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Information here originally appeared in the past issues. Schedules and prices are subject to change without notice.

Octet Of Eights

Awata Shrine's Sword Pikes (Kenboko) [Awata Shrine] Kenboko or sword pikes are integral to festivals for the spirits of the dead. Awata shrine has 18 of these kenboko, of which some are famed for their ornate metalwork and standards (fukichiri) of fine cloth. The standards on kikuboko and tachibanaboko are beautifully nail woven (tsuzureori) original designs by the artist and ornamental designer Kamisaka Sekka, while the rear tapestry (miokuri) of the uritomoeboko is based on an Indian-ink painting by the artist Domoto Insho.

Origin of the Place Name "Yasaka" These are the eastward bound inclines spurring from the route between Gion (Yasaka) Shrine and Kiyomizu Temple. People named the area Yasaka (literally eight inclines) due to the hilly geography of the neighborhood. And then, as time passed, the inclines (saka or zaka) became eight landmarks - Gion-zaka, Chorakuji-zaka, Ryozen-zaka, Yamanoi-zaka, Shimogawara-zaka, Hokanji-zaka, Sannen-zaka and Kiyomizu-zaka - eventually came to represent Yasaka, or Eight inclines.



Ryozen-Kannon
 This religious site dedicated to the goddess of mercy was built in 1955 as a place of worship where people of all faiths can pray for the repose of those who died in The Second World War. The open-air concrete statue of the Goddess of Mercy, designed by the artist Yamazaki Choun, is 80 shaku(just over 80ft or 24m) high. Principle Buddhist images of the guardians watching over the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac are deified inside the statue.

Suikokan Salon
 The Suikokan salon was a regular meeting place for Sakamoto Ryoma and his fellow loyalists. And, it was here, that the loyalists from the Tosa and Choshu regions met to plot in secret about the fall of the Bakufu Government, the evening before the coup d'état on the 18th day of the 8th month of 1863. And that meeting is now referred to as the Suikokan Meeting. The building and the salon are now a Japanese style restaurant.



Todorokimon {Kiyomizu Temple}
 Todorokimon gate derives its name from the Japanese verb todorokasu, meaning "to let resound all over", which in the Buddhist case of Kiyomizu Temple meant "let resound all over the teachings of The Goddess of Mercy". And, Todorokimon is an eight-pillared-gate construction, which is a very rare design feature.

Emperor Takakura's Imperial Mausoleum [Seikanji Temple]
 The seventh prince of Emperor Go-Shirakawa, Emperor Takakura was the 80th emperor. And Nochi-no-Seikanji-no-misasagi is where his mausoleum stands, and the adjacent Hokyoin pagoda is said to be the tomb of the emperor's favorite mistress Kogo-no-Tsubone.



Hosshoji
 Hosshoji is said to be a clan temple built in 924 for the Fujiwara family. The guardian enshrined in the main hall is a standing 28-faced, thousand-armed Goddess of Mercy, and it is said that this was the principal image of Buddha in the kanchodo or supreme hall of the Hosshoji temple of old. This temple also is home to a statue of Fudomyoou (Acala) and sedentary statue of Yakushinyorai (Buddha able to cure all ills).

The Gardens of Hojo [Tofukuji Temple]
 The Hojo or Abbot's hall of Tofukuji Temple is an unusually colored hall surrounded by gardens. In 1939, the artist and garden designer Shigemori Mirei was commissioned to landscape gardens at Tofukuji Temple. His south garden (front garden) is an ocean of raked gravel known as the eight rough seas offset by giant stones expressing the Shisento islands.



map Awata Shrine Ryozen-Kannon Yasaka Todorokimon Suikokan Salon Seikanji Temple Tofukuji Temple Hosshoji

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