What is Kunisaki peninsula?
Kunisaki Peninsula is an isolated mountainous region deep in rural Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands. It is known as sacred place where ascetic Buddhist monks trained to attain spiritual enlightenment.
The landscape shaped by volcanoes, such as Futago-san Mountain located in the centre of the peninsula , the area is rich in natural resources such as andesite and tuff.
As a result, you will find Fudo Myo-o carved in cliffs and rocks in river and also stone statues of Nio around the area.
* Fudo Myo-o: The Wisdom King Acala who is the guardian of Buddhism and one of the five Wisdom kings. He carries devil-subduing sword in right hand, holds rope in left hand and is seated on rock.
* Nio: Statues of two wrath-filled and muscular guardians of the Buddha. Agyō, open-mouthed statues who is the symbol of overt violence and Ungyō. Symbolises latent strength, holding his mouth tightly shut.
It is said that 80% of stone statues of Nio is found in Kunisaki Peninsula. Apart from status of Nio, thanks to unique local religious culture, you will also find various Buddhism statues in many different expressions, in anger, modesty, humorous and so on.
Kunisaki has been certified as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) for highly regarded integrated Forestry, Agriculture and Fisheries system. The region consisted of ridges and gorges and arable lands were limited. There was no land to create ponds and furthermore, low rainfall and volcanic soil made difficult to obtain enough water.
Ancestors planted Kunugi, Sawtooth Oaks to collect water and build connected system of Sawtooth Oak forests and multiple interlinked irrigation ponds. Sawtooth Oaks are regularly trimmed and logs are used to cultivate Shiitake mushrooms. It helps to stimulate the forest’s metabolism and to conserve the various ecosystems.
Thanks to this rich natural environment and recycling-based agricultural systems, it is also the only area in Japan to cultivate Shichitoi rush, which used to weave luxurious tatami mats.
Kunisaki Peninsula is known as the place where Shinbutsu-shugo first begun in Japan. Shinbutsu-shugo is syncretisation of Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan which involves the worship of ancestors and nature spirits and believes in sacred power, with Buddhism which arrived in Japan in the sixth century. This is a common religious belief in modern day Japan and said to begun from Usa Shrine in Kunisaki Peninsula.
The peninsula is also known for a unique local Buddhist culture called “Rokugo Manzan”, which contains elements of Buddhism, Shinto and mountain worship. It revolves around the peninsula’s numerous temples and Usa Shrine and was founded by a legendary monk called Ninmon Bodhisattva in 718.
For example, Torii, a gate which marks the entrance to sacred space and normally found at the entrance of Shinto shrine, is also found at Buddhist temples. Furthermore, both Kamidana, Shinto altars and Butsudan, Buddhist altars are often found in one household.
Visit some of the most undisturbed spiritual places of Japan with over 1,300 years of history.
WHAT YOU WILL EXPERIENCE:
* Please ask us for seasonal activities – Eg. Spring: Visit rape-flower field and experience Japanese tea picking, Summer: Visit sun flower fields, Autumn: Visit beautiful autumn foliage and Japanese tea picking, Winter: Visit sake warehouses and sample local Sake.
* Tour routes and contents may change.
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