Two Unique Worship Places of Tajimi in Gifu Prefecture
Tajimi city of the Gifu prefecture is famous for its ceramic manufacturing. The city residing on the banks of the Toki river is regarded as the place with highest temperature during the Japanese summer season. Most of the tourist attractions of the Tajimi are related with its ceramic and tile manufacturing culture. But still, there are some important attractions in this region. Among them is the famous Catholic Monastery of Tajimi which is the biggest of this type in the country. The other one is the famous Zen Buddhist temple, Eihoji situated at the top of the Kokeiyama on the banks of Toki River.
Eihoji is a Zen Buddhists temple located at the top of the Kokeiyama of Tajimi city. It was built in 1313. This old Buddhists temple holds a school for the Zen Buddhist monks inside it. Practice sessions and prayers are conducted here at special days for the monks. The vast area of the temple holds various buildings like the school and prayer hall, temple buildings, residing areas for the monks etc. Many wedding ceremonies are also conducted here occasionally.
The Japanese style garden and the big beautiful pond with Koi fishes with a bridge across it is a wonderful sight of this region. The bridge extends from the garden to the main temple building. This temple area and surroundings are beautiful with its unique appearances during all the four seasons. While autumn and winter are the most attractive among these. The clear blue sky of autumn with the entire garden filled with the reddishness of the maple leaves and the hundreds of years old golden Great Ichoo tree situated at the center of the garden attracts a lot of visitors to this place.
The temple area could be accessed directly by road or we could access here after a small mountain walk. The bamboo and other trees forming a small woody pathway down the mountain extending to the temple garden. It takes 15 minutes of walk through the rocky path with Buddha statues, small temples and various trees with nameplates hanging on it on both sides of the path. The Toki River flowing at one side of the garden area increases the beauty of the temple premises. There are resting areas set with chairs in the garden area on the banks of the river. The mountains heading up on all its sides and the thick woody regions around the area fills the place with a natural atmosphere that isolates the temple and the surrounding areas from the busy atmosphere and sounds of the city.
The Catholic Monastery
The Great Catholic Monastery of Tajimi built by the German missionaries during 1930s is one of the biggest attractions of the city. The huge monastery with lots of paintings and sculptures inside it is really attractive. Once we enter inside the monastery hall, we could see big paintings on the walls of the hall depicting the life of Lord Christ. The calm atmosphere and the music inside the hall fill a peaceful atmosphere provides a wonderful worship experience inside it. The small souvenir shop at the side of the hall has cards, small cultures, chains etc. with the pictures of Christ and Virgin Mary in it. The red and white wines manufactured in the vinery of this monastery are the most precious among the souvenirs for the visitors of the monastery. The pound cake dipped in wine is another important souvenir from this place.
This monastery has an extended vineyard in its surroundings and the grapes produced here are used for manufacturing wine in its on vineries. During the summer season the vineyards will be filled with varieties of grapes hanging on it. By the end of the season it will be harvested. A wine festival is conducted during the month of November when a lot of wine lovers come to this monastery to taste the home made wine of this monastery. The surroundings of the monastery with extended vineyards, beautiful gardens, and the calm atmosphere around it gives a great experience of worship while visiting here. There are some beautiful log houses at the back side of the monastery which are set for the priests and other important members’ o the monastery. Masses will be conducted on every Sunday in the monastery hall. Mass prayer in English is also done during special days and once in a month. It is a common place of worship for the Christian foreigners residing in and around this city as well as the natives of the city.
Tajimi city has special bus service to these two areas called the Kikyou bus which charges only 100 yen for a single destination. This bus service is available all over the day at specific schedule. Also, after the winter season there is a single horse cart named Hanabasha adorned with rose flowers in it. It takes the visitors to the Monastery, River banks and the Ceramic streets of the Tajimi city.