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Showing posts from October, 2018

Kyoto: Kitano Tenmangu (Shrine)

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Located at Bakurocho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City in Kyoto Prefecture, Kitano Tenmangu (Shrine) (北野天満宮)is one of the most important of the several hundred shrines across Japan that are dedicated to Sugawara no Michazane who was known as a great scholar, poet, and politician. He is associated with Tenjin who is a Shinto god of education.

Kitano Tenmangu (Shrine) was built in 947 to appease the angry spirit of Sugawara no Michazane whose death in exile was said to have brought drought and plagues to Japan. Years after its construction, the shrine became an object of Imperial patronage during the early Heian period. In 965, Emperor Murakami ordered that Imperial messengers, called heihaku, to report important events to the guardian kami of Japan in the belief that they'd get the message across. In 991, Emperor Ichijo added three more shrines to the list. This includes Kitano Tenmangu Shrine.


Kitano Tenmangu Shrine was officially designated as one of the Kanpei-chusha which lasted from 187…

Kyoto: Nijo Castle

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Located at 541 Nijojocho Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto City in Kyoto Prefecture, Nijo Castle is one of the 17 and the only non-temple UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kyoto City.

Nijo Castle or Nijo-jo is a flatland castle that was constructed under the orders of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Construction started sometime in 1601 and was completed in 1603. The castle served as the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa shoguns since Kyoto remains home to the Imperial Court during those times.  

The castle underwent a large-scale renovation in 1624 during the time of Ieyasu's grandson, Tokugawa Yoshinobu in preparation for the Imperial visit of Emperor Go-Mizunoo in 1626. For this event, the Gyoko-goten Palace was constructed for the Emperor. The castle was also expanded to its current size. Stunning wall paintings were also created by painters of the Kano School. After the Imperial visit, the Gyoko-goten Palace and several other buildings were dismantled. 


Sadly, the Inner Ward was destroyed by a citywide fir…

Kyoto: Nishi Hongwanji (Temple)

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Located at 60 Horikawa-dori, Hanaya-cho, Kudaru Honganji Monzen-machi, Kyoto City in Kyoto Prefecture, Nishi Hongwanji (Temple) is one of the 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Kyoto.
Nishi Hongwanji, also called Nishi Honganji, is the mother temple and headquarters of the Jodo Shinsu Sect. The name Nishi Hongwanji means "Western Temple of the Original Vow". The temple and its sister temple Higashi Honganji were established in 1602 by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu after he split the main Hongan-ji (Temple) in Kyoto into two temples. 

The temple follows the Judo Shinshu teachings of Shinran Shonin who was famously known for his major work "The True Teaching, Practice, and Realization of the Pure Land Way" or Kyogyoshinshu. After his death in 1263, a mausoleum was erected at Otani, Higashiyama in Kyoto City. This became the foundation for the Hongwanji (Temple).


Presently, Nishi Hongwanji is listed as one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto while many of its structures l…
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