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map of Juntoku-Joko Cremation Site

Juntoku-Joko Cremation Site

How to get

Get off Bus #10 (Ogi-sen) at "Manogu-Iriguchi" bus stop. The bus stop is still near the seashore. Turn at the intersection towards the mountain side, the road is Prefectural highway #65. The Road curves slightly to the right. Then you will see a park on left hand side just before you reach the Mano River. Leave the highway for the left, walk the right bank of Mano River. Behind the park is Manogoo, which is a kind of shrine commemorating Juntoku-Joko. Keep walking along the river, you go into paved way again. This road makes a big S-curve. Don't expect a short cut, go along that S-curve. Road becomes straight, then you will see a parking lot on the left hand side. The path curves left where red stones are exhibited as shown in Photo.31.1. And then you will get to the site.

Photo.31.1 Red Stones near the Juntoku-Joko Cremation Site

Actually the nearest bus stop is "Manoguu Mae" on the line #16 "Akadomari-sen" but the line #16 is not practical because of only 3 buses a day in one direction. If you like walking, another option is to walk from "Mano-shinmachi" bus stop for about 50 minutes, because the buses of #2 "Minami-sen" are frequently operated.

This site is thought to be where Juntoku-joko was cremated when he died 1242. The site is not an imperial mausoleum, but the Imperial Household Agency manages the site as if it was a mausoleum. Juntoku-joko was the 84th emperor and the third son of Gotoba-joko who carried out Jokyu Incident (Jokyu-no Ran) in 12211). Jokyu Incident is a revolt in which Gotoba-joko tried to overthrow then-Samurai warrior government "Kanamakura Bakufu". After the attempt failed, Juntoku-joko was sent to Sado as a punishment. His custody in Sado continued for 22 years until his died at the age of 46. It is unknown where and how he lived for those years. Although Imperial Family asked Kamakura Bakufu to allow Gotoba and Juntoku-jokos to come back Kyoto, the Bakufu refused.

On Feburary 22, 1239, the father Gotoba-joko died after 19 years of internment on the Oki island. Having heard of the news, Juntoku-joko felt that his life was worthless, and then decided to terminate it. His last days are written in "Heikoki". He stopped eating so that he could die on September 9, 1242. But he was still alive at the day, so put a burning stone on his head, and then died on September 12. It is said that Joko's grudge against Kamakura Samurai Government was so strong. His last words were so terrible that no one could bear to listen. He was cremated in the following day, September 13. The place was marked by planting two trees of Pine and Cherry. There was one man whose name was Fujiwara no Yasumitsu. He had been together with Juntoku-joko since the day they left Kyoto till the day Joko died. Yasumitsu brought Joko’s bone to Kyoto. He carried it by hanging from his neck. The bone was buried at Ohara in Kyoto in April 28, 12432).

Photo.31.2 You Cannot Get to the Center of the Cremation Site

The cremation site had become a ruin through the years of civil war in 16th century. In 17th century two monks of Shinrin Temple and Kokubun Temple asked Sado Magistrate Office the permission to restore the site. The site was repaired in 1679. It became what we can see today with the rectangular area of 91 meter by 91 meter. Shinrin Temple had long offered prayer for Juntoku-joko, but the temple was closed by the radical movement against Buddhism "Haibutsu-Kishaku" in 1867. The temple turned to be a shrine that enshrines Juntoku-joko3). Mano-goo is it. You can visit the shrine on the way to the Cremation site.