12 Chapters of Nagoya Tour: Chapter 11 – Shiroyama and Kakuozan Course
We have arrived to the penultimate Chapter 11 of the 12 Chapters of Nagoya Tour. It had been a great few walking trips around the city of Nagoya and I have learned so much more about the city and its history. I hope you have enjoyed the previous chapters and continue to enjoy exploring with me. This chapter takes us through the neighbourhoods of Shiroyama and Kakuozan including Nittai-ji Temple that enshrines the remains of buddhism founder Shaka. So once again, come along with me for a short walk through history.
1. Nittai-ji Temple. A fairly young temple built in 1904 as a temple to represent the relationship between Thailand and Japan as well as a repository for the ashes of Shaka, the founder of buddhism. A gift from King Chulalongkorn of Thailand to Nagoya and hence the name Nittai-ji Temple (Japan-Thai Temple.) The grounds around the temple is vast and aside from the main hall there is a beautiful wooden 5-storey pagoda.
From the subway station the walk through to the temple is lined with trendy shops and cafes. On the 21st of each month there is a fair – kobo-san, along the street approaching the temple which bustles of stalls and people.
2. Yokiso. Built in 1918 as a vacation villa by Ito Jirozaemon Suketami, the first president of Matsuzakaya department store, a large and famous department store in Nagoya. Originally spread through a vast 35,000 square metres, only about 9,000 square metres remain at present. It has a beautiful Japanese garden that features an old bungalow moved here from the Owari Tokugawa family mansion and an old bridge. It also has a shrine with lovely tunnel of torii gates.
3. Nittai-ji Temple Hoanto. A short walk from the Nittai-ji Temple is the Hoanto or the Gandhara pagoda. Built in 1918 the pagoda is designed according to traditional buddhist architecture from Japan and India. The ashes of Shaka is believed to be imbedded within the stone pagoda. It is 15 metres high and quite different from the other pagodas I’ve previously seen in temples here. The huge area is surrounded with tombs.
4. Dairyu-ji Temple. This temple was built to grieve for souls of the dead workers during the construction of the Nagoya Castle. The Arhat hall houses 500 Arhat statues but, unfortunately, it is not open for public viewing.
5. Soo-ji Temple. This temple was built by Tokugawa Yoshinao to grieve for his dead mother. It is said that Yoshinao wrote the characters on the plaques at the entry and on the main hall. The main hall was formerly used as a sumo stable during the annual Nagoya sumo tournament as well as a famous venue for concerts by a variety of artists. The main hall was on top of the property where one had to climb up a few steps and although the hall was a bit old it was still beautiful.
6. Shobo-ji Temple. This temple was built by the daughter of Saji Tile’s founder to mourn for his death. Its original purpose was a school for nuns. When entering the temple grounds the first tower I saw was to store handwritten buddhist sutras from worshipers throughout Japan and transcribing is performed once a month.
7. Shiroyama Hachimangu Shrine (Ruins of Suemori Castle). Built on the former site of the Suemori Castle by Oda Nobuhide in 1548 and said to be doomed to abandonment in 1559. It is set on top of a hill and surrounded with lush forest.
8. Togan-ji Temple. Originally built in 1532 by Oda Nobuyuki in memory of his father Oda Nobuhide and moved to this current location in 1714. The giant green buddha, famously known as Nagoya buddha, was erected here in 1987. I visited this temple previously as I was quite intrigued that there is a giant buddha right in my neighbourhood. I might have expected a whole lot more than what I saw as I thought it wasn’t as impressive (as I had expected.) I don’t know about the rest of you but when I visited the temple I didn’t feel quite good about it. Maybe because of its unkempt atmosphere or I felt negative energy looming around the area. Maybe it’s just me. So I wasn’t too keen to re-visit it this time.
This was another surprising course for me as I didn’t have any idea how close I was to home and yet I discovered these interesting historical sites. I just hope I would have time in autumn to visit the special bridge again.
If you haven’t seen the earlier chapters here they are again:
Chapter 1: Nagoya Castle Course
Chapter 2: Course covering region of the Owari Tokugawa family and the Cultural Path
Chapter 3: Oda Nobunaga “Owari’s Foolhardy Youth” Course
Chapter 4: Course Covering the Birthplace of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Kato Kiyomasa
Chapter 5: Course for Experiencing Nagoya Manufacturing
Chapter 6: Nagoya Stroll Course
Chapter 7: Funtown Osu Course
Chapter 8: Atsuta History Course
Chapter 9: Course Featuring the Townscape of Arimatsu and the Battle of Okehazama
Chapter 10: Arako Walking Course of Maeda Toshiie
Looking forward to finishing this challenge and that you have enjoyed them as well.