A Walk Around Kyushu
Day 68, Yoshii to Hirado Part 1
Thursday March 20th, 2014
So I am back in Sasebo to begin the final leg of my walk around Kyushu following an 88 temple pilgrimage around the island. On this leg I will finish with Nagasaki Prefecture, then dip back into Saga Prefecture, before heading into Fukuoka and to the final destination at Munakata.
|Ohashikannon-ji Great Bridge|
I take an early train out of Sasebo up to Yoshii where I finished a few weeks ago. I can see the temple on the hillside but with fresh legs am not bothered by the climb. On the hillside in front of the temple is a large children's playground. The main building of Ohashikannon-ji is made of concrete but its proportions, low and wide with a flared roof, make it quite elegant.
Draped across the front of the building is a wide curtain in the five colors of Buddhism, purple, white, red, yellow, & green, and with two lanterns either side of the steps it also contributes to its simple elegance. Inside the hall, which is comparatively light compared to most temples, an older lady is busy setting out offerings and arranging things.
The colored banner hung on the building suggests to me that a festival is to take place later so I do not pester here with questions. On the main altar is a fine statue of Fudo Myo, and off to one side a "shinto" altar flanked by two fox statues. In the middle is a small statue of a coiled snake of a type I often see connected to Benzaiten.
Behind the main hall is a smaller, wooden hall and the priest's house and from here a stone path lined with statues leads up the mountain to where the namesake of the temple lies. Ohashi means "Great Bridge," and a short way behind the temple is a huge natural bridge spanning an opening in the cliff. Soaring about 60 meters above, the sandstone bridge is split into two for most of its span. I would guess it to be close to 100 meters wide. Down below numerous statues and altars are set into the cliff face.
Fudo Myo of course makes an appearance. I have a long distance I want to cover today and its overcast and cool so I should be able to make a good pace so I head back down the hill and start to head up the main road towards Hirado to the north.
I am much more comfortable walking these back roads. They wind around small hills and cross small valleys, offering different views with almost every turn. There is also almost no traffic. Getting closer to the church I pass by the Tabira Insect Museum which does not look as if it ever gets busy. Tabira Church is a large red brick structure designed by Tetsukawa Yosuke, like many of the churches in this area, and was completed in 1917. On an overcast day like today it does not look special, but inside it is bright and airy with lots of stained glass.
|Bridge to Hirado|
A Walk Around Kyushu Day 67
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