Osaka_Tenmangu


Assorted Shrines

On this page, I have placed two image groupings from the
Osaka Tenmangu Shrine and Ueno Park Toshogu Shrine
with five other shrines for which I only have a few images.

I am providing a hyperlinked index to allow you to go directly
to a specific shrine if you like, along with links back here.

Index

Osaka Tenmangu

Ueno Park Toshogu Shrine

Futarasan and Taiyuin Mausoleum

Benzaiten Shrine      (Ueno Park, Tokyo)
Gojo (Inari) Shrine    (Ueno Park, Tokyo)
Suika Tenmangu      (Kyoto)
Jishu Shrine              (Kyoto)
Yasaka Shrine          (Gion, Kyoto)

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Assorted Shinto Shrines are in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Japan: Assorted Shinto Shrines

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Osaka Tenmangu Shrine

Osaka Tenmangu shrine is the most famous of the Tenjin shrines. Founded in 949, it
enshrines Sugiwara no Michizane, a famous 10th c. scholar and warrior as the principal deity.
He is the god of scholarship and fine arts. The original burned... the present main hall was built in 1845.

OsakaTenmangu_Torii_9049


Osaka Tenmangu Torii 9049

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Osaka Tenmangu Shrine 9053

Born into a family of scholars, Michizane became an important part of the Court of the Emperor.
Between 870 and 901 AD, he held a number of posts, including that of governor of Sanuki Province
and Ambassador to the Tang Dynasty. While serving as governor, he gained considerable favor from
the Emperor by his actions in the Ako Incident, where he backed the scholars of the Court and censured
Fujiwara no Monotsune. Because of this, he was rapidly promoted by Emperor Uda, but after the death
of Emperor Uda his fortunes turned. Due to the political maneuvers of his rival, Fujiwara no Tokihira, he
was demoted to a minor post (essentially exiled) to Kyushu, where he soon died. After his death, a
series of natural disasters struck Kyoto, including a plague which killed many, drought, and sons
of Emperor Daigo died in succession. It was decided that the angry spirit of Michizane was
causing the disasters, and the Imperial Court built a shrine to him in Kyoto, posthumously
restored his office and titles, and struck from the record mention of his exile. This was
not enough, so 70 years later he was deified as Tenjin-sama, kami of scholarship.

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Osaka Tenmangu Shrine 9055

OsakaTenmangu_Shiradayu-sha_9058


Osaka Tenmangu Shiradayu-sha 9058

To the left is a shrine to Michizane’s companion,
Haruhiko Watarai, who accompanied Michizane to
Kyushu (Chizuken Province) when he was exiled.

There are a number of stories regarding how
Michizane became kami of scholarship. I have
seen two similar versions of the following story:

When the scheming of Fujiwara no Tokihira
resulted in the exile of Michizane, on his way to
Kyushu he stopped to visit Taishougun Shrine
 in Osaka (one of eight shrines set up on the
unlucky directions based on traditional
Japanese esoteric cosmology).

Michizane died on Kyushu in 903.

In 949, seven pine trees grew suddenly in
front of Taishougun Shrine, and radiated a
golden light every night. When Emperor
Murakami heard the tale, he thought
it had to be the spirit of Michizane,
and he ordered a shrine to be
built on the site of the trees.

That shrine is Osaka Tenmangu.
 

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Osaka Tenmangu Shrine 9060

OsakaTenmangu_Shrine_9063


Osaka Tenmangu Shrine 9063

OsakaTenmangu_Corridor_9067


Osaka Tenmangu Corridor 9067

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Osaka Tenmangu Shrine Lanterns 9077

OsakaTenmanguShrine_Lanterns_9075


Osaka Tenmangu Shrine Lanterns 9075

OsakaTenmanguShrine_Lantern_9082


Osaka Tenmangu Shrine Lantern 9082

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Osaka Tenmangu Hou-ou Dragon 9084

The Hou-ou (Phoenix) is an interesting mythical bird as well as an omen.

It has the head of a Golden Pheasant, neck of a Snake, body of a Mandarin Duck, tail of a Peacock,
legs of a Crane, mouth of a Parrot, and... well, you get the idea. It’s sort of a Rube Goldberg bird.

Introduced to Japan from China in the Asuka period (538-710), it was adopted as a symbol of the
Imperial House (particularly the Empress), and symbolized Fire, the Sun, Justice, Obedience, and Fidelity.
According to legend, the Hou-ou appears very rarely, and only to mark a new era.

In China, the female Phoenix is shown in early artifacts as intimately associated with the male Dragon,
portrayed either as mortal enemies or as lovers. In this case, it looks as if the male Phoenix is not
all that happy that the female is spending time with the Dragon. Definite marital conflict.

OsakaTenmangu_Hou-ou_Dragon_detail_9084


Osaka Tenmangu Hou-ou Dragon detail 9084

A 1910 x 655 detail crop, allowing for the examination of detail.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Assorted Shinto Shrines are in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Japan: Assorted Shinto Shrines

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I thought you might enjoy this...

I noticed that in front of a lot of Soba and Udon (noodle) shops they have this statue. This fat and happy raccoon is called Shigaraki Tanuki. He carries a bottle of sake in his left hand, and a magic mallet in his right hand, which is supposed to be able to provide anything desired if it is struck.

He is also the proud owner of what are probably the largest pair of testicles ever seen by mankind. The wild tanuki, (an actual creature called the Raccoon Dog), does have disproportionately large testicles, which may have been the source of the comical depiction, some of which have them shown thrown over their shoulders.

The little book on his right side, under the magic mallet, is his book of promissory notes... apparently our friend Tanuki is putting his drinks on a tab. I saw so many of these guys, that I had to shoot this one, which was outside Osaka Tenmangu.

Tanuki has eight special traits that bring good fortune: a hat to be ready to protect against trouble or bad weather; big eyes to see what’s around him and help make good decisions; a sake bottle which represents virtue; a big tail to provide him with steadiness and strength; enormous testicles symbolizing financial luck; the book of promissory notes which represent trust or confidence; a very big belly symbolizing bold and calm decisiveness; and a friendly smile. What a guy...

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Shigaraki Tanuki 9086


Ueno Park Toshogu Shrine
 

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Ueno Park Phoenix 7490

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Ueno Park Phoenix 7500

Remember our friend the Hou-ou? You know... the Rube Goldberg bird, built from disparate parts?

As you learned earlier, according to legend, the Hou-ou appears very rarely, and only to mark a new era,
in this case, the ending of the war and chaos of the Sengoku (Warring States) period and the beginning
of the Edo era (the era of the Tokugawa Shogunate). This is atop a small building just outside of the
Ueno Park Gojo Tenjin Shrine, dedicated to the Shinto Kami Inari (guarded by Inari’s foxes).

UenoPark_ToshoguShrine_7519


Ueno Park Toshogu Shrine 7519

Built in 1627 by Todo Takatora, warrior, castle architect and daimyo. This wooden
building survived repeated fire bombing raids in WWII, several massive earthquakes, and
a major battle of the 1868 civil war. It is one of the few remaining structures of Edo-era Tokyo.

Toshogu means Light of the East. It is a royal title that was bestowed upon Ieyasu Tokogawa
by the Imperial court after his death in 1616. Tokugawa was originally enshrined at Kunozan in
Shizuoka, then in the mountains at Nikko. Roughly 200 Toshogu shrines were built throughout
Japan, many of them near important temples or sites of importance to the Tokugawa family.

Above is the Karamon gate leading to the Haiden
(Chinese-arched gate to main building and worship hall).

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Ueno Park Toshogu Shrine 7522

Roof detail and a lantern, shot from just left of the Karamon Gate.

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Ueno Park Toshogu Shrine 7524

The shrine is beautifully painted, decorated with wood carvings and gold leaf. This image is cropped from a shot taken into the dark recesses of the Karamon, up against a white sky, so I hope you understand the contrast issue on the upper left. The two dragons shown atop the two posts beside the gate were carved by Hidari Jingoro, a famous Edo-era sculptor. He also carved the ascending and descending dragons on both sides of the entrance (seen in 7519 above). These dragons can also be seen on the Horyuji Kondo and other temple and shrine buildings. There are also openwork carvings of birds and other subjects.

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Ueno Toshogu Shrine 7534

Side walls and roof line of the Haiden (main worship hall) with Chidori Hafu (peaked dormer gables).
In the foreground can be seen the upper part of the Mizu Gaki wall.

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Ueno Park Toshogu Shrine 7535

Note the forked finials on the roof. This is part of ancient pre-Buddhist Japanese architecture.

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Ueno Park Toshogu Shrine 7542

Closeups of some of the carved detail work under the eaves of the Haiden.

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Ueno Park Toshogu Shrine 7544

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Ueno Park Toshogu Shrine 7553

A close wide angle oblique of the rear of the Honden, showing the gold leaf work.

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Ueno Park Toshogu Shrine 7556

More detail of the Haiden.

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Ueno Park Toshogu Shrine 7566

This sort of roof line begs for a dramatic low-angle shot. I succumbed to temptation.

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Ueno Park Toshogu Shrine 7572

The rear of the Honden (with the last long rays of light hitting it).

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Assorted Shinto Shrines are in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Japan: Assorted Shinto Shrines

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Futarasan Shrine and Taiyuin Mausoleum

These images are barely touching the surface of these venues, although they are interesting.
These are two venues just outside of the Nikko Toshogu Shrine. If you have stopped by the Nikko
pages, I suppose you can understand that we were both “shrined out” after the Toshogu Shrine.
What I ended up doing was shooting images of the spectacular Torii gates and some shots of
the entrance area to Iemitsu Tokugawa’s Taiyuin Mausoleum, built in 1653 by his son Ietsuna.

These are almost all very densely-detailed images due to the Cryptomeria Forest backgrounds.

Nikko_FutarasanJinja_DouTorii_8393

Nikko Futarasan Jinja Dou Torii 8393

The massive bronze torii gate to the Futarasan Shrine.
Futarasan was founded in 782 by Shodo Shonin, the monk who
introduced Buddhism to the Nikko area. He also founded the Rinnoji
Temple which is very close (just outside Nikko Toshogu Shrine).

Nikko_FutarasanJinja_DouTorii_8863


Nikko Futarasan Jinja Dou Torii 8863

Nikko_Hachimangu_Ishidorii_8423


Nikko Hachimangu Ishidorii 8423

The torii above left is the same as 8393 (different day and time of day). 8393 was shot late
in the day, and when we came back the next day we were completely “shrined out” from the
shoot at Nikko Toshogu, so we just wandered around, and got a little of this and that. The
stone torii above right was shot the same day as the first image at a Hachimangu Shrine
(the sign on the gate says “Hachimangu”). Below: the Taiyuin Mausoleum of Iemitsu.

Nikko_TaiyuinMausoleum_Niomon_8873


Nikko Taiyuin Mausoleum Niomon 8873

Similar in layout to the Toshogu Shrine nearby (but far less highly decorated), the
Taiyuin Mausoleum is where the grandson of Ieyasu is entombed. Tokugawa Iemitsu
specifically stated in his will that his mausoleum was not to outclass his grandfather’s.

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Nikko Taiyuin Mausoleum Niomon 8402

Shot the first time we stopped by, you can see why we didn’t go in. Closed.

This is the Nio-mon (the outer gate that houses the Kongo-rishiki guardians).
The Taiyuin Mausoleum was begun in 1652 and completed 14 months later,
using many of the same craftsmen who worked on the Nikko Toshogu Shrine.

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Nikko Taiyuin Mausoleum Niomon 8874

The Taiyuin became the representative style of
architecture of the early Edo period. The Honden
(main hall), Haiden (oratory) and the Ainoma
(middle room) are all National Treasures.

Nikko_TaiyuinMausoleum_Entrance_8866


Nikko Taiyuin Mausoleum Entrance 8866

The Watariro Corridor at left and the Karamon gate
(Chinese arched gable), Taiyuin Mausoleum entrance.

Detail of the Kara Hafu (arched gable) is below.

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Nikko Taiyuin Karahafu detail 8415

The Kara Hafu (arched gable) over the Karamon gate to the Watariro Corridor.

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Rinnoji Komyoin Inari-sha 8089

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Ginkakuji Benzaiten Shrine 9661

A tiny Hokora to Benzaiten, goddess of music, poetry
learning and art and one of Japan’s seven lucky deities.

At left, the Komyoin Inari-sha Hokora (miniature shrine).
Founded in the 13th century and dedicated to Inari Okami,
the Shinto Kami of Rice, Agriculture and Prosperity.

Ginkakuji_HachimanDaiBosatsu_MiniShrine_9648


Ginkakuji Hachiman Dai Bosatsu
Mini Shrine 9648

Another Hokora next to Ginkaku dedicated to
the Shinto deity Hachiman, the patron deity of
the Minamoto clan and of the warrior class.

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Nikko Forest Hokora Shrine 8070

Katsuoji_MiniShrine_0144


Katsuoji Mini Shrine 0144

The Hokora (miniature shrine) in the middle of Katsuoji’s pond.
This may be one of Japan’s smallest complete shrines
(it even has its own Koma-inu and torii gates).


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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Assorted Shinto Shrines are in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Japan: Assorted Shinto Shrines

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Benzaiten_Shrine_7451


Benzaiten Shrine 7451

A Shinto shrine on the grounds of the Benzaiten temple in Ueno Park, Tokyo.

Shinto and Buddhism coexist quite nicely (except during the Meiji period when nationalism created a schism,
creating a National Religion of Shinto and restricting Buddhism. Edicts forced temples and shrines to separate,
which caused many Buddhist treasures to be sold or destroyed, including Torii, other gates and sculptures).

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Mini Shrine Shinobazu Pond 7457

A Hokora (miniature shrine) behind the
Benzaiten Shrine, on the shimmering banks of
the languid Shinobazu Pond in Ueno Park, Tokyo
A saisen-bako offering box is in front (on the right).

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Mini Shrine Shinobazu Pond 7459

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Gojo Shrine Torii Tunnel 7476

Hono Torii (donated to the Gojo Tenjin Inari shrine).

Inari Okami is the Shinto deity (Kami) of fertility, rice,
agriculture, industry, and of course, foxes. That is quite
natural, as Inari’s messengers are white foxes (kitsune).
Over 1/3 of all Shinto shrines are dedicated to Inari.

GojoShrine_ToriiTunnel_7471


Gojo Shrine Torii Tunnel 7471

A young couple passes through the Torii tunnel on
their way out of the Gojo Tenjin Shrine in Ueno Park.

Inari has been worshipped since at least 711 AD,
the date of the founding of the shrine at Inari Mountain.
Gojo Tenjin Shrine has been in Ueno Park since 1697.

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Suika Tenmangu 9320

You never know what you are going to run into in Kyoto.
We were dragging ourselves back to the ryokan after a long day
of temple-hopping, and we were just about there when we happen upon
the scene you see above. I don’t know about you, but when all we had seen for
the last mile of street-scenes were little shops and such, this stood out enough that
regardless of our exhaustion, we just had to follow the pink stone path and see what it was.

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Suika Tenmangu 9325

It turned out to have been a worthwhile, if short, stop.
At the end of the little pink stone path was a beautiful
weeping Sakura tree inside Suika Tenmangu Shrine.

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Suika Tenmangu 9323

Suika Tenmangu Shrine is a Shinto shrine with
some Chinese Neo-Confucianism thrown in the mix.
A pretty scene to end the day (before Geisha hunting).

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Okuninushino-Mikoto Jishu Shrine 9558

Okuninushi no Mikoto is one aspect of
Daikokuten, one of Japan’s Seven Lucky Gods.
That is not why he is so popular though...

Okuninushi no Mikoto is Japan’s God of Love.
He is very, very popular with the ladies. Trust me.

He is enshrined along with his giant rabbit companion
at the Jishu Shrine, within Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto.
There are two rocks about 10 meters apart. The intrepid
female looking for love touches one rock, then with her
eyes closed, walks towards the other. If she reaches
the other stone successfully, she will find true love.

He is called the Cupid of Japan. He has been finding
true love for Japanese women for over 1000 years.
Most of the women who come to the Jishu Shrine
to try their luck are teenaged schoolgirls.

Oh... and what about that rabbit, you ask?

The rabbit is Inaba. He had been skinned by a vicious group of  crocodiles, and asked Okuninushi’s eighty (!) brothers for help. The brothers told the rabbit to bathe in the sea and dry off using the wind. The salt caused lots of pain for Inaba. Okuninushi took pity on Inaba, and told him to bathe in fresh water and roll in the pollen of sedge grass to dry. After this Inaba is completely cured, and in gratitude tells Okuninushi that Princess Yamato will be his wife. When the brothers hear this, they kill Okuninushi, but since his parents are the Storm God and Princess of Izumo, they revive him. Okuninushi and Inaba become great friends and are inseparable from then on.

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Yasaka Shrine Night 9411
(Ro-mon Gate)

At the edge of Maruyama Park, facing the Geisha District of Gion, Kyoto, is the Yasaka Shrine.

Founded in 656, the Yasaka Shrine (also known as the Gion Shrine Gion-sha, or Gion-Jinja)
is one of the most popular and important shrines in Kyoto. It is dedicated to the Shinto Kami
of Medicine (Susano-o no Mikoto), his wife Inadahime no Mikoto and their 8 children. In 869,
thousands prayed to Susano-o for relief from an epidemic. The event led to the Gion Festival.

YasakaShrine_Night_9417


Yasaka Shrine Night 9417

The Honden (Spirit Hall) of the Yakasa Shrine, where worshippers wake the kami
by ringing a bell, clapping, and giving their offerings before asking for their wish.

The Yasaka Shrine is also one of the best ways to get into Maruyama Park
for Cherry Blossom Viewing (that is how I got there from my ryokan in Gion).

This was a very difficult 1/15 second hand-held shot.

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There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Assorted Shinto Shrines are in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Japan: Assorted Shinto Shrines

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