I had the great pleasure of getting a personal tour of the restoration that is going on at a famous temple in Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, which was partially damaged by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
In fact, the tsunami didn't reach all the way up to the temple buildings, but just meters from the main gate. Did the ancient founders of this holy place know something that we don't? I guess so.
Zuiganji dates back to 828 when Ennin founded Enpukuji (Matsushimadera) in these parts.
There are still huge living trees that are at least 800 years old on the premises. And there are religious art from as far back as the Heian period, i e before those trees were first grown.
However, the Hondo (Main Hall) needed repairs. The entire ground had sunk about 40-60 centimeters due to the March 11, 2011 earthquake, and while the outer damage was small, the entire wooden construction needed major attention. Dealing with the way the large wooden roof trunks are fitted together, to the many clay tiles on top, and to the pillars that keep it all straight and up; a project was commenced to manage the damage. Also, some 1903 (Meiji era) repairs needed to be updated, for example the use of rusty iron nails, a novelty at the time, just 110 years ago.
I was allowed to put on a red "visitor" helmet and climb around this amazing restoration project, aimed to be completed in 2015 or later, if everything goes well.
The modern steel pipe scaffolding goes all the way up to the top, to places where one would never usually see that amount of detail that went into the wood carving and the architecture, if that is the proper term. The guys who are working here, previously did the roof for the restoration of Kinkakuji in Kyoto...
Much of the bent roof style has significance, for example, to deal with rain and moisture, which damage the wood.
There are all kinds of religious significances too, but as I tried to avoid hitting my (red helmet) -covered head, I was thinking more about how the ancient artisan workers and wood carvers and heavy-wood lifters felt. Note that the Zendo is off limits. I like that. This is a living Zen temple with young guys practicing.
And this is not one of the largest Hondo buildings, just one among many Zen temples and other structures that we need to care about, with roots in ancient Japan, that still stands.
Blogs I Like
- Ad B: Japan Navigator
- Amy: Blue Lotus
- Andrew: Wild in Japan
- Boing Boing: Wonderful Things
- Brendan: UNU OurWorld 2.0
- Chaobang's Travels
- Hiroko & Rick: Itadakimasu
- Jared B: Tokyo Green Space
- Joan: Popcorn Homestead
- John T: Temple Valley Times
- Jon: Toshogu or As I See Japan... From L.A.
- Justin B: The Rational Pessimist (Climate & Risk)
- Kat: Food Adventures in Japan
- Ken: adams guild in rural Aichi and Nagano
- MTC: Shisaku
- Mari: Watashi to Tokyo
- Otakimura: In The Pines
- P: Pacific Islander
- Peko Peko: Kyoto Foodie
- Richard H: Spike Japan
- Risa & Kirk: Savory Japan
- Robert: Pure Land Mountain
- Shizuoka Gourmet
- Ten Thousand Things
- Tom: Kitchen Garden in Japan
Links I Like
- NGOs: Amnesty
- NGOs: Consumers Union (US) Food
- NGOs: Consumers Union of Japan
- NGOs: Greenpeace
- NGOs: Greenz.jp
- NGOs: Japan Organic Agriculture Association
- NGOs: Japan Vegetarian Society
- NGOs: Japan for Sustainability
- NGOs: Organic Consumers Association (US)
- News: About Sweden in English
- News: BBC
- News: Der Spiegel (Germany) in English
- News: Deutche Welle
- News: Japan Agri News
- News: Kyoto Journal (Japan)
- News: Mainichi
- News: NHK World Society & Others (Japan)
- News: People's Daily (China)
- News: The Local (Sweden)
- News: Yonhap (Korea)
- Shops: Alishan Organic Center
- Shops: Eco to Waza (GreenJapan)
- Shops: Warabe Mura
- Stuff: Japan Probe