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2015年11月

Kyoto History Tour

l.  Introduction
 
Why Kyoto tour?

On November 6 and 7, we, 15 members of Shimada-juku, my secretaries and myself, went on a trip to Kyoto to visit some 20 temples, shrines and historic sites to learn and  think about the earlier years of Japanese history.
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We chose Kyoto for the following reason: Kyoto is an unique city in the world in which many historical assets are preserved well so that we can learn and think about the history of Kyoto and Japan vividly by witnessing such historical remains. In many countries in the world which have long histories, when rulers change or ruling powers shift, historic buildings and sites are often destroyed and lost. Japan is an unique country in which such historical assets have been relatively well maintained and are often reconstructed by the new rulers. In this sense, we are gifted to witness the rich remains of historical assets and thus can imagine vividly the ways people lived in early years of Japanese history.


Study Medieval History of Japan

Since Kyoto has a long history of civilization and the role of capitol city of Japan as long as more than 12 centuries, we chose to study the history of its earlier 700 years. Namely, from Heian era up to Muromachi era. Heian era started from the end of 8th century or more precisely AD 794, the time Heian-kyo or Heian Capitol city was constructed. This is the period when the country was ruled largely by the dignity of Emperors and the political powers of aristocrats.

0051_xlarge While the dignity of the emperors remained, the substantive power of control shifted to the hands of Samuari, or warriors,of Kamakura government at the beginning of of 12th century, as symbolized by the establishment of Kamakura government by the Shogun, the supreme commander of  samurai, of Minamoto, Yoritomo in AD 1192. While Kyoto remained as a symbolic capitol during the following period of so-called Kamakura era, the administrative capitol was Kamakura-city in the east region of Japan.

Minamoto clan has been terminated as the Shogun only within the three generations, and through the following turmoil of struggling for powers, the Ashikaga clan took power in 13th century. Ashikaga Shogun reined Japan in Kyoto so that Kyoto again became full-fledged capitol city of Japan until early in the15th century. This period is called Muromachi-era because the government run by Ashikaga Shogunate was located in Muromachi area of Kyoto. This period is also known well as the period when Japan’s traditional arts such as Noh play and Tea ceremony flourished with the support of Ashikaga Shogunate, particularly, Ashikaga, Yoshimitsu.

We chose to focus such period of some 700 years since the onset of Heian-era until  the prosperous Muromachi-era governed by Ashikaga Shogunate. This is the period when Kyoto has been fully and somewhat partially the capitol city of Japan. This period was followed by a couple of hundred years of Sengoku-era when Japan’s governance has been confused by repeated wars of regional leaders.


The Importance of Medieval Era


This period of some seven centuries may be called the final years of Japan’s ancient history of civilization to much of the medieval era. This period is highly interesting and quite important to understand the basic nature of Japan, as a country, because the era preceding this period is the era in which civilization has been promoted much by the direct influence of ancient China as symbolized by Nara era when the capitol city was in Heijyokyo, currently Nara-city, and the following era after the war ridden period has been symbolized by the stable years of Edo-era which lasted more than three centuries under the solid governance of Tokugawa government which is located in Edo, the current Tokyo. The Tokugawa era set the basic cultural, social and political basis of modern Japan. Tokugawa-era may be called historically as early modern era of Japan as compared to the latter modern period starting from Meiji-restoration up to the end of war ridden early part of the 20th century.

The seven century period we focussed is particularly interesting in the sense that  this period transmits historically from the ancient Japan when the country was civilized by direct Chinese influence to the pre-modern and modern Japan when Japan fostered its own cultures and civilization and developed Japan’s peculiar model of governance which was much germinated during the stable years of Tokugawa-era.

0005_xlarge When we scrutinize the seven centuries since the 8th to 14th century, the whole period entails the dynamic and complex drama played by nexus of many actors. The main actors have been obviously the emperors. While the emperors have been the vertical thread sewing through the whole period, there have been some 60 emperors during the period of 700 years, starting from the 40th Kanmu-emperor to some of the early 100th emperor. This implies an amazing fact that the average length of emperor’s rein was only 12 to 13 years. This means that many emperors had to terminate their rein by defeat in political struggles, dead while exiled, or dead by deceases. The emperors system gradually became more stable during the stable period of Tokugawa governance and institutionalized to remain as the emperor while alive only after the Meiji restoration.

Incidentally, there have been 125 emperors in Japan’s history. Of them, historical documents have become gradually prepared only after emperors of 20th and 30th generations who are estimated to have existed during 5th to 7the century.

Around this unstable existence of emperors, there have been ebbs and flows of surrounding powers such as aristocrats as symbolized by outstanding Fujiwara-family, and samurais as symbolized by Heike-family and Minamoto-clan, the latter established the government which governed entire Japan during short-lived Kamakura era.


Power and Influence of Buddhism


Noteworthy is that this is the period when Buddhism, which was introduced originally from China, grew enormously in the cultural soil of Japanese society led by many outstanding priests who innovated their own sects and teachings while under the original influence of ChineseBuddhism. Among them, the most outstanding are Saicho, who built his comprehensive Buddhism training system in Koya-san mountains north-east of Kyoto. Under his teaching and influence, six of seven major Buddhist sects have been developed which indoctrinated millions of people in the following ears even until today, and Kukai, who is an ingenious priest who not only mastered Chinese esoteric Buddhism but also innovated his own Shingon esoteric Buddhism in Japan using the huge training system located in Koya-san mountains in deep Kumano forest of Kii peninsula.
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Japan’s Buddhism which grew dramatically by these pioneering priests has gained increasing influence in Japan’s politics through imperial families and aristocrats on the one hand, and popularity in society by penetrating into people’s lives and minds. While much of the structures and constructions in Heian-kyo, current Kyoto of ancient and medieval eras, were destructed and ruined in natural and artificial hazards such as fires and wars, most notably, Ohnin wars of 1467 to 1477 which destroyed most of Heian-kyo and never recovered. Dai-Dairi or imperial office and residence, and Hohshoh-ji temple, the huge temple of Fujiara-clan are typical examples.


In contrast, many of Buddist temples and Shinto(Japan’s native religion) shrines were rebuilt many times after such hazards and preserve much of their original figures perhaps reflecting strong social power of religions. We intended to understand、assess or imagine such dynamic and diverse  historical dramas of Kyoto by visiting, watching and learning the remaining assets mostly of temples and shrines and some marks of historical sites.


Planning of the Tour


We started planning of this tour half a year ago. I studied intensively and extensively to select good spots of visit so that we could have a good view of history of Kyoto. We selected some 20 sites. Since the members of Shimada-juku are all extremely busy people so that we could spare only a couple of days at the weekends. We have to allocate the limited time budget wisely and efficiently. We need to plan a good logistic and routing.

Here, the secretary of Shimada-juku and myself asked a special help of Mr. and Mrs. Hirata, Koichi(hence forth we name him, Koichi)to plan a good routing, time allocations and also, and most important, to reserve a good accommodation to stay and good restaurant to have meals. Mr. Hirata, Koichi is our good friend and a core member of Shimada-juku. He gladly accepted our requests. We asked in addition to plan a smooth and efficient routing of our visits, a convenient and reasonable hotel to stat over a night, nice restaurants where Kyoto citizens rather than outside tourists like to eat.

0076_xlarge These are the requests which could be met only by someone who knows Kyoto well and has necessary connections with necessary people. Mr. and Mrs. Hirata own a good width plot in the center of Kyoto city where the Hirata family had run for a long time shop to sell umbrellas and shawls. Grand parent of Mrs. Hirata came out of Aichi pref. to Kyoto intending to be a priest, but on the way changed his plan to become business man and started the shop of umbrellas and shawls. After the end of the war, they purchased the current plot of land. The Hirata family is now extending their business largely in real estate business to rent building space to various tenants. Mr. Hirata is a member of many business organizations and has good connections with local leaders.

Mr. Hirata with powerful help of Mrs. Hirata marvelously satisfied all of our requests. Kyoto, this season, is extremely crowded by tourists because it is viewed as one of the best tourism season with red and yellow leaves of trees. Koichi booked a whole floor of a convenient, reasonable and cozy hotel in the center of Kyoto miraculously. On the day, his entire family including  their son, Mr. Hirata, Yohei together attended and supported our tour. We are greatly indebted to their warm support and effective guidance.

I prepared,  working with Ms. Inoh, Naoko, my chief secretary, a lengthy text of highly detailed explanations of all the spots of visit which amounted to 80 pages. I asked the participants to this tour to read this document in advance so that they can appreciate the visits many times more than otherwise. Mr.Yamamoto, Yasumasa、our friend and an indispensable member of Shimada-juku who currently works for Google, kindly offered us his special service of putting all the information onto “Google Map” even my 80 pages explanations at appropriate space of the map, which was highly useful for the participants. We would like to express our sincere thanks to him as well.


ll.  Visits of Historic Sites

Day 1(November 6, Friday)

Most of the members of our team took the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto. We arrived at Kyoto station half past 9 o’clock. It was luckily a fine day. In spite of rather pessimistic weather forecast, we were gifted good weather on both days of our tour so that we were able to enjoy well autumn colors of Kyoto trees in beautiful red and yellows.

Koichi welcomed us at the car allocation office in front of the station. He rented two luxurious chauffeured cars from MK limousine service. The chauffeurs are experienced chauffeurs having good knowledge and guiding tourists to tourists spots. We left the station shortly after 10 o’clock.

1.   Tohji(East Temple)

   This is one of the only two temples which were built under the permission of emperor Kanmu who built Heian-kyo. The reason why he permitted to build only two national temples at east and west of the entrance gate to the Heian-kyo is said to be that he wanted to build a capitol city which is free from excessive influences of imported Buddhism which nearly controlled politics working with conventional powers including previous emperors in Heijyo-kyo, current Nara-city, which was a capitol city of Japan prior to Heian era.

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    This temple was later given to priest Kukai by Emperor Saga. Kukai made this temple the training base of his Shingon sect. Shingon sect was believed to be most advanced and most rigorous esoteric Buddhism at the time, and was believed to save people from unfortunates such as deceases. Kukai played important roles to save emperors from such unfortunates and prayed to protect the country at its capitol.

    We walked in the campus of the temple. Fair and blue sky, cool air but warm sunshines which light up some trees in shining red. We walked on the quiet campus first to five roof tower, Kondo or Golden hall, and finally Koudo or lecture hall. Among many sculptures of Buddhas and many of them are national treasures, the large sculpture of mahavairocana which sat in the center of the platform of Koudo was particularly impressive. This is the god of creating everything in the universe and the most important object of worship of Shingon Buddhism.

   We stayed the campus only for half an hour so so. We, nevertheless, felt something which seems to make us feel much purer than before the visit.

2.  Nishi Honganji(West Honganji)

   This is the one of the headquarters of Johdo-Shinshu sect of Buddism, which is considered to have been originated by priest Shin-ran(1172-1262). Priest Shin-ran studied at Hiei-zan Enryakuji Temple, which we plan to visit tomorrow, and respected profoundly high priest Hounen 1133-1212) who initiated Johdo-shu sect.

0018_xlarge    Shin-ran taught that if one sincerely chant a sutra, he could be saved into the heaven. Since his teaching does not seem to require severe training, his preaching became highly popular among commoners. But he was viewed as having opposing and dangerous effects against traditional sects centered around Nara which had much power and he was punished and deprived of his priest status and was sent exile to north east area, current Niigata pref. He is said to have married which was forbidden for priests. His dead body is said to have been moved later on to the current Honganji campus and respected by worshippers.

   After his death in a east region, the sect grew much with campaigns of his disciples. Since the sect has become very popular among commoners, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the grand samurai commander of war ridden era of Japan gave this sect a large land in Kyoto in return to evacuate their center in Osaka where Toyotomi Hideyoshi was building his huge castle. The sect, utilizing this land, built Honganji temple, which is located at the same place where the current Nishi Honganji is built.

   At the time of Sekigahara battle, the largest and most fierce battle fought by the west powers representing Toyotomi side and east powers which represent Tokugawa side which signified the end of the war ridden era of Japan, the campus of this temple was used by troops of west powers. In this battle, west side lost the war, and the temple campus was burned down.

   When Tokugawa, Ieyasu, who initiated the Tokugawa government which eventually has lasted more than three centuries, took the power, he allowed the brother of the top priest of Honganji temple to build his own temple. The brother who hated his brother gladly built a new temple which is commonly called Higashi(east) Honganji claiming that higashi temple is the genuine successor of the sect. Naturally, the two sects confronted and quarreled all the time. This is perhaps the shrewd strategy of Tokugawa Ieyasu who is known as extremely skillful strategist.

3. Lunch at Nishio Yatsuhashi no Sato

0030_xlarge     We took lunch at a nice and cozy restaurant by the name of “Nishio Yatsuhashi no Sato" which is located in the depth of a street. Yatsuhashi is a traditional dry cake created several hundred years ago in Kyoto and has been a very popular traditional Japanese cake. The Yatsuhashi confectionary naturally has many branches. Nishio Yatsuhashi is one of such major branches. The owner of Nishio Yatsuhashi, who is a senior friend of Koichi, began this cozy restaurant of traditional healthy vegetarian cuisines. The restaurant is designed with purely Japanese traditional design but has chairs for guests to sit easily. We took nice healthy lunch in a broad room facing a beautiful Japanese garden. The price was reasonable but the quality and atmosphere is superb.

4. Houshouji-Temple Ato(site)

    Hoshouji-temple was the temple which was built Fujiwara, Michinaga, the most powerful aristocrat at Heian era. Who took uncompetitive power in palace politics and monopolized mot important government positions in addition to support directly emperors. Indeed, he made his three daughters marry emperors and a retired(super)emperor and exercised unbeatable influences in the politics of Heian-era.

   When he got aged, he became increasingly indoctrinated in Buddism. In addition to contribute to importat Buddhist temples he decided to build his own one, that is, Houshouhi-temple. The temple was extremely broad and luxurious. Michinaga spent much of his time in this temple at his later years. He had his own residence in the temple. At his final days, he is said to have stayed in the depth room while laying his body just like the Buddha in India, and closed his life.

    Currently, there remains nothing of the temple, except a small stone pillar of about one meter high standing at the edge of the wall of junior high school playground. This is perhaps the result of some archeological study which found that the huge temple and the residence of Mr. Fujiwara, Michinaga was located about here.But no care was made by either Kyoto or national government to show it up any more. This is the headlessness of the real world as said by many thinkers. The chauffeur of our car said to us, “You are the very rare tourists, who stop, talk and imaging of the past at this humble pillar.”

5. Shoukokuji-temple

    Shokokuji-temple is the Zen Buddhism temple  and is the highest temple of Rinzai-sect(Zen-sect) Shoukokuji-school. The temple was originally built by the third Ashikaga Shogun, Ashikaga, Yoshimitsu. Yoshimitsu considered to build a huge temple next to his government area in 1382 and construction was completed in 1392.
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    Ashikaga-Yoshimitsu asked his Zen teacher, Myouen to be the first priest to open the temple, but he in return strongly recommended the highest priest of Zen at the time, Musou Soseki. Eventually Musou Soseki took the responsibility to open the temple. But both Myousen and Musou Soseki dies before the completion.

   The fact that the famous Kinkakuji(Golden temple) and Ginkakuji(Silver temple) are regarded as a pair of two towers in the garden of Shikokuji-temple indicated the high status of Shokokuji temple.

    Shoukokuji temple prospered as the second of the five major Zen buddhist temples in Kyoto. But the temple buildings were burned down several times for several hundred years due to fire incidence and wars. The current building was built at the beginning of 19th century.

  The temple has a large campus. Calm and old pine trees. We took off shoes and walked into Houdo or religious hall where there is a hall with high ceiling. On the ceiling, a picture of dragon is drawn. As we walk around the hall, the dragon apparently chases us with his glaring eyes and turn his body up side down. The picture is amazingly well drawn. Also, when we clap our hands at a certain point, we hear the echo which is concentrating from all the ceiling and sound as if the dragon cries. This phenomenon occurs because of curving surface of the ceiling.  

     We also walked along the corridor of a long stretching building name “Hojoh” which faces a beautiful garden. Inside the building there were many great pictures against sliding doors.

6. Shiramine-Jingu(Shinto shrine)

    Shiramine-Jingu respects the spirit of Sutokuin retired emperor who were sent exile to a far away Sanuki region of Shikoku island because he was defeated in Hogen war. He was depressed and died there. His was the emperor for the period of 1123 to 1142. After his death, natural and social hazards took place repeatedly in Heian capitol and elsewhere, the shrine was built at Shiramina-hills where the ex-emperor died in its neighborhood in an attempt to respect and calm his spirit. The current Shiramine-shrine was built in its predecessor form by Meiji emperor in 1868. In 1873, the spirit of Jun-nin emperor was also respected together in the shrine. In 1940, the shrine was upgraded as one of the highest rank shrines in pre-war Japan.
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    When we walk into the campus of the shrine, the most visible is the collection of soccer balls and posters of Japan soccer team. This is because the land of the shrine used to be the land of the house of Kasugai family who has been the head of aristocratic sports of kicking balls. Shrines nowadays try to find any reason to attract worshippers and collect donations.

7. Kami-Goryo Jinjya(Goryo implies “soul”)

0055_xlarge Kami-Goryo Jinja respects and attempts to calm down the unsatisfied spirits of 8 honorable people like emperors, empresses, prince, high aristocrats, and high ministers. They are all victims of wars, betrayals and slanders. They lost their lives with anger and despair. Since their deaths,  people believe that the natural and social hazards which threatened and annoyed people were the effect of the anger of spirits of the dead, this temple was built in mid-9th century and major meetings were held to calm the angry spirits.

    The shrine was standing still in the calmness. We may somewhat share the feeling of ancient people imagining what was going on in those years in Japan.

8.  Ashikaga Shogun Muromachi Den Ato(The site where Ashikaga shogunate had Muromachi palace and government office)

  This is one of the typical historical mark to indicate the evidence of important site in Kyoto. This one denotes one of the central area where the huge palace and office area existed 8 centuries ago. This is the area where Ashikaga government main offices and the residence of Ashikaga Shogunate were located. The whole campus is said to be huge indeed.

    Currently, the area is pointed out only by a small and shabby stone pillar which stands at the cross road of city streets at the corner of a drug store. We got together in front of the pillar and spent sometime imaging the great times of Ashikaga shogunate who governed our country throughout the Muromachi era. The name of the era is taken from the name of this area of Heian-kyo, which is still used now.

9.  Seimei Jinja(shrine)

    Name of the shrine “Seimei” is taken after the name of the very famous and influential fortuneteller as well as astronomer, Abe-no Seimei(AD 921-1005). Abe-no Seimei was born as a son of fortune teller, but he made his contribution much more well known among the class of aristocrats and even the emperor. He became famous by healing the disease of Ichijo emperor, inviting rain falls at the time of dry damages etc. He was also given the status of high bureaucrats having his talent of astronomer recognized.
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    Emperor Ichijo decided to build the shrine to thank Seimei’s contributions when he died in 1005. The shrine was built in 1007. However, for several hundred years since then the shrine was left devastated. After Meiji restoration, the shrine was recovered somewhat by the assistance of Meiji government.

    Recently, novels were written and a movie was made on Abe-no Seimei, and he became the focus of social attention. The shrine is now attended many young worshippers.

10.  Kinkaku-ji(Gold excellence temple)Temple

    Kinkaku-ji is a common nick name of the temple. The formal name is “Rokuon-ji Kinkaku.” This is one of the top few tourists spots where many tourists visit everyday. Kinkaku-ji is said to be only next to Disney world and Disney Sea located in the suburb of Tokyo in terms of the number of tourists who visit the site.

0075_xlarge    Many high school students visit Kinkakuji every day. I think I was one of those more than half a century ago. That time, there were no as many visitors in my memory as nowadays. We visited Kinkaku-ji this time on Friday evening, and still there were crowds of visitors, and many of them are foreigners. The campus of Kinkaku-ji was much broader than my old memory. The large campus was filled with people who move slowly go around the golden temple building standing on the lake and orderly move on to the exit.

    The Kinkaku’s gold building was truly shining in the dim sunshine of the late afternoon. It was certainly beautiful. The Kinkaku-ji was burned down in 1950 by arson of a young training priest. This event shocked Japanese society at the time. The story attracted attention of famous writers such as Mishima, Yukio. It is reported that the young priest was so deeply in love with the gold shrine that he set fire on it. A typical case of perverted affection which Mishima likes.

    Kinkaku-ji was built originally as the retreat of the Shogunate Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1397, and was named as current “Rokuon-ji” in 1420 after the death of Yoshimitsu. The temple was burned several times since then by wars and accidents. The current temple was the reconstruction of 1955.

11.  Kitano Tenman-Gu(tenman shrine)

    This shrine was built in 947 by the imperial government in an attempt to respect and calm the spirit of a high aristocrat, Sugawara, Michizane, who were sent to Dazaifu, Kyushu by excile due to a slander of those who are jealous about him. After his death in the far away area of Dazaifu, the capitol city, Heian-kyo suffered from continuous hazards such as thunder storms and fires. Rumors spread in town that these hazards are the curse of the unsatisfied and angry spirit of Sugawara, Michizane. Twenty years after his death, the emperor’s government decided to recover his honor and awarded him high government statuses again.

    Sugawara, Michizane was born in 845 as a son of an aristocrat. He soon emerged as an ingenious boy in the community and even when he was young he was awarded high ranks in government step by step. When he was assigned a high rank position of government minister only side by side with high rank aristocrat Fujiwara, Tokihira, he pursued structural reform of the government to stream line the bureaucracy to reduce the costs and increase the efficiency.
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    His radical reform plans called forth resistance among those aristocrats who have their vested interest. In spite of advices to moderate his reform campaign, he continues to pursue. He was slandered by his opponents that he planned to terminate the rein of Emperor Daigo and replace him with his son-in-law Prince Saisei. Hearing this slander, Emperor Daigo got mad and exiled Sugawara, Michizane far away.

    In Edo-era, the image of Sugawara, Michizane, whose spirit is angry and gives rise to curses, got sparse. On the other hand, he is viewed increasingly more as the god of “study.” Nowadays, many students visit the shrine to pray for success of entrance examinations. In many preparatory schools, they keep miniature shrines of Kitano Tennman Gu to pray successes for their students.

12.  Taikyoku-Den Ishi(Taikyoku Palace Site Mark)

   This site mark marks the site where the main government office existed which had the administrative function of Japan throughout the entire the Heian era. The Taikyoku-den is a part of the Daidairi sector which is the most important area of Heian Kyo.

    Heian Kyo is designed as a large rectangle area of 4.5km east to west, and 5.2km north to south. The Dai-dairi area is located at the north center of the rectangle. From there to the south, there runs the principal large street which is called Suzaku-Doori. Suzaku literally means red-sparrow from north to the south where main gate into Heian kyo existed. The width of the main street is as broad as 84m. Small roads are at least 12m and large roads are of 24m width. The Heian-kyo consisted of many blocks called towns which is the square of 20m by 20m.

    The site mark of Taikyoku-den is located in the end of a narrow path where our taxi could not get to. We just recognized where it is located and continued driving because of shortage of time before we conclude the today’s tour.

13. Dinner at Manzara-tei, Bukkouji-Ten(restaurant)

0100_xlarge    We had dinner together at a cozy restaurant from 19:00 in the neighborhood of Hirata family’s residence and business quarter. The dinner was incredibly reasonable price for the place and the season. It was altogether 6000 yen per person. Food was nice. We were able to drink whatever and as much we want up to 21:00. After this, those who drink more are required to pay by themselves.

    After having eaten much of the food, I asked everyone of the participants to give a short speech as to what were their impressions, what they learned, whatever comments they would like to make or else. Each of them gave short speech in their own way. Common among them was that they like Kyoto, they have had some experience of Kyoto which attracted their interest. I hope that we discuss about Kyoto to arrive at our own image of the grand history of Kyoto. Before arriving at that stage of discussion, we were so happy with some intoxication and comfortable fatigue. The dinner session was closed around half past 22 o’clock.
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    After the dinner several of the members went  together with Koichi to the second round of drink. They moved on to drink and to eat “rahmen” and “pasta.” Mr. Hirata and some of them stayed up to close to 3 o’clock in the early morning of the next day.


Day 2(November 7, Saturday):

14. Breakfast at “Miyako-Yasai(Kyoto vegetables) Kamo”

   Still another choice of Koichi of a  meal which local Kyoto people like is this restaurant. The meal is what may be called “c” of Kyoto vegetables. Customers are free to take fresh vegetables in the form of salad, boiled together with rice porridge, and/or noodles. The dish was healthy and tasty. This was wonderful indeed. And the price is incredibly reasonable, it was cheaper than one coin of 500 yen.

 No wonder why this small restaurant at the corner of a narrow street crossing attracts many funs who apparently repeat to come. Since the restaurant is only a few minutes walk away from the hotel, we got together at the hotel lobby at 6:45 because the restaurant is to open at 7:00. When we arrived the restaurant 10 minutes before the opening time, there already was a long line waiting for breakfast. We really enjoyed the highly local breakfast.

15. HIei-zan(Mt.Hiei) Enryaku-ji(temple);Saitoh(West Tower):

    We started driving at 9:00 am targeting for Hiei-zan where the famous Enryaku-ji temples are located. Since it was the season of red and yellow leaves which attract crowds of visitors to Kyoto, we anticipated a lot of tourists crowd the streets. However, our driving has been quite smooth.

    Hiei-zan is the mountain located north east of Kyoto city of the height of 848 m. On the top of the mountain, there are many temples. The clusters of the temples are largely in three areas: Saitoh(west tower) area, Toutoh(east tower) and Yokawa(side river). We plan to visit first the Saitoh campus.
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    Since the mountain is higher than 800m, temperature should be several degrees lower than in Kyoto city. As we climb up the slope, while  looking down the widely extended view of Biwako-lake, the largest lake in Japan, which was unfortunately somewhat dim because of foggy weather at the time, we were able to enjoy beautiful sceneries of red and yellow leaves. The reds are in a variety of colors. There were pure but profound red which attract our eyes and leave strong imprints in our minds. Even though there were not sunshines, the red colors were elegantly shining. Koichi said that it is indeed rare to see  the full-fledged red and yellow leaves at this time of the season. We thought we were indeed lucky.

    We arrived at the campus of Saitoh. The Enryaku-ji temples consist of the cluster of some 150 temple buildings. Enryaku-ji Temple was initiated by a pioneering high priest with the name of “Saicho” in AD788, which was 8 years ahead of the opening of Heian-kyo(current Kyoto-city). Saicho built a few buildings of the temple with the name of “Ichijo-Shikan-In” to train priests and himself. The name of Enryaku-ji was granted in AD 823, 14 years after the death of Saicho.

    Enryaku-ji temples represent the peak of Japan’s Buddhism in medieval era side by side with another peak represented by Koya-san temples opened by an ingenious priest, Kukai located in the deep Kumano area mountains. While Koyasan temples concentrate in teaching and proliferating of Singon esoteric Buddhism, Enryaku-ji promoted several major streams of Buddhism such as teaching of traditional Hokkekyo testament, Tendai-sect, esoteric Buddhism and Zen-Buddhisam. Later, Enryaku-ji temples played the role of what may be called a comprehensive university of training priests of various sects or mother temples of Japanese Buddism.

    What Saicho preached was the teaching that if people seriously and sincerely chant a sutra, they could become a Bodhisattva. His teaching was severely criticized and at times attacked by conventional Buddists particularly of those who maintained their traditions in Heijo-kyo(contemporary Nara-city). Partly to protect his own teaching from such outsiders’ criticism, Saicho imposed very severe disciplines and training on priests who study in Enryaku-ji. The priests who study at Enryaku-ji are not allowed to go out of HIei-zan mountain before completing a 12 year program of severe training. This tradition is still maintained in Enryaku-ji today. Famous is the 12 year training in the mountain, and even harder 1000 day training. The latter include waling everyday more than 80km in the mountain and stay without eating and drinking for 9 days etc.
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    The gifted priests who studied at Hiei-zan Enryakuji later created important Buddhism sects such as Enjin and Enchin who solidified the basis of Tendai sect, Ryonin who initiated Yuzu-Nenbutsu sect, Hounen who started Johdo sect, Shinran who opened Johdo Shinshu sect, Eizai who started Rinzai shu sect, Dougen who initiated Soudoh  shu sect, Nichiren who started Nichiren shu sect. These sects have developed greatly to convince millions and millions of people in subsequent eras such as Kamakura-era, Muromachi-era, Edo-era up to today.

    The Saito campus is quite calm surrounded by woods of high cedar trees. Walking down the old staircases and paths, we arrived at an old building of Shaka-do building. This is designated as an important cultural asset. The building though looks old and not really well maintained. Inside, some priests were reading scriptures. The Enryaku-ji temples were designated as the world cultural heritage as early as 1994.

   The scene of the Saito campus looked somewhat forlorn though with an atmosphere of solemnity. The campus was colored beautifully by red turned leaves of trees. The timing of turning red of tree leaves had been expected a week or so later, according to local people. However it turned out that we visited Hiei-mountains perhaps the best timing. Some of the red turned leaves were indeed pure and glaring crimson color. Having spent sometime on the Saito campus, we took limousines to visit the next objective, Toutoh(east tower) campus.

16. HIei-zan(Mt.Hiei) Enryaku-ji(temple);Toutoh(East Tower):

    On the campus of Toutoh, we visited four temple buildings. First we went to Kaidan-in or the hall to provide full-fledged certificate to priests. Kaidan-in is located on the slope of the hill higher than other temple buildings. This is a small building but has an important meaning to the entire Hiei-zan Enryakuji temples.  This is the temple which the founder of Enryaku-ji temples, Saicho, strongly wished to have.

    The priest can be a full fledged priest only after he is given the certificate authorized by the Buddhist community and by the nation. Up to the time when Kukai built Enryaku-ji temples, this authority has been monopolized by Buddist community centering around the former capitol city Heijoh-kyo(current Nara city). Since the teaching of Kukai is that people can join the Buddha world if they sincerely believe in Buddhism and chant sutra, the traditional Buddhist community which set much higher hurdles did not tolerate Saicho’s challenge. Saicho made strenuous effort for him to acquire the qualification to provide full-fledged certificate so that Saicho can provide full-fledged priests to the society.

0045_xlarge_2     Partly to convince the rest of the Buddhist community showing how rigorous training Enryaku-ji temples impose on trainee priests, Saicho imposed a rule that they must stay at least 12 years to go through incredibly hard and severe training. This has been the background under which great priests have been fostered by Enryaku-ji temples who later initiated many Buddhist sects which grew to be major sects continuing even up to today.

    In spite of his wish and effort, the qualification has not been granted to Saicho until his death. The qualification was given 7 days after his death. We worshiped the temple and moved on to Hokke-Souji-in, Amida-doh temples located down the slope.

    This is a fundamental training facility of esoteric Tendai school which comprises of several temple buildings. They include Kansho-doh, Jakkou-doh and Amida-doh. This complex of temples were destructed and burned down by the attacks of a most powerful samurai leader in Japan’s war ridden era of 16th century, Oda, Nobunaga, and was reconstructed only as late as 1987. The reason why Oda attacked HIei-zan, Enryaku-ji was that the temples grew to be excessively strong with even armed by priest soldiers and exercised strong political power and influence on Japan’s politics at the time so that Oda who wished to be the national leader saw this power of the temples as obstacles against his crusade.

    We then visited Dai Kou-doh, the large lecture hall. This is a huge building. The current building is the one reconstructed in 1956 after several times of destructions and burning downs. Inside, wooden sculptures of the founders of several major Buddhist sects who originally studied and were trained at Enryaku-ji temples.

    Finally, we visited Konpon Chu-doh, Fundamental central hall of the temples. This is designated as the national treasure.  This hall was built at the place where the founder, Saicho, initiated his teaching in AD 788 by building small temples on the hill of HIei-zan mountain. Within the hall, there exists a sculpture of Yakushi-Nyorai, the healing Buddha which Saicho himself is said to have carved. Also, there exists a Buddhism flare which has been lighting around since 1200 years ago.

17. Luch at Enryaku-ji Kaikan(Hall)

0086_xlarge       Having looked around the temples we went to Enryaku-ji Kaikan, the guest hall which Enryaku-ji temples manage entailing a cafeteria. This cafeteria was nicely located in the sense that we can view much of Biwako-lake, the largest lake in Japan. If the weather was fine, it would have been a fantastic view. Unfortunately, the weather at the time was foggy and hazy. We barely see hazy image of the lake. The food and service were pretty good. Having taken nice lunch, we drove down the mountain.

18. Memorial Pillar to Commemorate the Faith of Priest Shunkan

   On the way of driving down the mountain, there located was the memorial pillar of priest Shunkan. This is a memorial pillar built by Hiei-zan mountains which commemorate the faith of  priest Shunkan of Heian-era who regrettably was suspected as planning treason against the powerful aristocrat leader growing out of warriors class, Heike clan,  who dominated and controlled politics in Heian-kyo, current Kyoto-city, and was exiled to a remote island and was dead in desperation.

    It turned out later that he did not commit himself in such a treason but was condemned as planning it by slanders. This is a good example which reflects the hatred and conflict ridden aristocratic political community of Heian-kyo in years of medieval era.

   The pillar itself is a small and shabby stone pillar, and is located at the side of a mountain path where our limousine could not come close. Since we thought that it would take much time just to visit the stone pillar, we decided not to go there closely.

19.  Chion-In Temple

   Chion-in temple is the head temple of all the temples of Joh-do sect. This temple was initiated by the founder of the sect, Honen, who studies for a lengthy time in Hiei-zan, Enryaku-ji temples. The principal deity are Amitabha buddha and the sculpture of Honen.

   Chion-in is a large temple located in the midst of Kyoto city which is well known and respected by many Japanese. On a broad campus there exist several major temple buildings including Hondo, the principal hall, Amida-do, the hall which entails Amitabha sculpture, Miei-do, the hall where Honen is worshipped, and San-mon, the entrance building.

  The Hon-do, Miei-do and particularly San-mon are huge buildings, perhaps one of the largest Buddhist buildings in Japan. Currently, Miei-do is being reconstructed for maintenance. The whole building is covered by even the larger construct which looks as though a permanent construction.

0100_xlarge_2     This is the temple where Honen spent the rest of his life after he established Johdo-sect. In earlier years, the temples were much smaller and humble. The current gorgeous buildings were build in Tokugawa-era. This is partly because Tokugawa-clan, the long-term ruler of Japan for more than 3 centuries of pre-modern history, is the believer of Johdo-sect Buddhism, and partly and perhaps more importantly, the Tokugawa government meant to exhibit its power in front of the emperor and aristocrats in Kyoto. When we study what Tokugawa government, particularly its founder, Tokugawa, Ieyasu, did, we can learn very well how strategically and skillfully, they controlled religions and made use of their powers and influences to continue the Tokugawa governance of the country.

   Since Miei-doh was under construction, we went to Hondoh. In Hondoh, some priests were in service for some visitors. There sat the sculpture of the founder, Honen, which is relatively small. We worshipped there and went down the campus to come to San-mon, the entrance building from the back. This is a huge entrance of double structure. As we passed by the building, the sun resumed shining again. We took a picture together in the sunshine with a background of the entrance building.

20.  Ken-Nin Ji Temple

    Ken-nin ji temple is the head temple of Rinzai-sect, the conventional Zen Buddhism sect. This temple was opened by Minamoto, Yori-ie, the third Shogun of Kamakura-Bakufu who started Samurai government in 12th century. The temple was initiated by priest, Eizai, who also studied in Enryaku-ji temples when he was young.

    This temple is also well known for its preserving famous picture “Fujin, Raijin(Wind an Thunder gods) drawn by Tawaraya, Sotatsu, the crown artist of the time, which is currently a national treasure. We were unable to see the pictures because they were exhibited in the grand exhibition of Japanese traditional pictures in Kyoto commemorating the 400 years anniversary of initiation of Rin sect of drawing art.
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   The temple was in the midst of crowded town of Kyoto concentrated with Japanese traditional expensive restaurants and amusement houses. The temple also was much crowded perhaps because of the timing, Saturday afternoon.

    Priest Eizai, tried to visit China twice after having trained himself in Enryaku-ji temples. The first attempt to visit China did not satisfy his objective. The second visit was successful. He studies particularly Zen Buddhism, perhaps, the first time the Japanese priest studied it seriously in China. He brought back the teaching of Zen Buddhism, and also the practice of tea ceremony which is said to respect the spirit of Zen Buddhism.

   When he returned to Japan, it was difficult to teach Zen Buddhism because the powers and influences of Enryaku-ji were so strong that other sects like Zen Buddhism was hardly tolerated in Kyoto. Eizai therefore build Seifuku-ji temple in Hakata, Kyushu. He then opened Jufuku-ji temple in Kamakura in AD 1200 with the backing of Houjo, Masako, a highly influential wife of the Hojo Shogunate. And finally in AD 1202 built Ken-nin-ji temple in Kyoto.  When Ken-nin-ji started, it taught all three major sects such as Tendai sect, Shigon-sect and Zen-sect because it was difficult to specialize in Zen Buddhism under still very powerful Enryaku-ji influences.  It was as late as 1259 when Chinese priest Rankei made this temple solely for Zen-sect.

21. Rokuhara Mitsuji temple

    This is a temple of Singon-sect, Chizan school. This temple is said to have been originated by Saint Kuya, a non priest missionary of Buddhism. He is known for carving the wooden sculpture of goddess of mercy having 11 faces in 951, which is now the national treasure and is kept within this temple.

0108_xlarge    Although Kuya was not a formal priest, he went around the town pulling cart on which the sculpture of goddess of mercy was put, and preached the gospel of Buddhism. Since he was said to have healed many people who suffered ills, he became very popular among Kyoto people. He organized a huge Buddhist gathering in 963 at the shore of Kamo-River to save people. After his death, priest Chushin of Enryaku-ji temple re-empowered the temple and named the current name, Rokubara Mitsuji.

22.  Rokuhara Tandai Ato(site)

    Rokuhara Tandai is a sort of inspection and policing center located in Rokuhara area of Heian-kyo, current Kyoto, in 12th century. This center was established by Kamakura government to collect information, inspect and exercising policing functions in order to keep Heian-kyo under good control of the Kamakura government. It is said to have occupied a large area which was owned by Heike clan in previous years. The Tandai implying inspection and policing has been feared by many aristocrats in Heian-kyo.

0112_xlarge    Nothing currently remains of Tandai offices or buildings. In stead a shabby small stone pillar indicated the site where the Tandai existed some 900 years ago. Even this small stone pillar was wrecked by a car accident. After putting the broken stones together to be a shape of a pillar, the pillar was brought into the campus of Rokuhara Mitsuji.

23. Sanjyu-San Gen Doh

    Sanjyu-san gen doh literally means the hall with the width of 33 gen. Gen is the measurement unit of about 1.8 meters. Therefore, this means the hall which has the width of about 60 meters. This temple is well known for this hall. However, the formal name of the temple is “Renge-Oh-In Hondoh, which is the main temple of Renge Oh. This is an extension temple of Tendai-sect Myouhou-In temple which manages the Rengo-Oh-In. Renge-Oh-In was built by Go-Shirakawa-Jyoukoh(retired emperor) in AD 1165.

    When it was built, it was a full-fledged temple complex having 5 tier temple as well. The temple was unfortunately was burned down in 1249, and in 1266 only the main hall building was rebuilt, which has existed up to today. The principal deity is 1000 handed goddess of mercy. In the long hall, which is much longer than 60m, in addition to the principal deity, which is a large figure of Goddess buddha, there displayed 1001 bodies of well made sculptures of buddhas.
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     The buddha sculptures are displayed on a broad pedestal stretching nearly 120 meters. And here and there remain empty spots where apparently entailed Buddha sculptures. Attendants explained that some sculptures are currently under repair. Among 1001 bodies, it is not surprising that some dozens of them are out of display for repair. Surprising is that the repair is done in 50 year cycle. Alas! How long it takes to preserve treasures.

   The back side of the display floor is used for shooting arrows. In Edo era, confident arrow shooters try to shoot for the length of more than 120 meters under the roof of this hall. Shooters with extra-ordinary skills and power can shoot from the end of the hall to the target which is set on the other side of the hall which are more than 120 meters apart. Nowadays, particularly on New years day, confident shooters get together for a competition for shooting now about 60 meters which are televised and popular among Japanese as a New Year holiday event.

    This completes our planned visit of temples, shrines, and historical sites of Kyoto. It was amazing we visited all the objectives we planned to visit within two days. We arrived at Kyoto bullet train station indeed half an hour ahead of planned time.

    Taking advantage of this time, Koichi and his son planned to have supper together before the train comes. It was Saturday evening. The station was much crowded and so was popular restaurants in the station complex. They however found some space in a  good restaurant. We ate and chat reminding of colorful, rich and dense experience of these two days. We all are grateful once again for the warm friendship and incredible care of the Hirata family and great assistance of Mr.Yamamoto of Google to have made this whole trip wonderful and fulfilling.

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