Temples Of Japan

Oyaji Temple

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Oyaji Temple
Oyaji Temple Main Worship Hall Entrance

Oyaji temple is located about 5 miles northwest of center of Utsunomiya city.  To get to this temple for go to JR Utsunomiya Station (use the Tohoku Shinkansen) and from there take a bus to Oyaji Temple. 

Oyaji Temple is the nineteenth temple in the Bando (33 Kannon temples of kanto region) pilgrimage circuit.

Oyaji Temple Seal

Oyaji temple is said to have been founded by the great Buddhist Monk Kobo Daishi in 810.  The main hall of the temple is actually a rock cave with a great front entrance (see above).  Inside the main hall we find the merciful images of Oya Kannon (designated as important cultural properties of Japan) cut in relief on the rock face.

Just outside the main temple precincts there is a tall kannon statue cut from the mountain rock.  This kannon statue is called Heiwa Kannon means Kannon who stands for Peace.

Heiwa (Peace) Kannon Statue

This Kannon statue is about 90 feet high and is carved out of the mountain rock after World War II to be dedicated to the war dead and for the promotion of world peace.

As mentioned above inside the main worship hall there are ten Kannon statues (known as Oya Magaibutsu) carved out of the rock as a relief.  Among stone sculptures in Japan, these Buddha images are considered to represent the most distinguished technical achievement.

These ten rock carved images consist of: Shaka Sanzon (three Buddhas of Shaka), Yakushi Sanzon (Three Buddhas of Yakushi), Amida Sanzen (Three Buddhas of Amida) and the Senjy Kannon Bosatsu (Oya Kannon).

The main worshiped deity is the Oya Kannon which is the principal image of these ten images. 

Oya Kannon Statue

Senju kannon, called Senju SengenKanjizai Bosatsu has one thousandhands, each hand holding ane ye, representing the desire to save mankind.  This standing figure, with full cheeks, level shoulders, broad muscular chest, hands clasped in prayer and eyes gazing into the eternal beyond, gives an impression of both power and stillness.  This power and stillness is a characteristic of Buddha images of the 8th and 9th centuries.  These images have been carved in the early Heian era (794-1185) and it stands 389 centimeters high.

These figures were first carved roughly into the wall surface, then clay was used to smooth and finish; finally color was applied.  Due to fire damage during the Edo era, some clay has fallen off, leaving parts of the rock exposed.  After extensive investigations by the Ministry of Education to preserve these images, a repairing work by using synthetic resin was done for three years starting in September, 1962.  Finally in 1965 the reinforcement work for preventing disasters (such as earthquakes) was  also done.

Here is a video of this magnificent Oyaji Temple.

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