The main hall of the temple, built in 1299 and designated as a national treasure, stands just beyond the large stone lanterns. It is the head temple of the Dainichi sect of Shingon Buddhism, and the clan temple of the Ashikaga clan, which has produced several shoguns.
Interestingly, this temple is listed as one of the 100 best castles in Japan. How can a Buddhist temple be considered a famous castle? The reason is that this place used to be the residence of the Ashikaga clan, and in 1196, Yoshikane Ashikaga, the second head of the Ashikaga clan, built Horiuchi Oomido, a Buddhist temple dedicated to Dainichi Nyorai, in his residence.
That being said, it makes sense that the temple is surrounded by dugouts. The temple was originally a samurai residence during the Kamakura period (1185-1333), so it was surrounded by earthen mounds and moats in case it was attacked. It is said that the earthen mounds and moats that remain today are the best remnants of a warrior's mansion from around the Kamakura period.
On this day, the grounds of the temple were empty. There were more pigeons hanging out around the gate than there were worhippers in the temple. When I set up my camera to take a picture of the main hall just ahead, a pair of pigeons that had been wandering around crossed my viewfinder in a friendly manner.
|Oct 2021 ANIMAL TOCHIGI|
|APPROACH ASHIKAGA PIGEON TEMPLE|
October 9, 2021
SONY ALPHA 7R II
ZEISS BATIS 2/40 CF