Sanmon is the main gate of buddhist temples. The sanmon of Fujiidera was made in Edo period, and there stand a pair of nio, statues of muscular guardians of the Buddha. The pair comes as an “a-un” set; the one at right is called agyo (who opens a mouth in “a” form) while another is called ungyo (who closes the mouth in “un” form).
The Fujii family originally called themselves “Shirai”, and Fujiidera (Fujiidera Buddhist temple) was built in the middle of the 7th century as a patron temple of Shirai clan. The principal deity and main statue of the temple is Senju-sengen kannon ryuzo (or senju-kannon), which literally means “a kannon with a thousand arms, each of which has an eye”. But Fujiidera’s Senju-kannon actually comes with 1,043 arms: 1,001 free arms, 40 arms that each hold a different object, and two arms with hands brought together in prayer. No other senju-kannon made before the Nara period has been preserved with a complete set of arms. This statue is registered as a National Treasure, and you can only see it on the 18th of each month.
Straighten your clothes, and take off your hat and sunglasses. Bring your hands together and lower your head as you pass under the gate. Step over the raised threshold, not on it.
Shiunseki toro is a stone-made tall lantern originally made in Kamakura period (about 800 years ago). The lantern you see between the gate and the main hall is a replica which was made in Meiji period; the original is a Tangible Cultural Property of Osaka prefecture and carefully preserved in the temple’s backyard.
The chozusha (or temizusha) is a space which houses a canopy and a trough. The trough contains water for the visitor to wash his or her hands and mouth before approaching the temple, as a means of ceremonial purification. At the chozusha of Fujiidera, you find a tap shaped of valiant dragon.
1) Pick up a ladle with your right hand, scoop a ladleful of water and wash your left hand. (Don’t use all the water! You’ll need that one ladleful for the whole process.)
2) Pass the ladle to your left hand and wash your right hand.
3) Return the ladle to the right hand, pour some water into your cupped left hand and rinse your mouth. (Don’t use the ladle as a cup! You’re not supposed to touch it with your lips.)
4) Wash your left hand again after rinsing your mouth.
5) Hold the ladle vertically, allowing the remaining water to trickle down the handle and clean it.
6) Return the ladle to its original position, face down.
Koro is a vessel made for burning incense for ceremonial purification. At Fujiidera, you’ll find a huge censer in front of the main hall where visitors purify their bodies, especially their heads (to become smarter!), with the smoke.
Draw some smoke towards your body for ceremonial purification. If you so wish, you can purchase incense or candles as an offering.
Hondo is the main hall where the temple’s principle statue is placed. The main statue of Fujiidera is kannon, who is famous for making your wish come true. Be noted: Fujiidera always welcome you, but you can see the kannon to make your wish upon only on 18th of each month!
Throw coins (any amount) into the offertory-box.
Ring the gong hung above the offertory-box. Bring your hands together and bow once.