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Shikasagi-Yama Kasagi-Dera (Mount Shikasagi Kasagi Temple)

[2017年5月10日]

Kasagi Sight-Seeing Navigation No.2 (Explanation Of Sight-Seeing Spots)

◇Shikasagi-Yama Kasagi-Dera (Mount Shikasagi Kasagi Temple)◇

   Kasagi Temple is a chaitya (prayer hall) of the Shingon Buddhism Chizan Sect.  Mount Kasagi’s sango (a Buddhist formal mountain name) is Shikasagi-Yama (Mount Shikasagi).  When the name of each temple is formally introduced in Japanese, its sango is generally given first. 

   This chaitya’s gohonzon (object of worship) is Mirokubutsu-Sama (Maitreya), which has been directly inscribed on the cliff.  This temple became a sacred place of the Maitreya faith after the Heian era.  The founder of this temple has been reported to be Prince Otomo or Emperor Tenmu.  Historically speaking, this temple has a deep relation to Todaiji Temple and Kofukuji Temple of the Southern Capital (Nara).  Prominent priests such as Jokei are said to have lived here.  Therefore, this temple is significant in the history of Japanese Buddhism.  In addition, its precincts are known to have been the stage of the revolt of the Genko era masterminded by the 96th Emperor Godaigo in a bid to overturn the Kamakura Shogunate.

   Gyoba, the former training course where Buddhist monks had undergone ascetic practices during the Nara era, still remains.  It has lots of intense ups and downs, so you could call it a natural athletics course. 


◆Shogatsu Do

   Shogatsu Do (New Year Hall) was erected by Jicchu Osho in 752.  The first Omizu-Tori (Water-Drawing Ceremony) is said to have been performed at this hall.  As you know, this ceremony is conducted annually at Nigatsu Do (February Hall) of Todaiji Temple.  Shogatsu Do was severely damaged by fire several times.  The current hall was reconstructed in 1482.

◆Miroku Magaibutsu (Maitreya image of Buddha inscribed on the polished cliff)

   In front of Shogatsu Do, the main hall of this temple, stands Maitreya, the image of Buddha inscribed on the polished cliff.  This 20-meter high and 15-meter wide image is said to have been worshipped as Japan’s biggest and oldest inscription of a Tennin, a celestial being. 

   Unfortunately, only its surrounding nimbus is visible now, due to erosion and fire.


◆Kokuzo-Ishi (Kokuzo Stone)

   On a precipitous cliff 12 meters high and 7 meters wide, you can see Magaibosatsu-Zo, the Bodhisattva image inscribed.  This saint sits calmly with his heavenly robe fluttering.  This inscription is said to have been carved in the Nara era.

 ◆Yurugi Ishi (Wavering Rock)

   This rock is said to weigh approximately 2 tons.  The lower part of it is flat, and you can move it slightly with your hand.  This rock is thought to have been used as a weapon at the time of the revolt of the Genko era.

◆Anzaisho-Ato (Temporary Stronghold Site Ruins)

   The Emperor Godaigo, who had planned to overturn the Kamakura Shogunate, escaped to this spot in Kasagi on August 27th, 1331. 

   This stone chamber had been established on the mountaintop of Mount Kasagi, which we could call a natural stronghold, standing 288 meters above sea level.  Eventually, Emperor Godaigo was found and defeated by the Shogunate and this stronghold was burned.  At present, only the stone fences which surrounded his chamber remain.

 

   Information about Kasagi Temple

        Business Hours:     9 :00  to 16 :00

        Entrance Fee:

             Individual

                 300 Yen for adults and high school students

                 100 Yen for junior high school students

                 Free for elementary school students and younger children

            Group

                 270 Yen each for groups of 30 or more adults

                 70 Yen each for groups of high school students (on school excursions)

                 50 Yen each for groups of junior high school students (on school excursions)

                 30 Yen each for groups of elementary school students (on school excursions)



   Inquiry and Reservation

         Telephone:      0743-95-2848

         Home Page:     http://www.kasagidera.or.jp


 


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