Beautiful works of “Anoshu”

To see the works of “Anoshu”(穴太衆)I went to Shigainmonzeki Temple in Sakamoto, Shiga. Shigainmonzeki is known as a typical work of “Anoshu”. Basically, “Anoshu” are stonemasons who appeared after 1573 and are known for building temples. Their skills have been passed down to the Awata Kensetsu Cooperative.


Their stone walls are much stronger than concrete walls. Even now their skills are used for bridge girders of expressways in Japan. And you may be amazed by the beauty of their works. Sakamoto is a historical preservation district and has been developed as a temple city of Enryakuji Temple. In Sakamoto, not only in Shigainmonzeki, but also many buildings have been made through their amazing skills. It is breathtaking.


When I only focus on Shigainmonzeki, it is a treasure box. There is a picture of dogs by Oukyo Maruyama who is a very famous painter in the 18th Century. There is a Japanese garden made by Enshu Kobori who was one of the top gardeners in the 16th Century.

And I was attracted by two calligraphies which were written by Yasufumi Miyakouji(宮小路康文). His writing is dynamic, humorous and compassionate. His calligraphy style belongs to Kukai who is one of the three best calligraphers in Japanese history. Interestingly, Yasufumi Miyakouji became a head priest of a shrine after a stint as a buddhist priest.

I would like to visit Sakamoto to cherish the works of “Anoshu” and many treasures in the spring again.