Showing posts with label kotohira. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kotohira. Show all posts

Monday, January 29, 2024

Shrines of Day 66


While walking around the countryside near Sasebo in Nagasaki on the 66th day of my walk along the Kyushu pilgrimage I stopped in at any shrines that I passed. At the start of the day I visited a largish Sumiyoshi shrine in Haiki, and a little later Hasami Shrine next to Tozenji Temple. All the other shrines I visited that day were quite small and no information boards.

These first two photos are of a small Kotohira Shrine. before the Meiji period, they were probably called Konpira. There were a few more Kotohora shrines in the area. Since Meiji the main kami has been identified as a variation of Okuninushi. The main Kotohira Shrine is on Shikoku and was a major pilgrimage destination in its own right and was known for offering protection to seafarers.

Just 100 meters away is Srayama Daijingu Shrine. The small hokora was established in 1487. Unusual was a horse and a komainu rather than 2 komainu.

Apparently, during a famine in 1732 the local people either started to make puppets or started to perform, puppet plays.

With its large vermillion torii, and building indistinguishable from a residence, Suwa Daimyojin was a little unusual.

Sasebo Suwa Shrine was its full name but there is absolutely zero information about it. Obviously a branch of the famous Suwa Shrine in Nagano that enshrines Takeminakata, the son of Okuninushi who was "exiled " to Nagano after being defeated by the envoy of Amaterasu, Takemikazuchi.

The final shrine was Uenomiya Shrine at the base of a hill that once had a small castle on top.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Kotohira-gu, Izumo bunsha

After visiting Rendaiji, the sixth temple on the Izumo 33 Kannon pilgrimage I headed to the nearest train station in Naoe to head home, stopping in at the Konpira Shrine in the middle of the village.

Its now called a Kotohira-gu, which was the new name given to the kami Konpira in the Meiji era to disassociate it from its Buddhist identity. The main Konpira Shrine on Shikoku was one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations of the Edo period with millions of pilgrims travelling to Shikoku and often bringing back the "spirit" of the kami to enshrine in their local villages. This one in Naoe however was not established until 1880.

At the same time as renaming the kami it was given new identities more suitable for the national shinto that was in the process of being created. Hirata Atsutane had a hand in establishing the "true" identity of Kotohira as a manifestation of Okuninushi (Omononushi) and also the 12th Century Emperor Sutoku.

There are several smaller shrines in the grounds including a Harae-do, a Manasa shrine, a Hachiman shrine and this Inari Shrine.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yatogi Shrine, Tenri


Yatogi Shrine, sometimes pronounced Yatsugi, is a delightful shrine located on the Yamanobenomichi a little south of Isonokami in Tenri. The main hall has a fine thatched roof, and behind it the line of seven hondens have cedar-bark roofs.


The seven kami are quite an eclectic collection. The main kami is Futsunushi, a kami of swords and lightning, and possibly the personification of the main kami at nearby Isonokami Shrine. Also enshrined is Takemikazuchi, a main kami of the Fujiwara clan. The myths have either or both of these kami descending to Izumo and convincing Okuninushi to give Japan to Amaterasu's descendants. As the Fujiwara (known earlier as the Nakatomi) wiped out the Mononobe, it is believed that gradually the Fujiwara kami usurped and replaced the Mononobe kami.


Another enshrined kami here is Amenokoyane, one of the kami who performed rituals to entice Amaterasu out of her cave, and another ancestor of the Fujiwara. Another kami is Kotohira, a variation of Konpira.


Strangely, Susano is enshrined here, though that may be connected to local legends that pertain to the spirit of the eight-headed serpent Yamata no Orochi slain by Susano. It is believed that its spirit became associated with lightning, and in the hills behind nearby isonokami Shrine are rocks said to be it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sotoura Konpira Shrine, Matsubara, Hamada.


Sotoura is a small settlement at the head of a small inlet by Matsubara in Hamada. The small Konpira Shrine is built on top of a rocky outcropping.


The roof of the honden is odd!... the chigi (cross pieces) are aligned at 90 degrees to each other. I've seen this one time before, and if memory serves me well it was also a Konpira shrine. I have no idea if it means anything, but am still trying to find out.


Konpira is a very popular kami, known mostly as a protector of journeys, kind of like St. Christopher. As most journeys in ancient Japan were by sea, it's not surprising that they can often be found in coastal villages..


Like most Japanese Kami, Konpira has gone through many identities and forms. Originally a Hindu god, for most of the past Konpira was a Buddhist god. In the late 19th Century when the government created the new state religion of Shinto they changed its name to Kotohira, though most people still use the name Konpira. The government also decided that Kotohira was really an ancient Japanese Emperor, ... a lot of emperors werte enshrined by State Shinto, though that was not traditional.