Above: Seizenji temple which the Narita clan built in the 15th century
6. Temples and Shrines Course
Three Lords of Oshi-han were buried at this temple.
(1) Temple/Shrine Town, Gyoda
There are so many temples such as 69 in Gyoda city, therefore Gyoda ranks at No.1 position in Japanese cities and villages. Also in Gyoda, there is the oldest temple in Saitama Prefecture. Soutou-shu sect occupies 15 temples because of existence of the Narita clan that had built the Oshi Castle.
Gyoda has almost the same number of shrines too. Features of temples and shrines in Gyoda are that some of them locate on the burial mound or area very close to the mound. Lord clan of Oshi Castle relates to the establishment of temples and shrines.
Coffee break 1:
Gyoda might be exhibit city of temples with several sects of Buddhism. (Eight sects for only temples that were built in the Middle Ages) Also there are temples that Samurais who worked for and royal to the Lord of Oshi Castle, has been buried.
(2) The reasons why there are so many temples in Gyoda
-1 Gyoda was a castle town, however building castle was prohibited in Edo period.
So, temples were built instead of castles. Temples might be expected to be a simple castle or headquarter at a battle.
-2 Temples often stood at border area between Samurai’s residence and area farmers lived.(Mochida, Komagata)
-3 The Lord sometime moved to another district with temples.
-4 The powerful families built temples in old days.
-5 The second successor, Encho who was a subordinate of Saicho in Tendai sect, was born in Sakitama area. There was an
atmosphere to accept temple since old days.
(3)Rough classification of temples:
-1 Temples that relate to local powerful clans.
Jyotokuji, Henjyoin, Shinganji, Kanpukuji and Shoganji etc.
-2 Temples that relate deeply to the Narita clan (About 1479-1590).
Chokyuji, Seizenji, Shokakuji and Kogenji etc.
-3 Temple that relate directly to the Tokugawa Ieyasu and his son Matsudaira Tadayoshi (1592-1600).
-4 Temples that relate deeply to the Abe clan (1639-1823).
-5 Temples that relate deeply to the Tokugawa Ieyasu, his daughter Kamehime and her son Matudaira Tadaakira (1583-1644).
Tenshoji, Torinji, Daizoji and Ryugenji (abolished)
(4) About Zen
The Zen sect is a type of Buddhism, spread by Japanese Buddhist priests who returned from China in the 12th and 13th centuries. From its origin Buddhism included Zazen (meditating in the lotus position) as a means of attaining enlightenment. The Zen sect teaches that its believers can rid themselves of disbelief and doubt by wholeheartedly sitting in contemplation. The Zen sect exerted a powerful influence on Bushido (literally “The Way of Warriors”), tea ceremony and the art of flower arrangement.
Today Zen is widely practiced in the U.S. and France where it has become an unpretentious fad.
Left: Sakitama shrine
The original fire of Sakitama Fire Festival was made through Hiokoshi ceremony at this Sakitama shrine.