Kin Kannon-do Buddhist TemplePosted: September 29, 2011
I admit, I like all things Buddhist. The temples, the tradition spanning back thousands of years, the stoic levitating Zen master handing out riddles while meditating on top of a mountain. Okay, maybe that last part was a little much, but when we got orders to Japan I thought there would be a monastery on every corner and monks meditating in little groves in every park. That’s not quite the case. As a matter of fact, I know of only 4 sites in all of Okinawa. A temple in Naha, one close to Nakagusuku Castle, a meditation room next to Shuri Castle, and Kin Kannon-do temple in Kin town.
I certainly don’t know all of the history of this temple, heck I didn’t even see any monks. I guess they were out meditating on a mountain while we were there. The grounds of the temple were small, but nice. A statue here, a little garden there. The main attraction is the cave on the grounds where the monks store/brew Awamori, a type of Japanese liquor or wine.
No good pictures inside the cave as my photographic skills weren’t up to the task. It’s way too dark in there. I will say it’s damp, dark, and winds back for about 500m. There are many large bookcase style shelves that hold about a hundred bottles of liquor each. There is probably 100,000 bottles down in the cave. The entrance/exit is steep, slippery, and spider infested. I was proud of Angela and Hannah who didn’t offer a single protest. Spiders are usually kryptonite to this family. On the way in, we also noticed the ingenious tram system someone had devised to get the bottles up and down the treacherous cave opening. Work smarter not harder right?
The only other feature, outside of the mandatory gift shop, is the temple itself. It’s pretty small and open on 3 sides. It has a few shrines, a little place to kneel and say a prayer, and a little box where you can take a paper with your fortune on it. On the way out, you tie your fortune paper to the rope lining the entryway. Easier said than done. All 3 of us ended up tearing our papers, which I hope doesn’t mean our fortunes won’t come true as they were all good.
In summary, if you happen to be in Kin town and have nothing better to do, it’s worth 30 minutes to go see the temple. It is definitely not what I expected for a Buddhist temple, but neat nonetheless. Maybe next time the levitating Zen master will be in.