Showing posts with label izanagi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label izanagi. Show all posts

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Some more Ema

Ema 絵馬

Votive plaques, called ema in Japanese, were originally paintings of horses given to shrines with prayers. Nowadays they are mostly small wooden plaques and can be seen at many shrines and temples. By far the most common are pictures of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, but some shrines and temples have designs that are specific to their site. This first one is at the biggest shrine on Awaji Island, Izanagi Shrine. The ema shows Izanagi, along with his wife-sister Izanami, creating the island of Awaji, believed to be the first created.

At a temple in the mountains of Yamaguchi, these ema quite clearly are accompanied with prayers for ample breast milk and for good childbirth. I have seen a lot of these around the Sanyo region, the southern coast of western Honshu.

Rituals blessing your car are a staple income at many shrines and some temples. These ema are for traffic safety.

Increasingly popular are ema for finding a good love match. With Japans falling birthrate and growing numbers of singles,  the number of shrines that "specialize" in love matching prayers is on the increase.

Not sure what the meaning of the peach is.....

Purchase a selection of ema from GoodsFromJapan

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Tonoe Shrine Moji

Tonoe Shrine sems to be the major shrine of Moji in Kitakyushu, but it is overshadowd by an elevated expressway under which you must pass to reach the shrine.

Within the grounds though now considered separate, is a small temple that legend says was funded by Kobo Daishi in 806.

The three main kami enshrined here are Amenominakanushi, considered by the Kojiki to be the first kami to exist, but barely mentioned in the Nihongi, it is believed that in ancient times there were no shrines to him. The other two are Izanagi and Izanami.

Being early in the new year there was a big area covcered with a canopy filled to overflowing with last years ofuda and other ritual paraphenalia bought at the shrine last new year. They will all be ceremonialy burned in a few days,

Monday, April 18, 2016

Taga Shrine Nogata


Taga Shrine in Nogata is the main shrine of the area and when I visited just before the new year they were getting ready for the influx of visitors in the new year.


It is unknown when the shrine was founded although it is believed there was a Myoken Shrine here in the Heian Period. The kami enshrined here are Izanagi and Izanami.


Also enshrined here is Hachiman, though I suspect he was a later addition.


The Kuroda clan changed its name  to Taga Shrine in 1691 and made it the tutelary shrine of the area. The crest is of a pair of wagtails.


About twenty young girls were busy learning their duties as temporary miko for the busiest few days of the shrines year,

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Kitayama Shrine, Mount Wakasugi


Located right on top of Mount Wakasugi at about 660 meters above sea level, the maps and many people call it Kitayama Shrine, but it is really the Upper Taiso-gu shrine. The lower Taiso-gu I stopped in at on my way up the mountain.


Not surprisingly it seems to have the same set of kami enshrined as at the lower shrine, the main one being Izanagi, along with Amaterasu, and Hachiman.


All around the shrine are Buddhist statues and shrines as the Okunoin where Kukai supposedly practised austerities is in a cave just below the shrine. It was usually Buddhists or Yamabushi who established shrines on mountaintops like this.


There is a large, white statue of the mythical Jingu, mother of Ojin, and a curious statue of Daikoku with an extreme smile....


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Sada Shrine

Sada Shrine, located north of Matsue, was once the most important shrine in the Izumo region. Enshrined in the central honden are 5 kami, the main one being Sadano Okami, along with Izanagi and Izanami, and the pair Hayatamano and Kotosakano. Izanagi and Izanami are well known, and in Izumo, Hayatamano and Kotosakano, 2 kami associated with the "divorce" of Izanagi and Izanami are also fairly common. Little is known of the main kami though except he is known as the protector of the Shimane Peninsula. He was born in a nearby sea cave called kaganokukedo and some posts on that can be found here.

The right (north) honden enshrines the Imperial kami: Amaterasu, and her grandson Ninigi. The left honden enshrines Susano, and something called Hisetsu Yonchu, which I think means "hidden four poles", about which I can find no information.

Sada Shrine is one of the many shrines where the mass kami of Japan arrive in November during kamiarizuki, though it is widely reported that they all go to Izumo Taisha.

Sada Shrine is also home to the UNESCO registered Sada Shin Noh. a form of Noh-influenced kagura that is believed to have influenced satokagura nationwide.

When I first explored this area many years ago I found it interesting to klearn that the earliest known yayoi site in Izumo was found in this valley indicating perhaps that this is where the proto-Japanese first settled in the region which would explain Sada shrines importance.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sasaguri Taiso-gu Shrine


The large Torii along the road some distance before the shrine gives some indication of the importance of Taiso-gu locally.


A local tourist website says that Taiso Gongen arrived here from China in 724. Another source says that pre Meiji the shrines name was Jimmu Taiso Shrine. Now the main kami is listed as Izanagi.


There are another 6 kami listed here including Amaterasu, Hachiman, Sumiyoshi, & Hiyoshi, which suggest to me they were all later additions.


Like many shrines in Kyushu the grounds contained some huge Camphor trees. Taiso Shrine is well known for its Kagura, one of the few places in Fukuoka where it still exists.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Junisho Shrine

Junisho Jinja

Junisho Shrine is another small village shrine on the banks of the Nakaumi just about 1k north of Oi Shrine. Junisho means "twelve places" and refers to the 12 different kami enshrined here.

The first two are Izanagi and Izanami, the brother-sister, husband-wife, pair who really are the most important of the Japanese kami. It was they who created the Japanese islands and populated them with a whole pantheon of kami.

Among the kami created by Izanagi and Izanami perhaps the most important are the siblings Amaterasu and Susano, both also enshrined here. Amaterasu is often called the most important Japanese kami, but that is really just a hangover from State Shinto, her importance being that the imperial family claim descent from her. In real terms Susano is more important. He "descended" to Japan long before the descendants of Amaterasu, and there are far more shrines in Japan to Susano and his lineage than there are for Amaterasu and her lineage.

Between them, by "trial of pledge", Amaterasu and Susano created the  Gonansan Joshin, 5 male and 3 female kami, 6 of whom are enshrined here. The three females, often called the Munakata Kami, were kami strongly connected with travel between Japan and the Korean Peninsula. They are Tagitsuhime, Takiribime, and Ichikishimahime. The three male are Kumanokusubi, Ikutsuhikone, and Amenohohi. Its not clear why 2 of the eight are not enshrined here, nor why the only kami enshrined here, Konohanasakuyahime, that is not part of the obvious grouping of twelve.

There is also an altar/shrine to Kojin.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Manai Shrine

Manai Shrine is another of the 6 shrine pilgrimage around the Ou District of Izumo. It is also listed in both the Izumo Fudoki and the Engishiki.

Prior to the Meiji Period it was known as Izanagi-sha, which tells us who the primary kami is. It is not far from Kamosu Shrine, another shrine connected to Izanagi's flight from Yomi.

Also enshrined here is Amatsuhikone, one of the 5 male kami created by Susano out of Amaterasu's jewels. The most well known of the 5 is Amenooshimimi, the father of Ninigi.

There are three secondary shrines in the grounds, though no information is available about who they enshrine except one has some small foxes suggesting Inari.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Rokusho Shrine

Located in a grove of trees surrounded by rice paddies, Rokusho Shrine is, like Iya Shrine and Adakaya Shrine, part of a 6 shrine pilgrimage in the Ou district of eastern Izumo.

Behind the shrine there are posts showing the layout of what was the provincial government buildings during the Nara and early Heian Period.

Rokusho Shrine is called a Soja, a shrine where different kami are gathered together in one place. usually this was to make it easier for district officials to visit the shrines in their area, a case of bringing the mountain to Mohamed, but here it seems to be a collection of the six most important national kami. Collectively enshrined here are Izanagi and Izanami, their "offspring" Amaterasu, Susano, and Tsukiyomi, and Onamuchi, otherwise known as Okuninushi. All six kami are mythologically local to this region as well as being nationally important.

There are three secondary shrines in the grounds, a Tenmangu, Chomei, & Oji, but for me the most interesting are the Kojin altars,

There are a total of 5 of these altars...... next post.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Umi Hachimangu


Umi Hachimangu is located a little to the east of Fukuoka City. Like all Hachimangu, it enshrines primarily Ojin, the posthumous name of the "emperor" Homuda Wake.


What is unique about this Hachimangu is that it is built on the site where, according to the ancient myths,  Homuda Wake was born, and the place name was changed to Umi, derived from the Japanese word for birth.


Along with Ojin, his mother Jingu is enshrined. Often Hachimangu will have Ojins father Chuai and Ojins wife Himegami enshrined, but here it is Tamayorihime, who is sometimes considered to be an individual, and sometimes considered to be a generic word for Miko.


While I was there a ceremony was going on. It may have been a Purification ceremony, but I suspect it more likely to be a ceremony to pray for safe childbirth, something this shrine is particularly known for.