Godaido Temple at Matsushima, Japan, c. 1910.

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Godaido temple, Matsushima, Japan, c. 1910.

Godaido temple, Matsushima, Japan, c. 1910, draped in snow.

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View of Matsushima, Inland Sea, c. 1910

Godaido Temple is on a small pine-covered islet to the left of the landing stage and is accessible by two short bridges. The present structure was reconstructed by Date Masamune. In the temple are installed images of the five guardian Buddhist deities. The islet is often drawn in pictures as the symbol of Matsushima.”

Japan: The Official Guide, Tourist Industry Bureau, Ministry of Transportation, 1962

Godaido Temple, Matsushima, c. 1930 in the summer. Religiously, the Godaido Temple houses images of the Five Wisdom Kings of Japanese Buddhism. The shogun Sakanoue no Tamuramaro first built a small temple called Bishamon-do on the island where Godaido now stands. The current structure (seen in this image) was built by Date Masemune in 1604, in the Momoyama architectural style.

“Godaido is very distinctive for its location on a small island on the coast of Matsushima, connected to the mainland by a short wooden foot bridge. The present building dates from 1604, built by the local feudal daimyo [lord] Date Masamune.

“The first Godaido temple was constructed in 807. In 828, five Nyorai statues were enshrined within its premised. These statues are disclosed to the public only once every 33 years (last disclosed in 2006). The hall’s exterior is decorated by small carvings of the twelve animals of the zodiac. The brilliantly carved decorations of the main building as well as in other buildings on-site have been designated as Japanese national treasures.”


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  1. Pingback: Matsushima Park Hotel, Matsushima, c. 1920. | Old Tokyo

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