Stroll around the temple grounds

Sanmon, Temple's gate

 The tower gate (two-story structure), columns, and tiled roof. Like the other halls, it was rebuilt in the late Tokugawa period, but along with the main hall, it was deeply in the style before the Tenpo fire, that is, when it was moved from Mt. Hongu to this site and rebuilt (mid-Kamakura period). The enshrined Nioson statues are 2.12 meters tall, and their origins are unknown, but due to the splendor of the carving, it is thought to be older than the Sanmon gate.

Gate of the temple

Bell Hall

Tower structure with 2ken (3.6m) square area and with tiled roof. The bell was recast in 1960 and the weight is 108 Kanme. 108 Kanme equals 405kg,and 108 is thought to be the number of human lusts.

Bell Hall

Basho haiku monument

 On the east side of the main hall, at the north corner of the pond where Benzaiten Shrine is enshrined in the water, is a 2m tall natural stone monument of the shape of a triangule pole, standing under a large persimmon tree. It is engraved with the words, "the first winter rain_monkeys look longing for tiny straw cloaks--Basho". On one side, it says "built in Kaei Boshin winter" and on the other side, "Commencement of pilgrimage Simogamo kikuo". Both letters are good handwriting, and the carving is also deep.
Although its origins are not known, it is believed that it was built by a man of taste from the Shimokamo area in memory of Basho and at the start of his long haiku journey.

Basho haiku monument

Guest hall side gate

Most of the existing buildings were rebuilt after the Tenpo disaster, but this gate was the only one that miraculously escaped the disaster. Although the date of construction and history are not detailed, the 30cm square birch pillars and the magnificent chisel marks on the chrysanthemum carving on the edges are covered with moss and look even more ancient, perhaps dating back to the mid-Kamakura reconstruction period. The demon roof tile on the ridge has an inscription dating back to the third year of the Kansei period.

Guest hall side gate

Storage room

In 1970, the old storehouse was renovated to store treasures, objects, and ancient documents. The first floor is a display room.

storage room

Ginka Kishida graffiti

 There are two theories about Ginka's graffiti left on Mt. One of these is the eight characters written in large letters on the white wall on the east side of the Chinjudaibatengomado-do Hall, which reads, ``Miyama Osawa Issushi Ryūja.''The size of each character is probably about 20 centimeters square. It has a signature that says ``Residence of Annexed Japan,'' and most previous introductions have assumed this to be the real thing. Another theory is that the two lines on the second keyaki pillar on the left side of the front of the main hall are ``Boys Risshi Dego Seki Waka Fusei Gaku Death No Return.'' This line is written in a gentle handwriting, and the ink on the bottom of the two lines is about to fade away. Whether there was a signature or not, it is currently invisible to the naked eye.
Some people say that when Ginka was thirteen or fourteen years old, when she first set out on her mission to go to Tokyo, she paid a visit to the mountain and left behind this graffiti. On the other hand, the wall theory says that the inscription is clear, the meaning of the words is expansive, and the style of the writing is perfect for remembering Ginko at the time.
This is how I think about both theories. When I asked about it, I heard that Ginko had distant relatives in nearby Ueda-Nishi and Fukuzawa in Niiyama, and that he visited them quite often. In other words, before he went to Tokyo with great ambitions, he visited an acquaintance's house for some reason, and on his way back he stopped at a mountain, prayed to Kannon, and left graffiti on the pillars of the main hall. In later years (of course, when she was still in her prime), when she visited the area again for business, she suddenly recalled her past, climbed the mountain, and once again wrote a large letter in the Goma-do hall.
That being said, someone once advised me that if things continued as they were, Ginka's graffiti would disappear and that I should protect it by putting up wire mesh. I laughed bitterly. There is nothing to complain about when it comes to handwriting on scrolls, plaques, and calligraphy. However, graffiti is graffiti no matter how famous it is. Furthermore, the act of desecrating cultural properties deserves to be reprimanded, but it cannot be protected. Even though it was Ginka-san, he was probably just a boy when he made this graffiti. If this is the case, the future for young people these days is just as bright and distant, and we don't know who will become a celebrity, a great person, or a successful person. What is the choice between these young people's graffiti and the former? Today, defacing cultural properties is not only prohibited by law, but also respecting public property is an essential etiquette for modern cultured members of society. Isn't it a contradiction to view one as stupid and try to praise the other? I'm sure Ginka-san will be smiling as bitterly as I am.

History of origins

 When someone asked about the bigining of this mountain in its book of history of origins, it answered.... When the crown prince of the (Gensho) Emperor was personally dispatched to hunt down the bandits in Tsukushi, he fell ill in Ushimado, this district (Bizen), probably due to the curse of the bandits. When he had all the servants pray to Kannon on this mountain, the light from the constant lanterns of the mountain was reflected far away on the sea surface of Ushimado, and the figure of Kannon appeared in the light. he was miraculously immediately healed. The Crown Prince was greatly delighted by this miracle and visited Mt. Hongu with his ministers, but as the sun was setting deep in the mountain, he got lost and had to rest for a while. (This place is still referred to as "Gosogaya" that means Imperial Palace valley.). Then, a white deer appeared out of nowhere and appeared to be about to invite the prince.

avatar in the cave  2011.3.20 Photographed by Mr. Namba

Before he could even ask for guidance on the way to Mt. Hongu, the white deer took the lead, and the rest of them followed suit, climbing up the hidden valley, and before long they reached the top of the mountain, and the deer suddenly flew away. They thought that this was perhaps also a vision of Kannon, so a shrine was built here and worshiped as a deity (the current Kegi Daimyojin is this). The prince visited the mountain for a while to pray for his recovery from his illness and to pray for the surrender of the Imperial enemy in Tsukushi.He then set out on a subjugation mission, and within a few days the bandits were subdued. His joy was special and a manor was donated to the mountain, and it became a large temple of high rank. In addition, the princess of the 88th Emperor Takakura (called Muromachi Nyoin) often fell ill, so she was told by the Yin-Yang master(a person who was excellent in Uranai) to find a monk who was tall and had deep training. The Renkai shonin of this temple was over 6 feet tall, but when word got out he grew an inch taller in one night with the help of Kannon's expedient methods, and it became true that he was exactly like Uranai. When he was called to imperial palace to pray and receive blessings, he immediately made princess fully recover, and from then on, he was given 300 kan of coins every year, and the temple flourished even more.
After that, it went through many ups and downs, but Renshin Hoin was highly virtuous and greatly restored the temple gate. One year, when the people of this region suffered greatly from the big drought, as they prayed earnestly for rain, a mysterious monster appeared up close, and took Renshin with them and climbed to the top of Mt. Hongu. He pointed to it and told them that they should pray at this spot. Hoin prayed with joy, and when he saw five dragons appear, clouds arose, and there was a thunderclap, and immediately a great rain of blessings flooded the land, and the people above and below were finally saved and realized his virtues, and admired him. A rock cave was built on the sacred site, and the statues of the Dragon King in the center, the ghost (avatar?) on the left, and the god of thunder on the right were enshrined, making it a sacred place to pray for rain for a long time (this rock still remains at the top of the mountain). This is something that local residents still know.
Because the principal image of the shrine has such miraculous powers, it has become customary for the doors to be opened every 33 years so that those who are related to the shrine can bask in the blessings of vast mercy. In ancient times, in the spring of the 7th year of Bunka, Shunei hoin, the resident of the temple, held a memorial service for opening doors, and then in the 13th year of Tenpo, a memorial service for opening doors has been held since then.