Showing posts with label kifune. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kifune. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Kifune Shrine Amagasaki


The Kifune Shrine in Amagasaki is sandwiched between the Hanshin Railway Line and the Hanshin Expressway in the Nishihinmachi district. A branch of the famous Kibune Shrine north of Kyoto, it was originally located within Amagasaki Castle but was relocated here when the castle was renovated during the Edo period.

As a branch of Kibune, the main deity enshrined here is Takaokami, however, 2 other Kyoto kami, from the 2 Kamo shrines are also enshrined.

There are half a dozen subsidiary shrines in the grounds, the largest of which is Shimanami Inari. It was also originally within Amagasaki Castle but was not moved here until 1869 when the castle was decommissioned and soon dismantled. 

Symbols of an American Football can be seen at the shrine because of the link to Kwansei Gakuin Fighters, a local university american football team. Since their founding in 1941 the team has been very successful except for one year when they ranked sixth, their worst ever ranking. That year no-one prayed for success at the shrine, so ever since they have not missed a year.

I was visiting at the end of my second day walking the Kinki Fudo Myo pilgrimage. The previous post was on crossing the Yodo River.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Higashikawanobori Kifune Shrine


Kawanobori is the last settlement along the old Nagasaki Kaido in Takeo before it comes into Ureshino. In Higashikawanobori I was surprised to find a Kifune Shrine, a branch of the famous Kifune Shrine in the mountains north of Kyoto. Banners were raised telling that a matsuri was in session.

Kifune Shrine enshrines Tamayorihime, the mother of mythical emperor Jimmu, and is said to be a kami of water and rain, so it was not surprising that this Kifune Shrine backs onto the river rather than up against the mountainside like most shrines.

Architecturally it was almost identical to the previous shrine, Uchida Tenmangu,  with a pavillion-style main hall and also a large sacred Camphor tree. The ceiling of the main hall also was covered in small paintings.

The original Kifune Shrine near Kyoto is famous for two things. One is that it is considered the origin of ema, the votive plaques found at most shrines and some temples. According to the story, the Emperor used to donate a horse for sacrifice to the shrine, a white horse to pray for rain to stop, and a black horse to make rain. Later a painting of a horse was used, and these became what are now ema.

The other things strongly associated with Kifune Shrine is in many senses a kind of Japanese voodoo called Ushi no Toki Mairi which involves nailing a straw figure to a tree at the shrine. The story has complex roots but is mostly known through the Noh play Kanawa.

While I was visiting a ceremony was taking place. The men taking part were dressed in everyday work clothes so I suspect it was some kind of Spring agricultural ritual.

The previous post was on Uchida Tenmangu.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Kibune-gu Shrine, Iizuka


Pronounced Kifune but written Kibune, this small local shrine in the outskirts of Iizuka is a branch of the famous Kifune shrine north of Kyoto.


The nameplate on the fairly new torii names it as Kibune-gu, and this is the first time I have seen gu used for a Kibune shrine. Gu is often applied to Hachiman and Tenjin shrines, Hachimangu and Tenmangu, and shrine terminology has become somewhat confusing since the establishment of Shinto in the mid 19th Century. Commonly when I am asking locals about a shrine they will use the term Omiya.


Kifune shrines enshrine two water kami, Takaokami and Kuraokami, associated strongly with rainfall. It was donating horses to the shrine in the case of drought or flood that traditiona has it led to Ema, votive plaques.


There were numerous small secondary shrines in the grounds, some no doubt local Aragami, but there was no information signboard so I cannot be specific.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Kifune Shrine, Saigi, Usa


Wandering around the countryside in the Fall it is easy to notice shrines and temples by the brilliant foliage of ginko trees. Unfortunately this small village shrine in Saigi near Usa station,  had no signboard and there was no-one around to ask for details, so all I know is  it is a Kifune Shrine.


200 meters away and 1 kilometer away were two other shrines named Kibune, though they were written with different kanji, but all three are in all probability branches of the Kifune Shrine in Kibune, just north of Kyoto.


The two main kami are Takaokami no kami and Kuraokami no kami, both connected to water sources and according to myth created from the drops of blood when Izanagi killed the kami of fire that killed Izanami.


There were several smaller shrines in the grounds, including this one to another type of water kami. The door was open and the shintai, the object that the kami resides in when it descends, was a rock. The vast majority of the shintai I have seen have been rocks.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Witchcraft in Kyoto,

Went to watch some kagura last night and was very excited to see a dance I had never seen before. The Kifune dance tells the story of a Kyoto wife whose husband has left her and she visits the Kifune (Kibune) shrine north of Kyoto to seek help getting revenge.

At the shrine she is given instructions as to how to transform into a demoness and then be able to curse her ex husband. Just to remind you, the female parts in Iwami Kagura are played by males. I thought this guy did an excellent job.

The dance is based on a Noh drama called Kanawa (the headress she is wearing with three lighted candles on it) and it is based on a tale in the Heike Monogatari about events in the eigth Century.

The next part of the dance concernes the afflicted husband who visits Japans most famous wizard Abe no Seimei for help ridding himself of the curse. This part of the dance is played as pantomime and one of the tools used by Abe no Seimei is a vuvuzela!!

This is now a rare dance as it was banned in early Meiji as the subject matter of witchery and magic was considered "superstitious" and primitive. Teaching that the Emperor was descended from the sun, on the other hand, was the basis of the new State Shinto.