Showing posts with label kanayago. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kanayago. Show all posts

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Serida Shrine

It may look like a small inconspicuous village shrine, but Serida Shrine has some vintage. It is listed in the Izumo Fudoki, so has existed since before the 7th Century, and is also listed in the Engi Shiki, therefore it received offerings from the imperial government in the Heian period.

The main kami enshrined here is listed as Kanayamabiko, who came into existence from the vomit of Izanami as she was dying after giving birth to fire. However, according to an excellent website on the history of iron in Japan at Hitachi Metals, it was probably called Kanayago before the Meiji Period.

Kanayago is a very popular kami among iron and metal workers and the head kanayago shrine is a little east of here. The Chugoku region and especially this part of Izumo was a main center for iron production in ancient times, and there are many Kanayago shrines.

Also enshrined here is Izanami and Kotosakano and Hayatamano, the latter two being the kami that came into existence at the time of Izanagi's oath of divorce from Izanami. Curiously they are linked with Izanami here rather than Izanagi.

This area is between the entrance to Yomi where Izanagi visited Izanami, and Izamani's tomb on top of Mt. Hiba.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sugio Hachimangu, Ichiki.


The village of Ichiki lies on the upper reaches of the Yato River at the base of a mountain that has a small ski resort on it. The Hachiman shrine lies in the centre of the village.

There are a lot of smaller, secondary shrines within the grounds of the main shrine. There is a shrine to Konpira, a very popular kami that originally came from India, a Kannayago Shrine, the kami of metal-workers, the ever popular Inari, the god of harvests (and geisha!), and an Omoto Shrine, the local land-kami. Every 6 years Omoto Kagura is performed here.


100 years ago most, if not all, of these secondary shrines would have been scattered about in small local communities. That was the essence of the traditional religion, local, mostly nature-based gods. The government began a program that closed half of the shrines in the country. They didn't close any Hachiman shrines, as the God of War was an important national kami, and that was the point. The small local shrines were all moved into a central "national" shrine, where national rituals and national kami would become the focus of peoples attention.

On my walks around the backcountry of Japan I have been pleasantly surprised to see a few local shrines being re-established.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ichiki Shrine, Ichiki


Ichiki Shrine is approached up a narrow road and flight of steps that run up the hillside from the Yato River. It's a fairly big shrine with a nice "3-legged" torii. The main kami enshrined here is Ichikishimahime, and its possible the village was named after the shrine. Ichikishimahime is a popular kami and the most famous shrine to her is probably Itsukushima Shrine on the World Heritage site of Miyajima, though her "home" shrine is in Munakata in Kyushu. According to the ancient myths she was created in a contest between Amaterasu and Susano. Susano took some of Amaterasu's jewels, chewed them up and spat out 5 male children. Amaterasu took Susano's sword, chewed it up and spat out Ichikishima and her 2 sisters. The girls were taken by Susano, and the boys by Amaterasu. One of the boys is the mythical ancestor of Japan's Imperial line.


There are numerous secondary shrines within the grounds, including Omoto, Konpira, and an interesting one to Kanayago, a shrine connected to iron production and blacksmithing that suggests this area was important for its iron.


From the shrine there are fine views across the valley to the ski slopes of Mizuho Highlands.

Interestingly, it is often said that Ichikishimahime is a child of Amaterasu, cutting out mention of Susano, and yet it is never said that the Imperial line is descended from Susano. One more example of the "hyping" of Amaterasu at the expense of Susano.