Doryuji Temple

Doryuji Temple is said to have been built in 1243 during the Kamakura period by a Chinese Zen Buddhist monk named “Rankei-Doryu.” This Zen master from South Song Dynasty subsequently went to Kamakura, where the Shogunate was established, and built one of the m…

Spring Festivals

Spring has a special status in Japanese tradition and psyche as it represents a new beginning. That sentiment is reflected by the fact that the Japanese schools and businesses start their new year in April.

Spring is also a season of festivals. Our town, Ki…

Shrines & Temples

Religion in Japan has a long and complex history. Most people incorporate aspects of the native Shinto and imported Buddhism. This kind of syncretism started in the 6th century, when Buddhism was introduced to Japan through China.

Shrines and temples had co…

New Year’s Festivals

Japanese new year’s holiday is pretty much equivalent to Christmas holiday in the West. Like in the West, it is a special time of year in which family members reunite. In Kimotsuki we have some festivals to commemorate the beginning of the year. Most of these …

Nagoshi-don

Every summer in the coastal village of Kishira in Kimotsuki Town there is a Shinto ceremony called “Nagoshi-don” or “the passing of the summer festival” in local dialect. It is rather rare and unusual because it is performed on the beach instead of at the Shri…

Rice Field Gods

Rice field gods, known as Ta-no-kamisama or Ta-no-kansaa in the local dialect, are stone statues that stand guard over the fields, and serve as a symbol of fertility.

Rice growing has long been considered to be one of the most sacred acts in Japan for thous…

Koyama Castle

Koyama was once a castle town of the Kimotsuki Clan, who had ruled most of Ohsumi region for nearly 600 years before surrendering to the Shimadzu clan of Satsuma in late 16th century.

About a ten-minute drive from downtown Koyama lies a little mountain whic…