Monday, May 18, 2009

Yatogi Shrine, Tenri


Yatogi Shrine, sometimes pronounced Yatsugi, is a delightful shrine located on the Yamanobenomichi a little south of Isonokami in Tenri. The main hall has a fine thatched roof, and behind it the line of seven hondens have cedar-bark roofs.


The seven kami are quite an eclectic collection. The main kami is Futsunushi, a kami of swords and lightning, and possibly the personification of the main kami at nearby Isonokami Shrine. Also enshrined is Takemikazuchi, a main kami of the Fujiwara clan. The myths have either or both of these kami descending to Izumo and convincing Okuninushi to give Japan to Amaterasu's descendants. As the Fujiwara (known earlier as the Nakatomi) wiped out the Mononobe, it is believed that gradually the Fujiwara kami usurped and replaced the Mononobe kami.


Another enshrined kami here is Amenokoyane, one of the kami who performed rituals to entice Amaterasu out of her cave, and another ancestor of the Fujiwara. Another kami is Kotohira, a variation of Konpira.


Strangely, Susano is enshrined here, though that may be connected to local legends that pertain to the spirit of the eight-headed serpent Yamata no Orochi slain by Susano. It is believed that its spirit became associated with lightning, and in the hills behind nearby isonokami Shrine are rocks said to be it.


  1. Wow, how did you find out so much about all of the kamigami enshrined here? I've written about this shrine, too, but could never get a whole lot of information about it. Honestly, I'm not altogether sure where to look, though certainly, improving my Japanese will help (working on that one!). :) I would love to learn more from you about the shrines along the Yamanobe no Michi, since it's become my favorite hiking spot. I especially love this little shrine. It has such an abandoned feel, and the temizuya seems all but completely ignored. I hope you'll reply, I'd really love to join forces with you and learn what you know about Kansai shrines! :)

  2. Hi Ajisai.... if the shrine is listed in the Engi Shiki then this site is the best resource.