Hook-shape street, Yakuimon, bronze bell…A temple where things arrive by fate and chance.
Sansho Temple (Jodo Buddhism)Adress: 1157 Miyoshimachi, Miyoshi, Hiroshima 728-0021 Call: 0824-63-4340
The hook-shape street is on Dasai St. in Miyoshicho, at the hook is the entrance to Sansho Temple which was intended to make it seem as if the street were a dead end from a distance.
From the moment you walk in you might notice how the temple gate is actually backwards and engraved with the family crest of the Asano. Then once you pass through the temple gate you’ll see a Daishido, a small temple usually in Shingon sect temples where a statue of Kobo Daishi is housed, Sansho is not a Shingon sect temple. Right next to the Daishido is a shinto-related shrine for the local guardian deity of good business called Inari, a kitsune or japanese fox spirit. Sansho Temple is that sort of temple, one full of oddities, explained by its long history with close ties to the lives of local residents.
In 1536, Sansho Temple was first established in Higashisakeyamachi, Miyoshi, as the family temple of the lord of Hatagaeshi Castle, Matsuo Nagatonokami Mitsukatsu. In fact, Mitsukatsu's memorial tablet is still preserved carefully as it has been for over 480 years.
Mitsukatsu later moved the temple to Miyoshicho since Mitsukatsu was related to Ozeki Masakatsu who had a castle on Mt. Ozeki. In 1632 he moved it once again to the place where it is now in order to help Asano Nagaharu, the first feudal lord of the Miyoshi-Asano domain.
Asano Nagaharu moved the temple’s pieces with great concern; He gifted the temple its temple gate, a bronze bell, a small memorial with a statue of Prince Shotoku and a memorial tablet of Asano Nagaharu's mother.
Each gift has its own interesting history and providence which people who like history and temples are curious about.
Yakuimon is a samurai-style gate with its name being a pun in Japanese which carries the meaning, “The gate that stops arrows”. Originally it was built as a gate for Mt. Higuma castle but it was gifted and moved to the temple by Asano Nagaharu. Since the gate was originally a castle gate it was installed backwards when it was moved so that it looked more like a temple gate. The road leading up to the gate is called the hook-shape street that was built to make it look as if the road ended in a dead end. This enduring scene is preserved, preventing history from fading away.
"Why do they have a temple of a different sect?" Many people wonder about the Daishido. A Daishido is a special smaller temple located on the temple grounds of most Shingon sect temples, which Sansho is not. Long ago advice was given that if they put a Daishido there it will protect the shopping district, so the Daishido was moved to Sansho Temple from the nearby Shingon sect temple, Kisshoin. It's still carefully protected by local residents and still doing its job of protecting the shopping district.
Made in the Nanboku-cho period, the bell has two inscriptions that indicate the bell was originally dedicated to Gosei Temple in Hyogo prefecture, and then dedicated to Shidagishi shrine on an island in Yamaguchi prefecture. Going back and forth across the sea, the bell has an interesting history that led to it being designated as an important cultural property.
If you look up to the ceiling you will see words. These words, important words from buddhist sutra, were requested by a supporter of the temple and then specifically chosen and hand-written by the last chief priest.
The robe the chief priest wears is called "Shichijo Kesa" which is one large square robe where a few square cloths are sewn up like patchwork. Each of the square pieces of cloth represent a rice field. The robe is made with the hope that a Buddha will cultivate the people’s hearts. Incidentally, the name of the chief priest translates directly to "Cultivated rice field", so perhaps fate and chance have conspired once again in favor of this odd temple.
At Sansho Temple the chief priest has been a woman for three generations in a row. With their tender behavior and calm way of speaking, they have a gentle and warm atmosphere that is naturally relieving.
|スポット名||Sansho Temple (Jodo Buddhism)|
|所在地||1157 Miyoshimachi, Miyoshi, Hiroshima 728-0021|