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The "Pilgrims' Stairs" | by rangaku1976
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The "Pilgrims' Stairs"

A visit to Hogonji Temple on Chikubu Island is well worth the climb up the 165 steps of the "Pilgrims' Stairs". At the top of the stairs is the courtyard of the Benzaitendo, the main hall of temple. The temple was originally built in 724 but was rebuilt in 1942. The "Rengee", Benzaiten statue, is enshrined here. It is the oldest of the three most famous statues of this goddess in Japan.

 

Chikubu Island is an island in Lake Biwa in Japan. The national government has designated it a special historic site.

 

Its area is 0.14 km² and its coastline measures 2 km. The highest point has an elevation of 197 m. It is under the administration of the city of Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture.

 

Several works of the Japanese performing arts relate to Chikubu. They include the Noh play Chikubushima and the Heike Biwa work Chikubushima Mōde, two koto melodies named Chikubushima, a jōruri (itchūbushi), a nagauta, and a tokiwazu-bushi of the same name.

 

On the island are various places of interest. In the southern part are the Tsukubusuma Shrine, said to have been established in 420, and Hōgon-ji, a Shingon temple said to date from 724. Formerly known as Chikubu Benzai-ten, it ranks with the Enoshima Shrine in the Kantō region and the Itsukushima Shrine in the Chūgoku Region as one of Japan's Three Great Benzaiten Shrines.

 

During the Sengoku period, retainers of Azai Nagamasa confined his father Hisamasa to Chikubu Island, forcing him into retirement and establishing Nagamasa as his successor.

 

Source: Wikipedia and The Yamasa Institute

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Taken on November 5, 2010