Kyoozan Honrenji Temple

Ushimado's most famous tourist attraction is this temple. The main temple building (on the left in photo at right) dates from 1492 -- how many Spanish building are left from the year Columbus sailed?

Honr8.jpg The temple's placed up on a hill overlooking the Seto inland sea, so it's a great place to watch the ocean from. Clearly, those priests sited these things carefully.
Honr2.S.jpg As always at a Japanese temple, the woodwork and aesthetics are gorgeous, and a pleasure to take in. It got less pleasureable, of course, when the busloads of Japanese tourists showed up around 11am (I quit taking pictures at that point!) Honr1.jpg
Honr3.S.jpg But the thing I really liked about Honrenji was this pagoda, built in 1690. It's just a perfect small structure; I walked around taking pictures of and sketching it for about half an hour. Honr10.S.jpg
Honr4.S.jpg This is not litter; I noticed water bottles like this at a number of Buddhist temples. I asked my Japanese friends about it, and they knew it was a thing you do, but not the specific ritual meaning behind it. The photo at right is one of the portable shrines, currently residing safely in one of the temple buildings. Honr5.S.jpg
Honr6.S.jpg The cemetery includes a masoleum with ashes of Nichiren and Nichiryu (somewhere, I don't know if it's one of these structures or not). Nichiren and Nichiryu are the two Buddhist priests who incorporated much animistic and naturalistic beliefs into the newly-imported Buddhism in the 1400s, thus producing the relatively smooth integration of Buddhism and Shintoism that prevails in Japan today. There have been several periods where the religions became the focal point of power struggles, though -- for instance, the emphasis on 'State Shinto' in the militaristic period leading up to WWII.
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  © 1998 Leo Hourvitz