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Due South : Zentsuu-ji, Kagawa – The temple and around

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/01 Travel & View point , , , , ,

Zentsuu-ji : The temple

It’s relatively large, but I didn’t take many photos.
I don’t remember why.

If you are interested, visit the official website.
There aren’t many photos in the English page, though.
(Japanese page with map and link to the photos are here.)

Quick history

As I wrote in the previous post, the temple was built by a Buddhist monk, Kuukai,
He was born in this area, and the name “Zentsuu” was taken from his father’s posthumous Buddhist name “Yoshimichi” (The same Kanji characters are used for “Zentsuu” and “Yoshimichi”).

According to the document in the middle of Edo era, its building was started in 807 and completed in 813.
Kuukai borrowed its appearance from a temple in Changan in China where his master Huiguo, a Chinese Buddhist monk, lived.

Later, during the Kamakura period (1192 – 1333), another temple called “Tanjyou-in” (lit. “Birth temple”) was built on the place where Kuukai was born.
These two temples had been separated until Meiji era (1868 – 1912).
Now “Tanjyou-in” is a part of the Zentsuu-ji temple, and called as “the western temple” while the original Zentsuu-ji area is “the eastern temple”.


The Eastern Temple (The original Zentsuu-ji)

[The five-story tower]

Zentsuu-ji 10

The most prominent building in the temple.
Around 45 metres (approx. 147.6 feet) tall, and made of “keyaki” (Zelkova) wood only.

It had been destroyed by fire or strong winds a several times since its establishment.
The latest reconstruction was launched in 1845 under the order from the Emperor, and completed in 1902.

[Camphor tree]

Zentsuu-ji 04

There are two big camphor trees in the east area.
Both of them are more than a thousand years old.

[The main shrine]

Zentsuu-ji 03

The original building was burnt down during the war in 1558.
The present shrine was rebuilt during the Genroku period (1688 – 1704).


The Western Temple (The birthplace of Kuukai)

[Niou-mon (Gate of the two Deva Kings)]

Zentsuu-ji 06

The only photo I took in the western area.
Not seen in the photo, but there is a stone-bridge, which leads to the gate.
You couldn’t cross the bridge except on the 20th day of each month, so it is called “Hatsuka-bashi” (“Hatsuka” means “twenty days” or “the 20th day”).


Around the temple

Sanuki-guu Kagawa-ken Gokoku Jinjya (lit. “Sanuki Shrine Kagawa Prefecture Protecting the Nation Shrine”)

Zentsuu-ji 01

“Gokoku Jinjya” is a shrine for martyrs for Japan or the war dead.
This one is for the local dead since the Meiji era.

The green circle is “chi-no-wa” (lit. “Circle of blady grass”).
It was a day before New Year’s Eve, so they were preparing for a ritual “chinowa-kuguri”, I guess.
The previous post about the ritual is explaining about one held in summer.
At some shrines, they perform twice a year, summer and the end of the year.
The one held in winter is called “oo-harai” (lit. “Great purification”).

There is a small museum which personal mementos are displayed.
Whenever I see this kind of exhibits, they make me really sad.
Japanese national flags with people’s names or messages, letters to their families…
I suppose that most of them were 20 – 30 years old, and judging from the letters, they seemed quite honorable.
It was perhaps partly (or mostly?) because soldiers’ letters were censored, but I wondered whether I could write like them to my family in the same situation.

Nearby, there is Nogi Shrine, which enshrines the very famous General Maresuke Nogi and his wife.

Next post : Pilgrimage in Shikoku


Related posts:
#Zentsuu-ji(1: General Info and Kuukai)

#Konpira(1) (2) (3) (4)

#Kotohira City

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A Japanese living in Okayama. A proud "Otaku"! Loves animals, snacks, manga, games (PC, iPad, Nintendo DS, PSP), foreign TV dramas, traveling and football (soccer).

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