by the Western culture that was evident from the paintings of the wall. There is also a moss garden near the entrance as well. For meditation, at the back of the temple grounds, there is a cedar grove.
Godaido Temple: This is practically a small temple hall. This temple was constructed on an islet near the pier. It was built in 807 AD. The five statues of this temple were enshrined by the same monk that founded the Zuiganji. The interesting point about these statues is that they are displayed for public once in 33 years. In 2006 the statues were displayed.
Kitain Temple: This temple was built in 830 AD Kawagoe. This was essentially the regional head temple of the Buddhist Tendai sect. It was initially burned down in a war in 1202 but was rebult in 1296. Unfortunately this temple was destroyed by a fire in 1638. Shogun Lemitsu then came into helping the rebuilding of this temple and donated few structures of the Edo castle. Out of these structures, one room is believed to be the birthplace of Shogun Lemitsu. This can be seen now.
This temple was divided into three parts Kita-in, Naga-in and Minami-in. Out of these, Naga-in has become a separate temple and Minami-in is just a cemetery only.
The interesting point about the rebuilding was that they actually built a canal from Kawagoe to Edo. This canal was later used for extensive trading. A Toshogu shrine stands in the ground. This was devoted to the greatest spirits of the first Tokugawa Shogun Leyasu. The Gohyaku Rakan statues, 540 in number, who were the disciples of Buddha with amazing facial expressions, can also be seen.
Naritasan temple: This is a Shingon Buddhist temple and is located in Narita. The founder of this temple was Kancho Daisojo and he founded it in 940 AD. This temple is supposed to be the lead temple in the Chisan Branch of New Shingon. Large complexand grounds are its asset. This is one of the popular temples in the Kanto region. Dedicated to Fudo Myoo, who is holding a rope and sword and surrounded by great fire, this deity is called as Fire God. Many buildings are designated as national properties. There are several ritual events are organized here.
Senso Temple: This temple is also known as Asakusa Kannon temple. It is a Buddhist temple. There was an interesting story for the construction of this temple. In 628 AD, two brothers went to fishing and fished the statue of Kannon. Though they let it go, the statue came back to them again. Eventually, Sensoji was built in the year of 645. As such, this is the oldest temple of Tokyo. The Asakusa Shrine is situated near the temple’s main building.
Sengaku Temple: This is a small temple Minato-ku. It has a famous graveyard where 47 Ronin were buried. Ronin were the masterless samurai from Ako. A museum can also be found there. December 14th is the Ronin’s avenging day here.
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