Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hiyoshi Taisha


Hiyoshi Taisha, also known as the Hie shrines, lie at the foot of eastern slopes of Mount Hie, in Sakamoto , Shiga Prefecture.


It is a large complex of shrines, though not as large as it was. At the height of its power there were 108 shrines within its grounds.


Like many shrines the identity of the kami enshrined have undergone may changes over the years.


The shrine grew to prominence as the tutelary shrines of the Tendai monastery complex on top of Mt Hie, Enryaku-ji. Like Enryaku-ji, the Hie shrines were razed to the ground by Oda Nobunaga in 1571, so none of the building date back earlier than that.


The area around Hiezan and Lake Biwa was settled by immigrant clans from the Korean peninsular, and the very first “shrine” here was worshipped by them, although no buildings buildings yet existed. Near the top of Mt. Hachioji, a foothill of Mt Hie, stands a hug rock with a flat surface. Known as the Golden Rock as it reflects the morning sun, this was probably the first shrine, and the kami was Oyamakui, a harvest deity, a son of Otoshi, one of Susano's many sons. Many of Otoshi's other “children” were kami also worshipped by immigrant clans.


Two shrine buildings now flank the Golden Rock, and a long, wide, staircase goes up there from the lower shrines.


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