Hounji | The Doragon bone that has put down at temple in Chchib
Chichibu in Saitama prefecture is the area that has a lot of interesting legends which has been handed down from a long time ago.
Particularly, a legend of the dragon and its trace can be seen at the beautiful temple called Hounji.
This is because Hounji owns legendary objects such as Dragon bone, the claw of the Japanese monster called Tengu, and so on.
So, I will solve these mysterious objects and temples of Hounji itself at this time.
Table of Content
What is the temple of Hounji ?
Firstly, Hounji is a very traditional temple that has carried on from the middle of the 13th century in the Chichibu area.
Originally, the Chchibu area has 34 main temples that are setting a sculpture of Kannon as a sacred place, and visiting these 34 temples is one of the purposes for some tourists.
Hounji is the 30th site for those temples and shows the great scenery like a beautiful pond, historical architecture, distinctive and traditional atmosphere.
Especially, a beautiful autumn leaves around December enhances the traditional scenery, and it’s very impressive.
The legendary treasures at Houngi in Chichibu
As I mentioned a little bit, Hounji has original treasures such as “Doragon bone”, “Tengu’s claw”, “mirror of princess Yokihi”, “Kannon’s sculpture” that these are passed down from long time ago.
In addition, these objects are recorded as a designated cultural property in Chichibu.
Of course, the objects are able to be seen here, and the temple is opened every day for tourists, so please check it out definitely when you visit here.
The Doragon bone
The first treasure is the Dragon bone.
The bone that is only chin part around 20cm is displayed, and it’s impressively small against the name of the dragon.
According to the Kazuyoshi Kondo, the bone is actually thought of as a type of fish like shark, because it is speculated that the Chichibu area was being in the sea a long time ago (77).
However, there is a legend that has been handed down in this temple.
In the distant past, an evil dragon who lived in this area for 1000 years became an honest dragon to start worshipping of the Kannon that is the god in Buddhism.
After the dragon turn over a new leaf, it goes to the afterlife at the same time as the construction of this temple.
And then, the dragon bone was left in the garden.
Such the legend, related to a dragon in the Chichibu area has been transmitted from the past, and it would be said that this bone is one of them.
This is also a curious object called “Tengu’s claw”.
Tengu is the Japanese monster that has a red face, long nose, is wearing the cloth of Japanese monk, but its identifies is wrapped in mystery even now.
However, Tengu’s sighting repost has existed from the past, so if you are interested in this detail, please check the past article.
In Hounji, the Tengu’s claw is put down next to the dragon bone, but it’s also thought of a shark’s tooth that inhabit here from 4,000,000 to 25,000,000 years ago (Kazuyoshi Kondo 77).
But, old people conclude that this would be Tengu’s claw because of founding it in a mountain.
As I mentioned in the past article, Tengu has a relationship with mountain worship at past Japan, so I understand how much old people actually believed the existence of the monster from this claw.
Mirror of Yokihi
The important object that is relevant to the history in Hounji is “Mirror of Yokihi”.
Yokihi is the person who is the wife of the emperor “Tang Xuanzong” in ancient China (Tang Xuanzong is called Genso in Japan).
The mirror that gets in her name is transported to this temple from China and set by the monk called Douinzenshi who is the founder of the Hounji.
This is because it is said the sacred sculpture called Kannon that has set here and motifed for princess Yokifi is made by emperor Tang Xuanzong after Yokihi dead.
Then time passed, it was carried here with the mirror through Chinese envoy, and passed to founder Douinzenshi, because he had interacted with Chinese emissaries in the past according to the head priest here.
The sculpture of Kannon which has worshipped here can be seen, but it is a replica and small scale compare to the actual thing.
The genuine is put down in the box that is on the back of the replica, and it opens on18th April every year.
Unfortunately, the inside temple is prohibited to take a photo, so please check by yourself and feel a sacred atmosphere.
How to access Hounji
The access to Hounji is slightly difficult because you have to move across the prefectures from Tokyo to Saitama.
However, the below lists are my recommended way to go there as saving money and time.
- Shinjuku Station to Ikebukuro Station on Yamanote Line
- → Transfer to Seibu Ikebukuro • Chichibu Line bound for Banno Station
- → Transfer to the bound for Seibu Chichibu Station
- Walk to Ohanabatake Station on foot about 10minutes
- → Get on Chichibu Tetsudo (Chichibu Line) to Shiroku Station bound for Mitsumineguchi Station
- (It takes around 3 hours overall untile here)
After getting off at Shiroku Station, walk a slightly uphill around 15 minutes in accordance with the below map.
Conclusion of Hounji in Chichibu
Chichibu has an interesting legend and folklore that makes your curiosity stimulates.
If you are interested in the Chichibu area and mysterious sites there, other articles should be checked.