Good afternoon from the Itoigawa Global Geopark! Today is the first day back from Golden Week, a long series of holidays in late April and early May. I’m feeling well-rested and ready to start working again to bring you the latest information from Itoigawa!
My Golden Week was a relaxed one. While most people use the long holiday as an opportunity to travel far and wide, I’m quite content to enjoy the sights right here in Itoigawa. I’ll share one of those locations with you today!
Nanasha-Ookami, a small shrine located in the Rendaiji District of Central Itoigawa, is a quiet shrine on a hilltop. It is unknown how long this shrine has existed.
The shrine has a surprisingly large grounds for its size, making it an excellent place to stop and forget the outside world for a few moments.
Of particular interest is this building, located beside the main shrine. Called the Gohyakurakando, or Hall of the 500 Enlightened. This building houses a large collection of Buddhist statues, carved during the early 1800s by a single priest who lived nearby.
Another view of the Gohyakurakando from behind the main shrine building.
Such displays can be found throughout Japan and Itoigawa is no exception. The statues were carved by a single priest over the course of 10 years. He placed these statues in his temple, which has since been lost, as a way of praying for the people of his community. A popular folk legend says that if you look long enough at the faces of these statues, each one unique, you will find your own face among them.
I just hope mine isn’t the guy on the left with the shoulder problem.