Tuesday, April 25, 2006

More Matsuyama - Ishite-ji

OK, sorry for the delay, I wanted to give Ishite-ji a proper write up.

This temple is the 51st of the 88 temples that make up the Shikoku pilgrimage, an ancient ritual still popular today, in which pilgrims spend a month or so wandering around the circumference of the island of Shikoku. Most Japanese people don't have the time or opportunity to do this, so its mostly the rich and retired who take part nowadays.

The temple grounds were a ramshackle sort of place, not terribly well maintained, which gave it a rather charming atmosphere. But the tunnel through the mountain with movement-activated strobe lighting and the parked space ship out the back made it really special.

The big golden onion nestled in the trees which looked like it might take off at any moment was decked out on the inside like an old fashioned cinema, or some sort of cult headquarters, with red velvet chairs, a video projector and lots of grinning statues. I think it was really part of the selection of Burmese Buddhist buildings which were scattered around the site, they had a very different feel to them, and lent an even more Dadaist edge to the place.

So, on to the photos...

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