Friday, May 26, 2023

Ishizushi Shrine Nankoku


Ishizuchi Shrine is located in Nankoku near the southern coast of Kochi in Shikoku. I stopped in while walking the Shikoku Pilgrimage between temples 31 Chikurinji, and 32 Zenjibuji.

In the 9th Century the shrine was added to the Engi Shiki, a government document that listed shrines that received offerings from the imperial government.

Behind it is a small shrine built at the mouth to a small cave called Ishido. Ishido Shrine enshrines Zao Gongen, the primary deity of Shugendo mountain worship. The famous Ishizuchi mountain and shrine in northern Shikoku, a Shugendo centre,  is said to be the okunoin.

The entrance to the cave is so small that humans have not ventured inside, but a local story tells of a dog, conveniently with a wooden nametag, chased a rabbit into the cave and seven days later the dog and rabbits corpses were found in a cave far across on the other side of the island suggesting that the cave system extends vast distances.

The three primary kami enshrined here are Ishitsushi no kami, Akatsushi no kami, and Soktsushi no kami. They are now read in the same way as the kami of the famous Ishizuchi Shrine, ut a source I consult a lot regarding Engi Shiki shrines suggest that in earlier times they were read as the three kami enshrined in Sumiyoshi Shrine. Different written sources "read" names in different ways and so give different meanings as do/did different commentators throughout history. The kami now said to be enshrined in many shrines are different from those in historical times,with most shrines taking the Meiji era readings and classifications as the "established" ones.

The previous post in this series that looks at the many sites and sights found between the temples of the Ohenro Pilgrimage was the Makino Botanical Gardens.


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