Here's the second page dedicated to my Nobunaga Tour
This post is about my walks across Kyoto
, following the steps of the Demon Lord.
It covers a period of 2 full days, and unfortunately I still missed some place (and I didn't get to see the attractions of Kyoto AT ALL)-- But, for a first approach to the city, I can say that I was quite satisfied with this first exploration, as I managed to see all the spots on my list, and even some little extra.
Let's start this symbolic tour with a little change of course, that during my stay in Nagoya brought me to Kyoto to attend the Funaoka Matsuri
, a festival that celebrates Nobunaga's entering to Kyoto in 1568, about which I talk in detail in this post
It was a good excuse to take my time to get used to the bus services of the city and most importantly to visit the Takeisao Shrine (建勲神社)
(also read as Kenkun Shrine
), founded by Emperor Meiji in 1869 in memory of Nobunaga.
At the entrance of the shrine you can see this stone, engraved with the verses of "Atsumori"
After this first bite, I got back to Nagoya to visit Nagoya Castle
I would arrive in Kyoto to stay there for a few days on the 21st.
On the way to my ryokan
, I realized that I was tragically close to the temple complex of the Higashi Honganji
It was actually pretty cool, but the vicinity to the temples associated with the warrior monks that Nobunaga used to exterminate every now and then was a bit disturbing!
Anyway, it was the eve of a busy day, so once I checked-in, I went for the first stop of my Nobunaga Tour in Kyoto, the temple of Soken-in
, located in the complex of Daitokuji
is a buddhist temple of Rinzai sect, and it was founded in 1326, after a conversion of the temple to Imperial supplication hall, under the request of the now retired Emperor Hanazono.
It's included on my list of Nobunaga places because Hideyoshi, in 1582, built here for Nobunaga and his son, who were granted a sumptuous State funeral, a subsidary temple in their memory, the Soken-in (総見院)
This was an interesting choice, as Nobunaga himself built a memorial temple of the same kind for his father Nobuhide right here, the Ouba-in (黄梅院)
I was lucky to happen in Kyoto during the special opening of these temples, that are usually closed to the public.
This plaque shows one of the treasures of the temple (that of course I couldn't take pictures of, as it was forbidden), a wooden statue of Nobunaga. It's said that since his corpse couldn't be found, Hideyoshi ordered the making of these two laquered statues in fragrant wood: one of them was burned during the burial ceremony in place of Nobunaga's real body, and the other was used during the processions for Nobunaga's memorial services.
Above you can see koshi
merged into the roofing; it was the palanquin used to carry Nobunaga's statues.
After savouring some warm tea in the hondo
and checking out the statue of Nobunaga with my very eyes, I took a walk along the lovely little gardens and the tea rooms.
Hideyoshi staged his famous tea gathering of 1585 right here.
The tea room that left me with a bigger impression was probably the Jyuan-seki
, with its cute garden:
On the opposite side of the tearooms, is the cemetery.
Here I went to look for the graves of Nobunaga and his family members.
These are the tombstones of Nobunaga (left) and his son Nobutada (right), perished with him at the Incident of Honnoji
These are the tombstones of, respectively, Nouhime (Nobunaga's wife) and Onabe-no-kata (one of his concubines):
--I know that in this place rest the souls of some of Nobunaga's daughters too, included Tokuhime, but I couldn't manage to find them.
I left the Daitokuji
with a full stomach and a hopeful heart to visit another site hosting the grave of Nobunaga, the Amidaji (阿弥陀寺)
Here the story of Nobunaga's remains is much cooler.
The temple was founded in 1555 by Seigyoku Shônin, a buddhist priest who was quite close to Nobunaga and served as his advisor every now and then.
It's said that he got to know about the Honnoji Accident
from one of Nobunaga's soldiers, and rushed to the place to gather his remains and grant him a proper burial.
The story also mentions that Hideyoshi himself went to Seigyoku to ask him to give him the remains of Nobunaga for his funeral ceremony at Daitokuji
, but Seigyoku, seeing it as an attempt to take power in Nobunaga's name, refused, and had the rests of Nobunaga, Nobutada and the others who perished at Honnoji buried in the precints of his temple.
After this, I went to check on the temples that Nobunaga favoured during his stay in Kyoto.
The first on the list was the Myokakuji (妙覚寺)
, that was under some renovation of sort T^T
According to the Shinchokoki
, this was one of Nobunaga's favourite temples to stay during his visits to Kyoto, before the Honnoji
became his official seat.
Nobutada was staying here during the Incident of Honnoji
, before moving to Nijo Castle
, trying to resist the attack of Mitsuhide's army.
The second temple where Nobunaga loved to stay when in Kyoto was the Shokokuji (相国寺)
Nobunaga first lodged here in 1574.
This place is also famous because Nobunaga used to organize matches of kemari
, a Japanese ancestor of our modern football, right here.
As the Shokokuji
is a huge temple in Daitokuji-style, containing lots of subsidiary temples, I had no idea of where to go, so I just strolled around.
Also the Shokokuji
was holding a series of special openings, but as it was getting dark, I just took a few pictures of the area around.
On my way back I decided to take this picture:
It would have been a wonderful picture if the freaking Honganji
wouldn't have been under renovation ToT !! From Nagoya to Kyoto, it's incredible how many places I found that were facing some renovation of sort--!
The day after I was up to check out the places that were left out in the walk of the day before.
I got up early, and went to look for the landmarks of the old locations of Honnoji
and Nijo Castle
, the very places where Nobunaga and his son Nobutada met their sad fate:
After this the next due stop was to Honnoji (本能寺)
, a temple that sure holds a special meaning to those who love and study Nobunaga-- It was the place were he loved to stay during his trips to Kyoto, a place to relax and enjoy himself with his faithful retainers, family and friends, but also the place where he was slaughtered by the one retainer that he, probably, trusted the most.
As I mentioned above, since Nobunaga's times, the temple has been relocated from its original position, and the side street where you can find it is easily identifiable:
"Teramachi" means "The temple's neighbourhood" XD
After a walk around the temple's precints, I headed towards Nobunaga's tomb, the third (fourth, if you want to count Takeisao Shrine
, where some of Nobunaga's ashes are preserved too) of this tour:
The request to build a mausoleum in Nobunaga's memory in this place came from his third son Nobutaka, that probably saw the idea of building an "alternative" tomb for Nobunaga and those who perished in the Incident to the one in Daitokuji as a willful statement against Hideyoshi.
This is the tomb of Nobunaga:
And this is the tomb of the Mori brothers and all those who perished at Honnoji:
After this I decided to take a peek at the museum, that was holding an interesting exhibition about the deep relationship beween Nobunaga and the Honnoji temple:
It was also a good chance to look at an ancient armour and an interesting portrait of Nobunaga.
I was impressed by the swords belonging to Ranmaru (THEY WERE HUGE o_o), and I found an interesting map with the various landmarks related to the to the old location of Honnoji.
There was also a good collection of tea tools and other interesting gifts that Nobunaga presented to the monks as a token of gratitude for their hospitality.
There was some English, but unfortunately most of the explanations were in Japanese T_T
It was lunchtime, and I went to the close-by Karasuma-dori to see the parade of the Jidai Matsuri
while munching some snacks :D
I was looking forward to this festival and it was horrible when it started to rain all over us, but at least it wasn't cancelled!
You can read more about this matsuri
and check out the pictures of its Nobunaga right here
After the parade (and the storm) I went to check out the Shincho Sanryou
, a local dedicated to Nobunaga, acting as a gathering spot for its fans.
I wrote a proper review of it in this report
, but right here I'd like to share about this book, that I found in the library/reading hall on the 4th floor:
It's a touristic book of Kyoto focused on all the spots related to the Sengoku daimyo that for a reason or another happened in the city, with maps, directions, informations and even interesting places where to grab a bite in the vicinity ^^
Of course Nobunaga has its very special section, and among all the places that I missed (darn!) there was one which was relatively close to my ryokan and just for this reason it was worth a visit before leaving Kyoto:
This is the Shinnyo-in (真如院)
, a temple related to both Nobunaga and shogun Yoshiaki.
Yoshiaki stayed in this temple during the works on his new mansion planned out by Nobunaga, and for some time Nobunaga paid visit to the shogun here, staying over every now and then.
The temple is famous for its karesansui
garden, and unfortunately it's opened to the public only on certain days of the year.
--This last discovery was quite satisfying, as it was born and developed right on the spot and it made me quite proud of my touristic skills x'D
After this, I could leave Kyoto with a cheerful heart ;D