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Buddhism From Across the Sea

In the mid 6th century, Buddhism was brought from China to Japan via Korea. At first, Japanese leaders adopted Buddhism into their politics and used it to rule the nation. Soon the teachings of Buddhism became a moral standard. And at the same time, they naturally harmonized Buddhism with traditional Shintoism (native religion of Japan). In the 13th century, sophisticated Zen priests were invited to Japan and they spread the art, literature, and advanced scientific knowledge of China. Japanese priests absorbed all of it, and developed a unique Japanese style Buddhism over the centuries. As a result, these religious concepts have been broadly incorporated into the lifestyle of the Japanese people.
In this series, I would like to introduce six special priests from old China who had a great influence on Japanese Buddhism between the 8th and 17th centuries.

INDEX

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1. Priest Ganjin (688-763): Nara’s Toshodai-ji Temple
2. Priest Rankei Doryu (1213-1278): Kamakura’s Kencho-ji Temple
3. Priest Mugaku Sogen (1226-1286): Kamakura’s Engaku-ji Temple
4. Priest Issan Ichinei (1247-1317): Izu’s Shuzen-ji Temple
5. Priest Ingen Ryuki (1592-1673): Kyoto’s Manpuku-ji Temple
6. Priest Toko Shinetsu (1639-1696): Tochigi’s Daio-ji Temple
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Izu Shuzen-ji

Shuzen-ji is in the middle of Izu Peninsula, a land mass formed by a collision of below-the-sea volcanoes and the Japan main island 600,000 years ago. Even now, these volcanoes are quite active under ground, the source of a lot of hot springs throughout the peninsula. In 807, a famous Buddhist monk, Kukai (Kobo Daishi) discovered the first spring in the current Shuzen-ji district and established Shuzen-ji Temple there. Since then, we have been enjoying the blessings of these wonderful, healthy hot springs.

INDEX

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1 Shuzen-ji Temple: Buddhist from across the sea, Priest Issan Ichinei
2 Shigetsu-den Temple: Samurai tragedy and a Chinese priest
3 Shuzen-ji Hie Jinja Shrine: Sacred cedar trees for the blessing of children
4 Shuzen-ji bamboo path: A refreshing and magical place
5 Shuzen-ji riverside walk: A historical site rich in its variety

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Miura Peninsula

Miura Peninsula is a nature resort, just one-hour from Tokyo by car or train. The east side consists of Yokosuka, which faces Tokyo Bay, and includes military bases of both the U.S. and Japan. The south side has a tuna fishing port and the beautiful island of Joga-shima. The west side includes many beach resorts, with views of wonderful sunsets behind Mt. Fuji.
When the head samurai of the Genji clan, Minamoto Yoritomo (the first Shogun of Kamakura Shogunate), took up arms against the Heike clan (late 13th), the local soldiers from this area immediately declared themselves to be with him. Later (in the early 17th century), it became a territory of the Tokugawa Shogunate. British sailor and blue-eyed samurai, William Adams (Miura Anjin), received land here. In the mid 19th century this area was developed as an important point for Japan’s national defense. Here is also the place that Commodore Perry left his first step on Japan.
To commemorate these historical facts, there are quite a few memorial spots in this area.
Joga-shima Island in the south of the peninsula is a fun seaside resort. Because of the Pacific Ocean’s current, it is much warmer than other areas in winter. Near Joga-shima, there is also the enjoyable Misaki Fish Market. It is famous for its large catches of tuna.

INDEX

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1 Tsukayama Koen Park: Memorial of the Blue-eyed Samurai
2 Verny Park: Memorial of the French Technologist for Steel and Shipbuilding
3 Kannon-zaki Lighthouse: The entrance of Tokyo Bay
4 Kurihana’s Perry Park: Commodore Perry’s first landing place
5 At Kanagawa’s scenic seaside resort: "At Kanagawa’s scenic seaside resort"
6 A fun one-day trip: A fun one-day trip
7 Misaki Fish Market: See the tuna bidding process in auction
8 Kawazu-zakura along the Keikyu Line: Early Cherry Blossoms
9 Aburatsubo Seaside Walking: Enjoy “Diamond Fuji”

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