Showing posts with label koyane. Show all posts
Showing posts with label koyane. Show all posts

Monday, January 19, 2015

Oi Shrine

Oi Shrine is a small village shrine on the shore of the Nakaumi. It is listed in the Izumo Fudoki and therefore must be at least 1300 years old. In the Fudoka it was called Oisha and the kami enshrined was Okuninushi. However the main kami is now Amaterasu, along with Amenokoyane, Nakatsutsu (one of the Sumiyoshi kami), Yamato Takeru, & Homuda Wake (Ojin), along with Okuninushi.

It woud be interesting to know why this whole slew of Yamato kami came to supplant the local Okuninushi, but I can find no information as to when or why this happened.

There is a small Inari shrine next to the main shrine, and, like all the shrines in the region, altars to the local Kojin, in this case 4 in total. Before the twentieth Century these would have been out in the local communities, but the government, in their bid to strengthen their new Shinto religion, closed many of the local shrines and forced the local people to move their altars/shrines to a central shrine more often than not enshrining a "national" kami.

It is obvious that these Kojin altars are the site of much more activity than the main shrine.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tsurue Shinmeigu


Tsurue Shinmeigu is located on a small island in the north of Hagi, Yamaguchi. The channel seperating the island from the mainland is only a few meters wide so it doesnt feel like an island.


The shrine was founded around the end of the Heian Period, 5 centuries or so before Hagi became the Mori clans castle town. It is a branch of Ise Shrine.


Amaterasu is therefore the primary kami, but many others are enshrined within the grounds, including Takamusubi, and Kunitokotachi who were among the group of primary kami that created the universe and then disappeared from the mythology.


Another group of kami enshrined here are Omoikane, Futodama, Koyane, and Tajikarao. These kami all played a part in luring Amaterasu out of the Heavenly Rock Cave and also accompanied Ninigi on his descent to Earth. They are considered ancestors of some of the powerful clans of ritualists of the Yamato.


Also enshrined here and connected to Amaterasu and the Yamato is Ninigi and Tsukiyomi.
From the lineage of Susano there are two kami enshrined, Okuninushi, and Otoshi.
Finally there is an Inari shrine.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Kasuga Shrine, Hagi


The Kasuga Shrine in Hagi is located on the southern edge of the old samurai district and is one of the approximately 3000  branches of the famous Kasuga Taisha in Nara which is the family shrine of the Fujiwara Family, arguably the most powerful family in Japan for many centuries.


Though most common nowadays, stone komainu were a later feature and were preceded by wooden ones inside the shrine building or later in the zuijinmon.


By the side of the shrine building is an old chinowa, a ring used for purification. usually in the spring a new one will be made and erected in front of the shrine and parishioners will pass through it.


The main kami enshrined here are the same 4 as Kasuga Taisha, Amenokoyane, Takemikazuchi, Futsunushi, both of whom took part in kuniyuzuri, and Himegami, which seems to be a generic name for consorts of male kami. According to Izumo records only Futsunushi came to Izumo for the kuniyuzuri.


The signboard also lists another kami that I had not heard of before:- Iwatsutsuno-o, who, like Takemikazuchi was formed from the blood left on the sword Izanagi used to slay the fire god with.

There were some secondary shrines in the grounds but the signboard gave no details....


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tahara Shrine


Tahara Shrine is a large shrine located at the foot of the hills north of Matsue castle. It is approached up a long flight of steps flanked by dozens of stone lanterns and komainu. Notable are a pair of komainu that are the largest in the San-in region. Most if not all of the komainu and lanterns are made of Kimachi sandstone, quarried not far away on the shore of Lake Shinji.


Another interesting feature is that 12 of the lanterns are topped with small sculptures of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac.

Also known as Tawara Shrine, it includes a branch of the Kasuga Taisha, and the main halls shimenawa is I believe Kasuga style, being braided rather than twisted. The shrine is listed in the 8th Century Izumo Fudoki and has therefore existed for close to a thousand years before Matsue and its castle came into being. The shrine was originally located 500 meters away but was moved here during the war between the Amago and Mori clans.


One of the secondary shrines in the grounds had a polypropylene shimenawa that shows how even plastic can achieve wabi sabi!!


The shrine features a twin pair of hondens. In the east honden are enshrined Futsunushi, Takemikazuchi, and Amenokoyane. The latter two kami are considered ancestors of the Nakatomi-Fujiwara clan, and Futsunushi is the ancestor of the Mononobe. In Izumo records it was Futsunushi who came from the High Plain of Heaven to entreat Okuninushi to give Japan to Amaterasu and her descendants. According to Yamato stories it was Takemikazuchi and Futsunushi, and appears to be a rewriting of the myths to favor the powerful Fujiwara.

The west hinden enshrines Ukanomitama, the child of Susano now mostly identified as Inari.


Behind the hondens a path leads into the forest and a grove of sacred trees with numerous altars scattered around their bases.


Secondary shrines within the grounds include Inari, various aragami, Kojin, Suijin etc

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ketsuwake Shrine


Ketsuwake ( or Kitsuwake) Shrine is located at the head of a valley running east out of Asuka in a village called Kamura.


The area is known for an old legend concerning Kamatari Nakatomi, who, after having his rival Iruka Soga assassinated was chased by Soga's disembodied head. For some reason he believed that he would be safe here. In the mountains above the village is Tanzan Shrine, the site of where the plot against the Soga was hatched.


There are 2 hondens at the shrine. The larger one belongs to Ketsuwake no mikoto, who would be the local village god. The second honden was built in the Meiji era and is a branch of Kasuga Shrine, enshrining Ame no Koyane, the mythical ancestor of the Nakatomi clan who since Kamatari were given the family name Fujiwara.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

2009 Ichiyama Kids kagura festival

We went over to Ichiyama last night for the annual Kids Kagura Festival. Each year there are fewer and fewer kids performing. Partly thats due to the village losing population to the cities, but a friend suggested that because Ichiyama still dances the older, slower 6-beat style that some kids from the village dance with other groups that dance the more exciting 8-beat. I think it is due to the commitments that Japanese kids have to their school clubs and brutal exam system. Japanese kids get very little free time nowadays.


The video is from the Iwato dance. Koyane, mythical ancestor of the Nakatomi, who became the Fujiwara, and Futotama, mythical ancestor of the Imbe Clan, perform rituals, unsuccessfully, to entice Amaterasu out of the cave.


Uzume's dance, considered to be the mythical origin of all kagura, is successful in enticing the hidden sun out of her cave.


The arrival of the demon,... here in the Hachiman dance, is always fun!


As usual we had a very enjoyable time.

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.