Ranking 5th in number of temples
On hearing the word temples, you most likely think of Kyoto or Nara. Other regions known for temples are Kamakura and Hiraizumi. But Aizu also has a thriving Buddhist culture. Aizu ranks 5th in the number of temples in the region, with the aforementioned 4 locations ranking in the top 4.
Kannon carved from a single tree
“Guided by the priest, we enter the Kannon (or Buddha) hall where the main Buddha statue, Eleven Faced Thousand Arms Buddha, is enshrined. Usually, the statue is not available for public viewing, but we were allowed a special worship session. After completing our initial prayer for the special viewing, we came face to face with the Kannon which stood approximately 8.5 meters tall. We had to look up to see the face of the majestic Kannon.
This Buddha statue which was carved about 1200 years ago in 808, is also called Tachiki Kannon. It is called ”Tachiki” which means standing tree, because it was carved from a single tree. After hearing this, Nakata took a second look at the Kannon statue. He commented loudly ”It’s amazing there was a tree of this size. It is so big.”
A Hugging Pillar to bring to fulfill all prayers
Also as famous as the main Buddha, Tachiki Kannon, is the Hugging Pillar. To the right of the Tachiki Kannon, there is a large pillar called the Hugging Pillar which is believed to fulfill one’s prayers when you hug it. The custom started when people began hugging the pillar instead of the Buddha statue to have their prayers granted. Even now, people look to the Buddha statue on the left as they embrace the Hugging Pillar.
- Kintosan Eryuji Temple
- 2944 Matsubara, Toji, Aizubangemachi, Kawanuma, Fukushima
- URL http://tachikikannon.jp/