Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jigenji Park



This is Jigenji station, about 20 minutes south of Kagoshima-chuo station. It's really nothing more than a metal box, holding the station master's office, the ticket machine, and the toilets. The staircase to the left is the crossover to get to the platform on the other side of the tracks.



If you follow the tracks south about a kilometer, you get to a crossroad leading west with a sign advertising the Kagoshima Archeology museum. If you then follow the signs another kilometer, you'll get to the Somen Nagasu restaurant bus stop for Jigenji Park. Going down the stairs from the parking lot, you'll reach the open-air restaurant, which serves chilled somen noodles sliding down a water-filled trough. Right next to that is a part of the Kagoshima version of the 88-Buddha pilgrimage road.



From the marker:
"A place of pilgrimage for Kagoshima believers
The stone Buddhas of Jigenji Park
--- 19 Buddhas in the Valley of Autumn Colors ---
It is said that the Buddhist priest Kobo Taishi compared the four districts of Shikoku to the four evils of Jigoku, Gaki, Chikusho and Shura and founded 88 holy places for each of the 88 earthly desires.

Followers who long for the great priest's virtues gather every year from all over Japan to make this 1,200 kilometer pilgrimage of the 88 Shikoku holy places. Shikoku, however, is so far from Kagoshima that the Jizen Buddhist congregation of Kagoshima decided in 1928 of Kobo Taishi in umegabuchi (in Ishiki), Shiroyama and here in Jigenji.

Numbers 68 to 88 line the Valley of Autumn Colors, a seated figure of Kobo in the further recess surveying the whole valley."



The English on the marker sign is garbled in the middle. I assume that the missing part says "in 1928 to set up 88 smaller statues in the three locations of". To reach Umegabuchi I'd need a car, but I've been to the Shiroyama site, which is close to the cave where Takamori Saigo hid out at the end of the Satsuma War.


(Map showing the 3 Buddha statue sites.)

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