Showing posts with label kojiki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kojiki. Show all posts

Sunday, November 6, 2011

On top of the world


Just got back from a few days up on Hibayama, straddling the border between Shimane and Hiroshima. I started out at about 750 meters from Kumano Shrine, an ancient shrine considered the gateway to the tomb of Izanagi on top of Hibayama. From the main building, constructed in the early eighth Century, the trail heads up past the Iwasaka, the sacred rock that was the original shrine, past numerous smaller shrines surrounded by 1,000 year old cedars.


About halfway up the mountain i paused at Nachi no Taki, a picturesque waterfall. Another hour and I was on top of Mt Ryuuouzan, a tad over 1200 meters. I came upon a derelict campsite and decided to camp there for the night. I was not attacked by the Hibagon!!.... actually the Hibagon has never attacked anyone, and since 1982 there has been no sightings of it or its tracks. If you are interested in this Japanese equivalent of the Sasquatsch or Yeti, this site has the most complete information in English.


A few hours before the sun I was up and on my way and got to the top of Hibayama not long after the sun rose. The entrance to Izanamis tomb is flanked by 2 ancient yew trees. Izanami was the female of the creator-pair that created the Japanese Islands. The Kojiki places her tomb here on Hibayama. The Nihonshoki places it in Wakayama.


From the top of Eboshisan, the neighboring peak, the views down into Hiroshoima and Shimane were stunning......


The slopes of Hibayama are covered in forests of beech, and now leafless, it allowed the sun to penetrate and bath the mountain slopes in glorious golden morning light.....


Descending down towards the park headquarters with its campsites, ski-lift, and onsen, the tree farms of cedar begin, but remnants of the beech forest survive....


Down at the park center the fall colors are in full swing......


Continuing down for a few more hours I reach Yuki where I catch the train down through Okuizumo and home.....

Monday, March 22, 2010

Yomi, The Underworld!


When it comes to where you go after death, the Japanese have had multiple places to believe in. Probably the most common nowadays is the Pure Land of Buddhism, and also the christian notion of heaven has had some influence. Before the introduction of Buddhism there were several places, Ne no Kuni (land of the root), Tokoyo no Kuni, the land of everlasting life that lay across or under the sea, but the classic version is Yomi, the land of the dead.


Yomi is where Izanami went to after giving birth to the kami of fire caused her death. Her partner, Izanagi, was under strict instructions not to follow her, but he did anyway and discovered a place underground filled with rotting corpses. The description of Yomi reads like the inside of a tomb. Anyway, Izanagi was chased by the hideous guardians of Yomi and only managed to escape by blocking the entrance with boulders.


The entrance to Yomi is up in Izumo, not far from Matsue, just off Route 9. One would think that the entrance to hell would be a big deal, but its actually hard to find, marked with a handpainted sign up a small farm road. The farmer who lives next to it doesnt seem at all bothered by it.


A few kilometres away is Kamosu Shrine, and this is where Izanagi stopped and rested after fleeing Yomi. Afterwards he purified himself with water to get rid of the pollution of death, and in the process created Amaterasu and Susano, among others.