Friday, June 26, 2020

Tanokami the God of the Rice Paddy

The god of the rice paddy, literally "Tanokami" , unsurprisingly can be found throughout Japan, though they are never mentioned in any of the ancient chronicles that nowadays are used as historical records. In my area I encountered a small shrine to a tanokami and was told that after the harvest the god returns to the mountains in his role as yamanokami. This seems somewhat widespread an idea.

However, in what is now Kagoshima and part of Miyazaki, in the old domain of Satsuma, ther is a type of tanokami somewhat different and also very prevalent. Believed to date back to the early Edo Period, hundreds of statues of Tanokami can be found, many along the roadsides, and function much as a protective kami in the same way as for example Jizo statues.

On the 37th day of my Kyushu Pilgrimage, I walked from Sendai up the Sendai river and along the way encountered these 4 examples. They are all pretty weathered. Over the next few days I will be encotering many dozens more, some of which are painted......


  1. Tanokami is a very interesting topic.
    I have some legends and tales here
    Thank you !

  2. How delightful to read about your encounters with Ta no Kami! I have been living in Kagoshima for 35 years, and I find them delightful. So much so, that I wrote about them here, in case you are interested.