A gongen "incarnation", was believed to be the manifestation of a buddha in the form of an indigenous kami, an entity who had come to guide the people to salvation, during the era of shinbutsu-shūgō in premodern Japan. The words gonge and kegen are synonyms for gongen. Gongen shinkō is the term for belief in the existence of gongen; the gongen concept is the cornerstone of the honji suijaku theory, according to which Buddhist deities choose to appear to the Japanese as native kami in order to save them, based on the Mahayana Buddhist notion of upaya, "expedient means". It is sometimes assumed. However, the term was created and started being used in the middle of the Heian period in an effort to harmonize Buddhism and indigenous religious practice in what is called shinbutsu-shūgō or "syncretism of kami and buddhas". At that time, the assumption that Japanese kami and buddhas were the same evolved into a theory called honji suijaku, which held that native kami were manifestations or avatars of buddhas and other Buddhist deities.
The theory spread around the country and the concept of gongen, a dual entity composed of a buddha and a kami, evolved. Under the influence of Tendai Buddhism and Shugendō, the gongen concept was adapted to religious beliefs tied to Mount Iwaki, a volcano, so that female kami Kuniyasutamahime became associated with Avalokiteśvara ekadaśamukha, Ōkuninushi with Bhaisajyaguru and Kuninotokotachi with Amitābha; the title "gongen" started being attached to the names of kami and shrines were built within the premises of large Buddhist temples to enshrine their tutelary kami. During the Japanese Middle Ages, shrines started being called with the name gongen to underline their ties to Buddhism. For example, in Eastern Japan there are still many Mount Haku shrines where the shrine itself is called either gongen or jinja; because it represents the application of Buddhist terminology to native kami, the use of the term was abolished in the Meiji Restoration with the Shinto and Buddhism Separation Order and shrines began to be called jinja.
Izuna Gongen called "Izuna Myōjin" and enshrined in Izuna Shrine in Nagano, is similar to a tengu and represents the kami of Mount Iizuna. Izusan Gongen or Hashiri-yu Gongen is the spirit of a hot spring on Izusan, a hill in Shizuoka Prefecture, enshrined in the Izusan Jinja Kumano Gongen known as Three Mountains of Kumano; the kami enshrined in the three Kumano Sanzan Grand Shrines and worshipped in Kumano shrines are the three Kumano mountains: Hongū, Shingū, Nachi. Seiryū Gongen was enshrined in Jingo-ji in Takao as the tutelary kami of Shingon Buddhism by Kūkai. Tōshō Daigongen is one of the most famous examples of gongen, representing Tokugawa Ieyasu posthumously enshrined in so-called Tōshō-gū shrines present all over Japan; the original one is Nikkō Tōshō-gū in Tochigi. Zaō Gongen or Kongō Zaō Bosatsu is a deity worshiped in Shugendō. Gongen-zukuri is the name of a complex Shinto shrine structure in which the haiden, or worship hall, the honden, or main sanctuary, are interconnected under the same roof in the shape of an H.
One of the oldest examples of gongen-zukuri is Kitano Tenmangū in Kyoto. The name comes from Nikkō Tōshō-gū in Nikkō because, as we have seen, it enshrines the Tōshō Daigongen and adopts this structure; the Glossary of Shinto for an explanation of terms concerning Japanese Shinto, Shinto art, Shinto shrine architecture Tamura, Yoshiro. Japanese Buddhism — A Cultural History. Tokyo: Kosei Publishing Company. Pp. 232 pages. ISBN 4-333-01684-3. Breen, Mark Teeuwen. Shinto in History: Ways of the Kami. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-2363-4. OCLC 43487317. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list
Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions and spiritual practices based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are recognized by scholars: Theravada and Mahayana. Most Buddhist traditions share the goal of overcoming suffering and the cycle of death and rebirth, either by the attainment of Nirvana or through the path of Buddhahood. Buddhist schools vary in their interpretation of the path to liberation, the relative importance and canonicity assigned to the various Buddhist texts, their specific teachings and practices. Observed practices include taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, observance of moral precepts, monasticism and the cultivation of the Paramitas.
Theravada Buddhism has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia such as Myanmar and Thailand. Mahayana, which includes the traditions of Pure Land, Nichiren Buddhism and Tiantai, is found throughout East Asia. Vajrayana, a body of teachings attributed to Indian adepts, may be viewed as a separate branch or as an aspect of Mahayana Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism, which preserves the Vajrayana teachings of eighth-century India, is practiced in the countries of the Himalayan region and Kalmykia. Buddhism is an Indian religion attributed to the teachings of the Buddha born Siddhārtha Gautama, known as the Tathāgata and Sakyamuni. Early texts have his personal name as "Gautama" or "Gotama" without any mention of "Siddhārtha," which appears to have been a kind of honorific title when it does appear; the details of Buddha's life are mentioned in many Early Buddhist Texts but are inconsistent, his social background and life details are difficult to prove, the precise dates uncertain. The evidence of the early texts suggests that he was born as Siddhārtha Gautama in Lumbini and grew up in Kapilavasthu, a town in the plains region of the modern Nepal-India border, that he spent his life in what is now modern Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Some hagiographic legends state that his father was a king named Suddhodana, his mother was Queen Maya, he was born in Lumbini gardens. However, scholars such as Richard Gombrich consider this a dubious claim because a combination of evidence suggests he was born in the Shakyas community – one that gave him the title Shakyamuni, the Shakya community was governed by a small oligarchy or republic-like council where there were no ranks but where seniority mattered instead; some of the stories about Buddha, his life, his teachings, claims about the society he grew up in may have been invented and interpolated at a time into the Buddhist texts. According to the Buddhist sutras, Gautama was moved by the innate suffering of humanity and its endless repetition due to rebirth, he set out on a quest to end this repeated suffering. Early Buddhist canonical texts and early biographies of Gautama state that Gautama first studied under Vedic teachers, namely Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, learning meditation and ancient philosophies the concept of "nothingness, emptiness" from the former, "what is neither seen nor unseen" from the latter.
Finding these teachings to be insufficient to attain his goal, he turned to the practice of asceticism. This too fell short of attaining his goal, he turned to the practice of dhyana, which he had discovered in his youth, he famously sat in meditation under a Ficus religiosa tree now called the Bodhi Tree in the town of Bodh Gaya in the Gangetic plains region of South Asia. He gained insight into the workings of karma and his former lives, attained enlightenment, certainty about the Middle Way as the right path of spiritual practice to end suffering from rebirths in Saṃsāra; as a enlightened Buddha, he attracted followers and founded a Sangha. Now, as the Buddha, he spent the rest of his life teaching the Dharma he had discovered, died at the age of 80 in Kushinagar, India. Buddha's teachings were propagated by his followers, which in the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE became over 18 Buddhist sub-schools of thought, each with its own basket of texts containing different interpretations and authentic teachings of the Buddha.
The Four Truths express the basic orientation of Buddhism: we crave and cling to impermanent states and things, dukkha, "incapable of satisfying" and painful. This keeps us caught in saṃsāra, the endless cycle of repeated rebirth and dying again, but there is a way to liberation from this endless cycle to the state of nirvana, namely following the Noble Eightfold Path. The truth of dukkha is the basic insight that life in this mundane world, with its clinging and craving to impermanent states and things is dukkha, unsatisfactory. Dukkha can be translated as "incapable of satisfying," "the unsatisfactory nature and the general insecurity of all conditioned phenomena". Dukkha is most translated as "suffering," but this is inaccurate, since it refers not to episodic suffering, but to the intrinsically unsat
In Japanese beliefs, Hachiman is the syncretic divinity of archery and war, incorporating elements from both Shinto and Buddhism. Although called the god of war, he is more defined as the tutelary god of warriors, he is the divine protector of Japan, the Japanese people and the Imperial House, the Minamoto clan and most samurai worshipped him. The name means "God of Eight Banners", referring to the eight heavenly banners that signaled the birth of the divine Emperor Ōjin, his symbolic animal and messenger is the dove. Since ancient times Hachiman was worshiped by peasants as the god of agriculture and by fishermen who hoped he would fill their nets with much fish. In Shinto, he became identified by legend as the Emperor Ōjin, son of Empress Jingū, from the 3rd–4th century. After the arrival of Buddhism in Japan, Hachiman became a syncretistic deity, fusing elements of the native kami worship with Buddhism. In the Buddhist pantheon in 8th century AD, he became Hachiman Great Bodhisattva; because as Emperor Ōjin he was an ancestor of the Minamoto clan, Hachiman became the tutelary kami of the Minamoto samurai clan.
Minamoto no Yoshiie, upon coming of age at Iwashimizu Shrine in Kyoto, took the name Hachiman Taro Yoshiie and through his military prowess and virtue as a leader, became regarded and respected as the ideal samurai through the ages. After Minamoto no Yoritomo became shōgun and established the Kamakura shogunate, Hachiman's popularity grew and he became by extension the protector of the warrior class the shōgun had brought to power. For this reason, the shintai of a Hachiman shrine is a stirrup or a bow. Throughout the Japanese medieval period, the worship of Hachiman spread throughout Japan among not only samurai, but the peasantry. So much so was his popularity that presently there are 25000 Shinto shrines in Japan dedicated to Hachiman, the second most numerous after shrines dedicated to Inari. Usa Shrine in Usa, Ōita Prefecture is head shrine of all of these shrines and together with Iwashimizu Hachiman-gū, Hakozaki-gū and Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū, are noted as the most important of all the shrines dedicated to him.
The crest of Hachiman is in the design of a mitsudomoe, a round whirlpool or vortex with three heads swirling right or left. Many samurai clans used this crest as their own, including some that traced their ancestry back to the mortal enemy of the Minamoto, the Taira of the Emperor Kanmu line. Hachiman shrine Minamoto no Yoriyoshi Minamoto no Yorinobu Kamikaze Hachiman – Ancient History Encyclopedia Bender, Ross. "Metamorphosis of a Deity: The Image of Hachiman in Yumi Yawata". Monumenta Nipponica. 33: 165–78. Doi:10.2307/2384124. JSTOR 2384124. Bender, Ross. "The Political Meaning of the Hachiman Cult in Ancient and Early Medieval Japan". Dissertation. Columbia University
Kikokuzan Kongō Jufuku Zenji known as Jufuku-ji, is a temple of the Kenchō-ji branch of the Rinzai sect and the oldest Zen temple in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Ranked third among Kamakura's prestigious Five Mountains, it is number 24 among the Thirty-Three Kamakura Kannon pilgrimage temples and number 18 of the Kamakura Nijūyon Jizō temples, its main object of worship is Shaka Nyorai. The temple was founded by Hōjō Masako, a great historical figure familiar enough to the Japanese to appear on television jidaigeki dramas, in order to enshrine her husband Minamoto no Yoritomo, founder of the Kamakura shogunate, who died falling from his horse in 1199. Having chosen Jufuku-ji's present site because it used to be Yoritomo's father's residence, she invited Buddhist priest Myōan Eisai to be its founding priest. Eisai is important in the history of Zen because it was he who, after being ordained in China, introduced it to Japan, he is known for introducing green tea to the country. Ostracized by the Tendai school in Kyoto because of the new ideas he had introduced there after coming back from China, Eisai agreed to come to Kamakura, where he was to stay and have great religious influence.
Among the famous Zen masters that were active at Jufuku-ji are Enni Bennen, invited to come here in 1257 by Hōjō Tokiyori, the Chinese Rankei Dōryū. Although small now, in its heyday the temple used to have as many as 14 subtemples, its Main Hall, which constitutes the bulk of its compound now, is closed to the public and can be seen only from the inner gate. Over the centuries, the Main Hall burned down many times so that, in spite of the temple's great age, the present one dates only to the period between 1751 and 1763. Inside it are three statues of Shakyamuni which are the main object of worship. There are a statue of Eleven-Headed Kannon and two enormous wooden Deva Kings or Niō, brought here from Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū at the time of the mandatory separation of Shinto and Buddhism, in 1872. In the temple's vast graveyard behind the main hall, inside caves called yagura, are buried all the chief priests of the temple. Two yagura are dedicated to Hōjō Masako and her son Minamoto no Sanetomo, assassinated while still young by nephew Kugyō on the stairs of Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū.
Masako and Sanetomo's ashes are not there, because they were put in a temple, Chōshōjū-in, which no longer exists, are therefore lost. Among the other graves can be found not only those of Japanese celebrities including haiku poet Takahama Kiyoshi and novelist Osaragi Jirō, but those of some foreigners, among them Countess Iso Mutsu. For an explanation of terms concerning Japanese Buddhism, Japanese Buddhist art, Japanese Buddhist temple architecture, see the Glossary of Japanese Buddhism. Mutsu, Iso. Kamakura. Fact and Legend. Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0-8048-1968-8. OCLC 33184655
Nichiren was a Japanese Buddhist priest who lived during the Kamakura period and developed the teachings that are now considered Nichiren Buddhism, a branch school of Mahayana Buddhism. Nichiren was controversial in his day and was known for preaching that the Lotus Sutra alone contains the highest truth of Buddhist teachings and represents the effective teaching for the Third Age of Buddhism, he declared that social and political peace are dependent on the quality of the belief system, upheld in a nation. He advocated the repeated recitation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. In addition, he held that the historical Shakyamuni Buddha was the manifestation of a Buddha-nature, accessible to all, he insisted that those who claim to be believers of the Sutra must propagate it in the face of persecution. Nichiren was a prolific writer and his biography and the evolution of his thinking has been gleaned from his own writings, he launched his teachings in 1253, advocating an exclusive return to the Lotus Sutra as based on its original Tendai interpretations.
His 1260 treatise Risshō Ankoku Ron argued that a nation that embraces the Lotus Sutra will experience peace and prosperity whereas rulers who support inferior religious teachings invite disorder and disaster into their realms. In a 1264 essay, he stated that the title of the Lotus Sutra, "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo," encompasses all Buddhist teachings and its recitation leads to enlightenment; as a result of his adamant stance, he experienced severe persecution imposed by the Kamakura Shogunate and began to see himself as "bodily reading the Lotus Sutra." In some of his writings during a second exile he began to identify himself with the key Lotus Sutra characters Sadāparibhūta and Visistacaritra and saw himself in the role of leading a vast outpouring of Bodhisattvas of the Earth. In 1274, after his two predictions of foreign invasion and political strife were actualized by the first attempted Mongol invasion of Japan along with an unsuccessful coup within the Hōjō clan, Nichiren was pardoned by the Shogunate authorities and his advice was sought but not heeded.
The Risshō Ankoku Ron in which he first predicted foreign invasion and civil disorder is now considered by Japanese historians to be a literary classic illustrating the apprehensions of that period. After his death, in 1358 he was bestowed the title Nichiren Dai-Bosatsu by Emperor Go-Kōgon and in 1922 the title Risshō Daishi was conferred posthumously by imperial edict. Nichiren remains a controversial figure among scholars who cast him as either a fervent nationalist or a social reformer with a transnational religious vision. Critical scholars have used words such as intolerant, nationalistic and self-righteous to portray him. On the other hand, Nichiren has been presented as a revolutionary, a classic reformer, as a prophet. Nichiren is compared to other religious figures who shared similar rebellious and revolutionary drives to reform degeneration in their respective societies or schools. Today, Nichiren Buddhism includes traditional temple schools such as the confederation of Nichiren-shū and Nichiren Shōshū temples, as well as modern lay movements such as Soka Gakkai, Risshō Kōsei Kai, Reiyūkai, Kenshōkai, Honmon Butsuryū-shū, Kempon Hokke, Shōshinkai.
Each group has varying views of Nichiren's teachings with interpretations of Nichiren's identity ranging from the reincarnation of bodhisattva Visistacaritra to the primordial or "true" Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. Since there is no historical record of Nichiren, the story of his life has been constructed from the quite substantial number of extant letters and treatises he wrote, counted in one collection as 523 complete writings and 248 fragments; the first extensive biography of Nichiren did not appear until more than 200 years after his death. Several unsubstantiated stories found their way into hagiographies about Nichiren and are reflected in various pieces of artwork about incidents in his life. There is a current effort among scholars to create new biographies about Nichiren through cross-historical and literary analyses. According to the lunar Chinese calendar, Nichiren was born on 27th of the first month in 1222, 16 February in the Gregorian calendar. Nichiren was born in the village of Nagase District, Awa Province.
Accounts of his lineage vary. Nichiren described himself as "the son of a Sendara, "a son born of the lowly people living on a rocky strand of the out-of-the-way sea," and "the son of a sea-diver." In contrast, Hōnen, Shinran, Dōgen, Eisai, the other founders of religious schools who predated Nichiren, were all born in the Kyoto region and came from noble or samurai backgrounds. Although his writings reflect a fierce pride of his lowly birth, followers after his death began to ascribe to him a more noble lineage to attract more adherents; some have claimed his father was a manorial functionary, or a political refugee. Nichiren's father was Mikuni-no-Tayu Shigetada known as Nukina Shigetada Jiro and his mother was Umegiku-nyo. On his birth, his parents named him Zennichimaro which has variously been translated into English as "Splendid Sun" and "Virtuous Sun Boy" among others; the exact site of Nichiren's birth is believed to be submerged off the shore from present-day Kominato-zan
Kamakura is a city in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Although Kamakura proper is today rather small, it is described in history books as a former de facto capital of Japan, the nation's most populous settlement from 1200 to 1300 AD, as the seat of the shogunate and of the Regency during the Kamakura period. Kamakura was designated as a city on November 3, 1939; as of September 1, 2016, the modern city has an estimated population of 172,302, a population density of 4,358.77 persons per km2. The total area is 39.53 km2. As a coastal city with a high number of seasonal festivals, as well as ancient Buddhist and Shinto shrines and temples, Kamakura is a popular tourist destination within Japan. Surrounded to the north and west by hills and to the south by the open water of Sagami Bay, Kamakura is a natural fortress. Before the construction of several tunnels and modern roads that now connect it to Fujisawa and Zushi, on land it could be entered only through narrow artificial passes, among which the seven most important were called Kamakura's Seven Entrances, a name sometimes translated as "Kamakura's Seven Mouths".
The natural fortification made Kamakura an defensible stronghold. Before the opening of the Entrances, access on land was so difficult that the Azuma Kagami reports that Hōjō Masako came back to Kamakura from a visit to Sōtōzan temple in Izu bypassing by boat the impassable Inamuragasaki cape and arriving in Yuigahama. Again according to the Azuma Kagami, the first of the Kamakura shōguns, Minamoto no Yoritomo, chose it as a base because it was his ancestors' land because of these physical characteristics. To the north of the city stands Mt. Genji, which passes behind the Daibutsu and reaches Inamuragasaki and the sea. From the north to the east Kamakura is surrounded by Mt. Rokkokuken, Mt. Ōhira, Mt. Jubu, Mt. Tendai, Mt. Kinubari, which extend all the way to Iijimagasaki and Wakae Island, on the border with Kotsubo and Zushi. From Kamakura's alluvional plain branch off numerous narrow valleys like the Urigayatsu, Shakadōgayatsu, Ōgigayatsu, Kamegayatsu and Matsubagayatsu valleys.. Kamakura is crossed by the Namerigawa river, which goes from the Asaina Pass in northern Kamakura to the beach in Yuigahama for a total length of about 8 kilometres.
The river marks the border between Yuigahama. In administrative terms, the municipality of Kamakura borders with Yokohama to the north, with Zushi to the east, with Fujisawa to the west, it includes many areas outside the Seven Entrances as Yamanouchi, Koshigoe and Ofuna, is the result of the fusion of Kamakura proper with the cities of Koshigoe, absorbed in 1939, absorbed in 1948, with the village of Fukasawa, absorbed in 1948. North-west of Kamakura lies Yamanouchi called Kita-Kamakura because of the presence of East Japan Railway Company's Kita-Kamakura Station. Yamanouchi, was technically never a part of historical Kamakura since it is outside the Seven Entrances. Yamanouchi was the northern border of the city during the shogunate, the important Kobukorozaka and Kamegayatsu Passes, two of Kamakura's Seven Entrances, led directly to it, its name at the time used to be Sakado-gō. The border post used to lie about a hundred meters past today's Kita-Kamakura train station in Ofuna's direction.
Although small, Yamanouchi is famous for its traditional atmosphere and the presence, among others, of three of the five highest-ranking Rinzai Zen temples in Kamakura, the Kamakura Gozan. These three great temples were built here because Yamanouchi was the home territory of the Hōjō clan, a branch of the Taira clan which ruled Japan for 150 years. Among Kita-Kamakura's most illustrious citizens were artist Isamu Noguchi and movie director Yasujirō Ozu. Ozu is buried at Engaku-ji. Kamakura's defining feature is a Shinto shrine in the center of the city. A 1.8-kilometre road runs from Sagami Bay directly to the shrine. This road is known as the city's main street. Built by Minamoto no Yoritomo as an imitation of Kyoto's Suzaku Ōji, Wakamiya Ōji used to be much wider, delimited on both sides by a 3 metre deep canal and flanked by pine trees. Walking from the beach toward the shrine, one passes through three torii, or Shinto gates, called Ichi no Torii, Ni no Torii and San no Torii. Between the first and the second lies Geba Yotsukado which, as the name indicates, was the place where riders had to get off their horses in deference to Hachiman and his shrine.
100 metres after the second torii, the dankazura, a raised pathway flanked by cherry trees that marks the center of Kamakura, begins. The dankazura becomes wider so that it will look longer than it is when viewed from the shrine, its entire length is under the direct administration of the shrine. Minamoto no Yoritomo made his father-in-law Hōjō Tokimasa and his men carry by hand the stones to build it to pray for the safe delivery of his son Yoriie; the dankazura used to go all the way to Geba, but it was drastically shortened during the 19th century to make way for the newly constructed Yokosuka railroad line. In Kamakura, wide streets are called Ōji 、narrower ones Kōji, the small streets that connect the two are called zushi, intersections tsuji. Komachi Ōji and Ima Kōji run east and west of Wakamiya Ōji, while Yoko Ōji, the roa
Tsurugaoka Hachimangū is the most important Shinto shrine in the city of Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The shrine is at the geographical and cultural center of the city of Kamakura, which has grown around it and its 1.8 km approach. It is the venue of many of its most important festivals, hosts two museums. Tsurugaoka Hachimangū was for most of its history not only a Hachiman shrine, but a Tendai Buddhist temple, a fact which explains its general layout, typical of Japanese Buddhist architecture. At the left of its great stone stairway stood a 1000-year-old ginkgo tree, uprooted by a storm in the early hours of March 10, 2010; the shrine is an Important Cultural Property. This shrine was built in 1063 as a branch of Iwashimizu Shrine in Zaimokuza where tiny Moto Hachiman now stands and dedicated to the Emperor Ōjin, his mother Empress Jingu and his wife Hime-gami. Minamoto no Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura shogunate, moved it to its present location in 1191 and invited Hachiman to reside in the new location to protect his government.
One of the historical events the shrine is tied to is the assassination of Sanetomo, last of Minamoto no Yoritomo's sons. Under heavy snow on the evening of February 12, 1219, shōgun Minamoto no Sanetomo was coming down from Tsurugaoka Hachimangū's Senior Shrine after assisting to a ceremony celebrating his nomination to Udaijin, his nephew Kugyō, son of second shōgun Minamoto no Yoriie, came out from next to the stone stairway of the shrine suddenly attacked and assassinated him in the hope to become shōgun himself. The killer is described as hiding behind the giant ginkgo, but no contemporary text mentions the tree, this detail is an Edo-period invention first appeared in Tokugawa Mitsukuni's Shinpen Kamakurashi. For his act Kugyō was himself beheaded a few hours thus bringing the Seiwa Genji line of the Minamoto clan and their rule in Kamakura to a sudden end. Tsurugaoka Hachimangū is now just a Shinto shrine but, for the 700 years from its foundation until the Shinto and Buddhism Separation Order of 1868, its name was Tsurugaoka Hachimangū-ji and it was a Buddhist temple, one of the oldest in Kamakura.
The mixing of Buddhism and kami worship in shrine-temple complexes like Tsurugaoka called jingū-ji had been normal for centuries until the Meiji government decided, for political reasons, that this was to change. The separation policy was the direct cause of serious damage to important cultural assets; because mixing the two religions was now forbidden and temples had to give away some of their treasures, thus damaging the integrity of their cultural heritage and decreasing the historical and economic value of their properties. Tsurugaoka Hachiman's giant Niō ], being objects of Buddhist worship and therefore illegal where they were, had to be sold to Jufuku-ji, where they still are; the shrine had to destroy Buddhism-related buildings, for example its shichidō garan, its tahōtō tower, its midō. In important ways, Tsurugaoka Hachimangū was impoverished in 1868 as a consequence of this Meiji era policy; the imposed, inflexible reform orthodoxy of this early Meiji period was unquestionably intended to affect Buddhism and Shinto.
However, the structures and artwork of this ancient shrine-temple were not yet construed as important elements of Japan's cultural patrimony. What remains to be visited today is only a partial version of the original shrine-temple. From 1871 through 1946, Tsurugaoka was designated one of the Kokuhei Chūsha, meaning that it stood in the mid-range of ranked, nationally significant shrines. Both the shrine and the city were built with Feng Shui in mind; the present location was chosen as the most propitious after consulting a diviner because it had a mountain to the north, a river to the east, a great road to the west and was open to the south. Each direction was protected by a god: Genbu guarded the north, Seiryū the east, Byakko the west and Suzaku the south; the willows near the Genpei Ponds and the catalpas next to the Museum of Modern Art represent Seiryū and Byakko. In spite of all the changes the shrine has gone through over the years, in this respect Yoritomo's design is still intact; as one enters, after the first torii there are three small bridges, two flat ones on the sides and an arched one at the center.
In the days of the shogunate there used to be only two, a normal one and another arched, made in wood and painted red. The shōgun would proceed alone on foot to the shrine; the arched bridge was called Akabashi, was reserved to him: common people had to use the flat one. The bridges span over a canal that joins together two ponds popularly called Genpei-ike, or "Genpei ponds"; the term comes from the names of the two families, the Minamoto and the Taira, that fought each other in Yoritomo's day. The stele just after and to the left of the first torii explains the origin of the name: The Genpei Ponds The Azuma Kagami says that "In April 1182 Minamoto no Yoritomo told monk Senkō