Shikoku Pilgrimage 2016 by Garyo, 31



Tamura Jinja and the Ritsurin Garden (temple 84)



It is estimated that there are around 100, 000 Jinjas (Shinto Shrines) in Japan.

Shinto means “way of the Gods.” Originally, the sun, the moon, mountains, trees

rocks, waterfalls, etc. were worshiped as gods or spiritual beings – spirits living

in them. Kamis were worshiped to ensure good harvests, prosperous life, etc.

One of the most fascinating Jinja’s I visited on my pilgrimage was the Tamura Jinja,

Ichinomiya (temple 83), the First Shrine in Sanuki Province now Takamatsu City.







A huge Torii (gate) at the entrance of the shrine symbolizes the transition from

profane to sacred ground. Torii means literally bird’s abode. In Japan, birds are

thought to have connections to the dead. 







Hotei, god of contentment and happiness, is one of seven Gods of Good Fortune

(sometimes, identified as Miroku Bosatsu, Maitreya Bodhisattva, Future Buddha,

Bodhisattva of Friendship) at the entrance of the shrine.







Many Torii’ are indicating the sacredness of the place (sometimes donated with

donors’ names).







The building, called Haiden (lit. player building, for the visitors to pray to the

the enshrined kami of the shrine.  Behind  this building stands Honden (lit. main

building), which is not accessible to the public.  The ritual in front of the Honden,

after cleaning hands and mouth, includes bowing, donating money, bowing twice,

clapping the hands twice, and bowing once (called ni-rei, ni-hakushu ichi-rei).







The Ox is dedicated to students.  If a student wants to pass an exam, the student first

has to turn the golden ball in the mouth of the ox, then crawl underneath a hole

under the sculpture and finally pray at a specific spot.







Many sculptures of dragons can be seen in Tamura Jinja.  Dragons are large,

wingless (unlike Western counterparts) and serpentine mythological creatures

associated with rainfall and bodies of water.  Unfortunately, I did not know much

about them, except that I loved these creatures (Eastern dragons may be more

benevolent than Western ones in relation to humans).







Dragon with Nyoi-shu, Wishi-fulfilling Gem







Torii with dragon and Shimenawa



Besides celebrating Matsuri (big public festivals), purification rituals for different

stages of life (birth, wedding…..) are performed. The photo below shows a ritual for

a new car to ensure safety and good luck.





The city of Takamatsu is also famous for the Ritsurin Garden, one of the most famous

historical gardens in Japan. Typical for Japanese gardens, every step I took provided

another beautiful view of the scenery. The Garden is located near the Shikoku-no-

michi, the Ohenro walking route.








Lake surrounded by black pines in the Ritsurin garden







Interesting bridge









Hako-matsu Pine trees (translated as box shaped pine).  The formation is achieved

by meticulous pruning methods. The scenery created by these pines is unique in the










This black pine tree is one of the most beautiful pine trees in the garden. It

symbolizes a white crane spreading its wings on an enormous tortoise back (rock

symbolizes the tortoise). The Tsuru-Kame-Matsu (Crane-Tortoise-Pine Tree) stands

for longivity. It is said that cranes live for one thousand years and tortoise for ten

thousand years. This tortoise composed of some one hundred rocks.






Wisteria trellis







White Wisteria in full bloom







Lady in Kimono in the Ritsurin garden




This entry was posted in Shikoku (Four States or Provinces). Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply