Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sekizan-gu (Temple of Chih-shan)

When Ennin (posthumously known as Jikaku-Taishi) studied at the temple of Chih-shan in China, under the rule of the Tang Dynasty with Imperial sanction, he worshipped the deity of Shiragi-myojin (the gracious deity of Silla, one of the three kingdoms in Korea in the first millennium) to enhance his spiritual life and learn the teachings of Buddhism.

He was enshrined here at this temple after his return to Japan because he successfully finished the ten-year training program, thanks to his piety during his stay in China. Since then, at Buddhist temples in Japan, Jikaku-Taishi has been worshipped as the master of the doctrine of Tendai Buddhism, and Shiragi-myojin of Chih-shan has been deified as the guardian god of the teachings of the Tendai sect.

It is believed that this deity prevents disasters, guarantees longevity and drives away evil spirit - people chant his name Sekizan-Myojin (gracious deity of Chih-shan) as a sign of worship. The deity is also regarded as the incarnation of Ksitigarbha.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Enryaku-ji Temple - Otsu City
Warm refreshments on a cold day

Map of compound

Game of chance - the winner gets free food

Map of area

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Enryaku-ji Temple - Daikodo (Important Cultural Asset)

The Daikodo, constructed by Gishin, the first head priest of the Tendai sect of Buddhism, is used by the Buddhist priests to have debates to deepen their studies. The so called "Hokkedaie kogakuryugi" started by Jie Daishi, continues to be an important ceremony held every four years in this hall for those trainee monks stepping into the position of full fledge Tendai priests. The current building, relocated and reconstructed from the piedmont district called Sakamoto after the old building was destroyed by fire in 1956, enshrines the revered statues of the founders of Buddhist sects, who devoted themselves to their studies for many years in mount Hiei.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Enryaku-ji - Otsu City


Built by Saicho, the founder of the Tendai sect of Buddhism, as a temple to guard the Heian-kyo capital against the negative influences thought to enter from the northeast. The temple is originally known as Hiezan Temple. Enryaku-ji Temple developed into a center of monastic discipline that produced numerous great monks who founded important Japanese Buddhist sects: men such as Honen, Eisai, Shinran, Dogen and Nichiren.

By the latter half of the 10th century, Enryaku-ji Temple was a flourishing temple, with its temple buildings configured much as they are today, centered around three principal tracts known as the Toto (East Pagoda), Saito (West Pagoda) and Yókawa tracts. The temple was ravaged by fire on several occasions in the past but was rebuilt each time. The worst damage occurred in 1571, when Enryaku-ji was put to flame in the course of a military campaign and lost most of its temple buildings.

The main hall for the entire complex is the Kompon Chudo, reconstructed in 1642. At ground level it measures 11 bays (a bay is the distance between two pillars) across the front and 6 bays front to back. The front part of the building contains the outer worship hall (gejin), measuring 1 bay from front to back, and the plank-floored inner worship hall (chujin), also 1 bay deep, while the sanctuary (naijin), at the rear of the building, measures 4 bays in depth and has a flagstone-paved earthen floor. The building, in accordance with precedent, houses three distinct halls with finely coffered ceilings. This form and scale herald back to the Heian period (794-1185). The way or Japanese-style tone implicit in the buildings structural framework, and the detailed craftsmanship, create and early Edo-period (1603-1867) feel.

The temple's three tracts contain numerous other buildings dating as late as the 17th century, and imbue the temple grounds with the aura of that period.

Otsu City

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Longest Funicular Railway in Japan

Sakamoto Cable (比叡山鉄道線, Hieizan Tetsudō-sen) is a railway line located in Otsu, Shiga province. It is a funicular railway (inclined plane or cliff railway). It is the longest of this type of railway in Japan.

There are two cars that ascend and descend at the same time. They come to points in the line where there are double rails parallel to each other so they can pass each other without stopping. It's a fun ride and it takes you to the Temples at the top of the mountain.