My five days trip to Okitsu, Shizuoka.
When my Japanese friend asked me to come to her hometown Shizuoka, I was very glad. I am happy to find such good friend.
I left for Shizuoka from Shinjuku station and traveled for three hours by local trains.
When I arrived I was surprised that Okitsu is a small town like my hometown Klaipeda, Lithuania. I felt the same atmosphere there too.
I was surprised that Okitsu is near the Pacific Ocean and in this area is the deepest part of the ocean. Back at Klaipeda, I live near the Baltic Sea. So I love the sea and the ocean very much. In Japanese umi means ocean and sea. So back at Okitsu, I felt like at home.
I got a chance to see the mountain Fuji scenery and it was inspiring.
I like Shizuoka nature very much.
For all five days, I ate vegetarian Japanese food, explored culture and traditions.
At New Year Eve I went to the temple and got a chance to ring a bell and wish best for everyone. In the morning we went for jinja`s (Shinto shrine) and pray.
I would talk more about New Year traditions. Most Buddhist temples start ringing their bells 108 times late on New Year`s Eve and continue into the early hours of New Year`s Day. Most of the people think that 108 tolls of the bell symbolize the casting away of 108 earthy desires, bonnou, which are believed to cause humans suffering. There are three different explanations why the bell is struck 108 times.
Firstly, the number of earthy desires, bonnou in Buddhism, it is said that humans have six physical elements: eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. These six elements are classified into three categories: good, evil and normal, representing 18 desires. These 18 desires are classified into purified and contaminated to become 36. There are past, present and future aspects for each of those 36 desires, so the total is 108. It is said that each bell sound erases one of 108 bonnou so that you can begin the New Year feeling refreshed.
Secondly, the seasonal divination. The number of months, 12 is added to 24, which is the number of seasonal divination in the solar calendar. Then a further 72 seasonal divisions that were in the ancient Chinese calendar are added. Therefore, the 108 total comes from the seasonal calendar of the year.
Thirdly, the struggle. Struggling and suffering is conveyed by the word shiku-hakku (four, nine, eight, nine: nine-ku is the homonym of ku, meaning suffering and struggling) in Japanese. The four represents four types of pain and suffering: life, age, disease, death. When you multiply 4×9 and 8×9 and add the results, you get a combined total of 108.
And the temple I went on New Year`s Eve was Seikenji Temple. I would like to introduce some facts about it.
History of Seikenji Temple
Seikenji is one of the famous Zen Temples in the Tokai district and from ancient times is well known for its beautiful scenery.
The history of this temple is reported to have started and developed with the establishment of `Sekisho` (Travelers checking point). This Buddhist temple was originally built in 679 and the foundation for the present temple was laid in 1262 during Kamakura era. The purpose was to foster peace and well-being in this district.
Ashikaga Takauji rebuilt the temple in 1342 and during the Ashikaga and Edo period, the temple flourished greatly.
The present building was constructed in 1702 and is therefore about 250 years old.
Thank you very much!!!I was happy to spend five great days with my friend family and friends.
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