Saturday, June 14, 2008

Omoto Shrine, Yato.


This wonderfully weathered torii stands in front of the Omoto Shrine in Yato. It's a small settlement on the banks of the Yato River, not big enough for a shop, but it has 2 shrines.
The Omoto shrine is dedicated to Omotojin who is the original, local, land kami. Up in Izumo he is called Kojin, and he was the main kami of worship for every community in the old days.


Prior to 1945 there was just a hokora (wayside shrine) here set in a grove of trees. The trees were cut down and sold and the money used to build the present shrine. Every 6 years until 1966, Omoto Kagura was performed here. My friends recently deceased grandfather danced here and 5 times became possesed by Omotojin, the most times for one person in living memory. Shamanic kagura was widespread in Japan until the Meiji era. This area of Iwami is the only place in Japan where it is still practised.


In front of the shrine stands a giant Mukonoki tree with a width of 1.5 metres. Aphananthe Aspera has no name in English. The leaves of the tree were used as sandpaper.


A few hundred meters away, the steps lead up to the Hachiman Shrine.


  1. Thank you for your introduction about Omoto shraine and around there in Yato.
    Matsuri is held at this shrine every 2nd November.
    When you visit here at matsuri, don't forget some tip.

  2. If the dancing is good I will leave a tip......