Monday, May 30, 2011
The temple Shiofune Kannonji in Oume Tokyo is one of the most famous spots to appreciate the spring azaleas. From late April to May visitors crowd the ancient temple surrounding slopes to enjoy the flowers.
According to the legend, the temple started in the Taika period (645-650) with the enshrinement of the golden multi-arm image of deity Kannon. Three of the remaining structures built in the muromachi period have been designated as national important cultural properties:
The hondo or main hall, a wooden structure with thatched roof, with a structure characteristic of the muromachi period.
The Nioumon, the main gate to the temple, a thatched roofed structure.
The Amidado, a wooden structure with hipped roof mono-layered in copper.
Additionally the surrounding buildings have been designated as important cultural properties by Oume city.
A very large Kannon statue at the top of the front slope has been recently erected to pray for peace.
The Azaleas around the temple are an unmatchable sight, 17,000 shrubs of different varieties of the flower, bloom continuously every spring, making the slopes look like a Matisse painting.
Another festival celebrated at the temple is the Buddhist rite of “cedar-stick bush burning”, a firewalking festival held in front of the gomado. I still have not been able to see this festival, but I expect to attend one in the near future.
View shiofunekannonji in a larger map