“Tenrankai” show at Koya-san

In 2 weeks I will have an exhibition at mount Koyasan with 40 other artist. It will be a multi media exhibition and I will have my show in the Eko-in temple. I’m preparing and packing. We will travel for 6 hours and transfer several times on different trains to reach Koyasan in the mountains south of Osaka in Wakayama Prefecture.1) Invitation schedule Koya-san_1

This is the invitation brochure of all the shows during this special event week at Koyasan.
Look at the temples on the top of the hill of the drawing: elevate your spirits!

2) Inside pamphlet_1

Kôyasan is a sacred place that always welcomes people with Buddha’s great love.
It is home to an active monastic center founded twelve centuries ago by the priest Kûkai (posthumously known as Kôbô Daishi) for the study and practice of Esoteric Buddhism. It is the headquarters of the Kôyasan sect of Shingon Buddhism, a faith with a wide following throughout Japan.
Situated on a small plain at the top of Mount Kôya is the sacred area known as the Danjô Garan, a complex of temples, halls, pagodas and Buddhist statuary that welcome visitors to this serene and hallowed place.
Surrounded by a thick forest of massive cedars, the area known as Okuno-in, or the Inner Sanctuary, is the setting for a vast cemetery that features the mausolea of numerous famous Japanese, including that of the samurai ruler Toyotomi Hideyoshi as well as memorials to the spirits of soldiers killed in the Pacific War.
On July 7, 2004, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named Kôyasan as part of the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range” to its World Heritage List. Now as in the past, Kôyasan continues to attract visitors, including believers and devotees, from around the world.

You can read more about Koyasan on the date of January 5, 2009 of my blog. We went there with the family last December. So, please look in the categories of Family or Temples.

The inside of the invitation brochure.3) Full inside pamphlet_2

Zaimokuza Festival

The “zaimoku” in the name Zaimokuza means “lumber,” and the “za” generally means a guild of merchants and artisans who did business under the patronage of the large shrines, and temples in the Kamakura (1185/92-1333) and Muromachi periods (1335-1573).

Zaimokuza was a thriving port. In 1232, the port of Wakaejima, Zaimokuza’s old name, was constructed to cope with the expanding commerce. Following expansion, the area became a trading center for lumber, and many lumber merchants settled here. It has been declared a national Historical Landmark in 1924, because it’s the sole surviving example of artificial harbor of the Kamakura Period.

The Gosho Jinja Shrine was built in 1908 to combine 8 shrines in this neighborhood. This shrine is the tutelary deity of Zaimokuza.

There is a lively festival on the second Sunday of each June. The festival is attended by many local people and starts with a service at the Gosho Jinja Shrine and requests for blessings and good trade. The “Mikoshi”, a portable heavy shrine , is carried by the faithful on Zaimokuza’s streets and into the sea at Zaimokuza beach. This takes more than 3 hours. The Mikoshi is thought to be very old, because the repository contains a plaque marked and corresponding to 1642. A small structure next to the repository holds a neatly preserved stone tablet, inscribed with an era name corresponding to 1262 and has been designated a National Important Work of Art.

1) street_1

Many laborers hauled carts loaded with lumber from Wakaejima Port, loudly chanting kiyariondo,a lumber-carriers’ chant on their way to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, the new shrine for Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first shogun of Japan (1147-99). This chant has been handed down as tenno’uta in the Zaimokuza area. And so, it is still loudly chanted by all the carriers in a rythmic movement, swaying from one side to the other side of the street.(See the movie)


It is carried by men as well as women.

Also, children have their own mikoshi (on wheels) and learn it already at a young age.


On top of the shrine is a phoenix bird: the symbol of fire and divinity, immortality and invincibility.


Arriving on the beach.

And into the water!!

5) Watch the YouTube movie of the carriers coming out of the water and with their chants: Zaimokuza Festival: carrying the Mikoshi

Zaimokuza Beach

I’m back again in Japan. I have been in the USA for the graduation of my oldest son from UCSD and youngest son from USC and in The Netherlands for the celebration of my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday and for visiting and being with my middle son.

I got a very bad cold the day after I arrived and I start coughing now, but I don’t have a fever. So, I don’t think it is the Swine flu.
Entering Japan was not easy. The first time from the USA the health checkers came into the airplane, retrieving the filled out papers about in what countries you had visited and in the meantime checking us with a temperature instrument to see if someone had a fever. The second time, June 9, the rules were more relaxed and we could leave the plane and give the papers at a check point before entering the airport. Now, I will stay here for a while and for sure I will be healthy by then.

The weather is still quite bearable, especially here in Zaimokuza, the neighborhood in which I live, and where there is most of the time a breeze from the sea. June is rainy season and the humidity increases. There was a big storm the first day I arrived and probably it will rain again tomorrow, but for today luckily it stayed dry with all the clouds in the sky.

It is still Sunday today, but evening. There were lots of people out enjoying the beach. 2) People_1 People walking along the beach,                     children digging in the sand and jumping in the waves,1) Children_1

and special group gatherings on the beach like the Hawaii Club. Japanese people like anything from Hawaii: food, cloths and especially the music and dance.3) Hawaii dance_1


4) Playing along_1

The band is playing and the people are playing along on their Ukuleles.

Also, the summer season is almost upon us and they build again the summer recreation houses and restaurants on the beach for the vacationers and summer guests until the beginning of September.
7) Building_1

And then there was the Zaimokuza neighborhood festival today.