On my way back from Todoroki Kujūku-taki I stopped at Jōuman-ji (城満寺) temple, the oldest Zen temple in Shikoku, having been founded in 1575. The temple sits on a slope, surrounded by hills on three sides, giving it a commanding seat overlooking Kaiyō (海陽町) and the sea beyond.

_DSF9158

Whilst the temple itself is over 400 years old, the original buildings were destroyed by war long ago and the current buildings were reconstructed or donated from other parts of Japan in the last 40 years following a fundraising campaign started by the previous head priest.

_DSF9162

The current chief priest, Kouya Tamura, is continuing with the reconstruction effort and since he speaks both English and Korean has also been very welcoming to foreign visitors.

_DSF9163

_DSF9164

_DSF9173

Whilst I was there I met an American monk, Mumon (無門), who has been studying Buddhism for the last 8 years and lives at the temple. He and his fellow devotees live a fairly simple life with a strict schedule, relying on donations from local people for most of their food.

_DSF9174

_DSF9169

A hot bath first requires lighting a fire to heat the water!

_DSF9175

As someone who has seen more than my fair share of Buddhist temples, Jōuman-ji struck me as particularly beautiful and serene in its unadorned simplicity. I hope I can return one day.

Comments

  1. Elizabeth Smith says:

    Thank you for this. I would love to go by here, should I ever get back to Japan and walk the Shikoku again. Love, Elizabeth, from Berlin/Germany

Leave a Reply