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Rinkai-ji

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The main facade of Rinkai-ji as it appears today
  • Other Names: 沖の寺、沖山、沖 (Oki no tera; Okiyama/Chûsan; Oki)
  • Japanese: 臨海寺 (Rinkaiji)

Rinkai-ji is a Shingon temple originally located in Naha Bay. More specifically, it was located about halfway down a long spit of land, which extended out into the bay and which had the Mie gusuku fortress built at its end.

A branch temple of Okinawa's Gokoku-ji, the name "Rinkaiji" literally means "temple beside the sea," an appropriate name given its location; that location also earned it a number of common alternate names, all incorporating the character 『沖』 (oki), meaning, roughly, "in the open sea." The quays nearby were known as Oki-no-soba.

It is unclear when Rinkai-ji was first built, though references to it date back at least as far as 1609, the location "Rinkai," and the existence of a temple there, being mentioned in Kyan nikki. However, a temple bell dating to 1459 is also associated with the site, indicating the possibility that Rinkai-ji dated back that far as well. The bell, known as the Ippon-gongen bell , is said to have been cast and hung at Rinkai-ji by magistrate Yonafuku and builder Hanagusuku. Lost in 1945, the severely damaged bell was rediscovered in 1954, and is now held at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum.[1]

The temple is featured in "The Sound of the Lake at Rinkai" (臨海湖声, Rinkai kosei), one of Hokusai's Ryûkyû Hakkei, or "Eight Views of Ryûkyû," a series of landscape prints published in 1832.

In 1908, due to construction in the port, the temple was moved to the Naha neighborhood of Sumiyoshi-chô, where it came to incorporate a number of Shinto shrines, including a Kumano gongen shrine, and a Hachiman shrine; as a result of its newfound association with Shinto, the temple was renamed Oki-gû, or Oki Shrine.

The temple was destroyed in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa, and was rebuilt in 1967 in the Aja neighborhood of Naha. The hall was rebuilt in 1981, and today it stands in the Akebono neighborhood of Naha. Oki Shrine survives as a separate Shinto shrine in Onoyama Park.

References

  • "Rinkaiji" 臨海寺。 Okinawa Encyclopedia – Okinawa daihyakka jiten 沖縄大百科事典。Naha: Okinawa Times, 1983. vol. 3. p962.
  1. Gallery labels, Okinawa Prefectural Museum, August 2013.
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