Goshuin number 19 is from the 鑁阿寺 (Banna-ji). I was walking around Ashikaga one fine morning (looking for the Ashikaga Orihime Shrine, actually) and came across this temple instead! At first, I wasn’t sure what it was; the entire compound is surrounded by a high wall and a moat, which is definitely NOT common for temples or shrines. I thought it might have been an old castle or an important historical site, and I wasn’t completely wrong!
Built during the Kamakura period (the start of a number of shogunates, in which Japan was ruled by a Shogun, a military dictator. This is also when the position of samurai was created), the site was originally a stronghold for the Ashikaga Clan. This explains the various fortifications, ’cause what’s a stronghold without a wall and moat?? Eventually, the temple took the place of the original castle, and it became the main temple for the Ashikaga Clan.
There are lots of cool buildings in the compound, a huge ginko tree that is six centuries old, and a covered gate in the front (which is also rare). There was also a shishimai (Lion Dance) omikuji machine by the temple which I couldn’t resist! There is a picture below, but go to the end of the post for a video.
Date received: May 1, 2018
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