Saturday, June 3, 2023

Yasaka Shrine Itonaga


Itonaga is located in a narrow valley that runs up to Mount Futago in the middle of the Kunisaki Peninsula in Oita. It is one of 28 valleys that radiate out from the centre. It is now included in Akimachi.

The main shrine for the village is a branch of the famous Yasaka Shrine in Gion, Kyoto.

Like many of the shrines in the Kunisaki area, a pair of Buddhist Nio  statues stand guard.

Most Nio are carved in wood and range from being well- carved by experts, to being kind of chunky and funky, made by local artisans. When carved out of stone they tend to be less detailed.

This pair were quite unusual and "chubby"

The main building of the shrine had lots of intriguing relief carvings.

Yasaka Shrines enshrine Susano, his wife Kushinada, and 8 children. However, prior to 1868 the shrine was called Gion-sha and enshrined Gozu Tenno, known as an "Ox-Head King".

probably from India originally, and with some of his identity being picked up in Tibet, China, and Korea, Gozu Tenno was a curious, and complicated, mix of many different religious traditions,  protection against disease was a major attribute, and as such was instrumental in the now famous Gion Matsuri. The connection with Korea seems strong, maybe as the area around Kyoto was settled by Korean immigrants before it became the capital.

The previous post in this series documenting my 5 day walk exploring the Kunisaki Peninsula was on the Autumn Colours at nearby shrines.

1 comment:

  1. Always interesting to learn about the enshrined deities and how they can change with time (or politics).