Out and About on the Noto Peninsula

At the main gate to the most sacred part of the temple compound, stone, wood, metal and nature combine to excite the senses in a subtle yet satisfying way.
At Sojiji….
Formally one of Japan’s most prominent Zen Buddhist temples, Sojiji still maintains an air of restrained grandeur.  It was originally founded in 1398 but a fire right at the end of the nineteenth-century was devastating and the main administrative functions were then moved to a temple in Yokoyama.

The earthquake of 2007, however, also took its toll but thankfully much was saved and repairs are ongoing.  A walk around the grounds reveal interesting vignettes, many of which are peerless while others are variations of similar assemblages to be found at temples up and down the country.  Nevertheless, the somewhat secluded location combined with the arrangement of the buildings is engaging.

Under the shelter of the gate, open-work screens add character to our passage through to the inner compound.  The ageing wood is rugged almost rude against the vivid green of newly unfurled leaves of an acer.
Weathered wood, acer leaves, stone and tiles as if on a stage-set.  Each tells a story.  Each are as they are only for that fraction of a second as the shutter opens and closes.
The main entrance to the Worship Hall is made all the grander with is Chinese style Kara-hafu gable and carvings.  The main roof beyond betrays the enormity of the space of the hall it covers.

Inside the Worship Hall and expanse of tatami matting is regimentally arranged.  The way the light reflects off the tightly woven igusa reed covering adds further to the interest of the arrangement.  Beneath the reed is tightly bound rice straw, which gives slightly as we walk across it.
Although Britain is well known for its antiques, it is shabby-chic or vintage items that are currently so fashionable.  This door epitomises the style.
A collection of materials which speak “quality” and should age gracefully.  A namako-kabe storehouse wall with its raised plaster grouting to dark stone tiles is a common finish for such buildings.  What is it called in Japanese?  It is a “sea cucumber wall”.  My guess is that it was named by a plasterer or by some cheeky carpenter and stuck.  Beyond glazed roof-tiles, wooden boards and boulders create a more rustic and less severe array.

Bill Tingey Photo © Copyright

Do feel free to pass on the address of this blog to anyone you think will be interested.  Or post it on a social media site.  Should you wish to leave a comment, please do so by clicking on the comment mark at the bottom left of this or any of the other posts.   If you have found this blog interesting, why not become a follower.  Thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment