Kumano Magaibutsu: immoveable in more ways than one

In last week's blog post, I introduced a temple founded to house a statue of Fudo Myo-o, the great immoveable deity, carved by no less than the great Kobo Daishi (774-835). But Kobo Daishi is not alone in his admiration of Fudo Myo-o, whose image is found and worshiped across Japan. Even the earliest Buddhist … Continue reading Kumano Magaibutsu: immoveable in more ways than one

Entrepreneurs on the Rise: Second Career Women in Regional Japan

I'm fortunate that in my travels I often get to meet local people who are doing interesting and creative things.  I was able to write a profile of a couple of groups of women in Kyushu and Shikoku who have become successful small business entrepreneurs, producing condiments featuring local produce and local flavors.  (Archived article … Continue reading Entrepreneurs on the Rise: Second Career Women in Regional Japan

Usa Jingu: the original Hachiman shrine

There are more than 40,000 shrines across Japan that are specifically dedicated to Hachiman, the guardian god of warriors. Usa Jingu in northern Oita Prefecture is widely regarded as the oldest such shrine, with all the rest mere satellites of this parent. Hachiman is a posthumous deification of the 15th Japanese emperor, Ojin (201-312). There … Continue reading Usa Jingu: the original Hachiman shrine

Rakan-ji: Buddhist ascetism amid dramatic scenery, yet a sort-of hole in the wall

Not long ago, we were driving in north-central Oita on the island of Kyushu when we spotted a mountain with a hole it.  Needless to say, such a phenomenon must be explored!  So we did. We learned that the top of this mountain was historically a hermitage for the practice Buddhist asceticism--reputed to have been … Continue reading Rakan-ji: Buddhist ascetism amid dramatic scenery, yet a sort-of hole in the wall