Showing posts with label kuniyuzuri. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kuniyuzuri. Show all posts

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hitsu Shrine

Usually when I am walking a pilgrimage I have studied the maps and have a pretty good idea of what shrines I will be passing, but Hitsu Shrine was a surprise as it was not marked on the maps, though it most obviously is a shrine.

The main kami is Futsunushi, a martial kami connected with swords. here in Izumo it is most strongly connected to the Mononobe Clan, though it was taken over by the Nakatomi-Fujiwara when they wiped out the Mononobe. In Izumo it was Futsunushi who arranged the handover of Japan to the Yamato in the Kuniyuzuri myth.

Within the grounds was a Wakamiya Shrine, though it did not indicate which kami was enshrined in it, possibly hachiman. There was also a small Inari Shrine.

Behind the main shrine was a Kojin altar with the rope serpent wrapped around a tree.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Iishi Shrine

Iishi Shrine is the shrine that Jyufukuji was built as a Jinguji for. It is a very ancient and important shrine being listed in both the Izumo Fudoki and the Engi Shiki. The main kami is Iishitsuhenomikoto, otherwise known as Amenohinatori or Takehiratori.

The white fence behind the shrine surrounds a large rock, the goshintai of the shrine, and it was onto this rock that the kami descended. The rock itself is considered the honden. According to records from ancient Izumo, Takehiratori was the son of Amenohohi who was the first emissary sent by Amaterasu to convince Izumo to cede their land to the Yamato. According to the Yamato version of events in the Kojiki, Amenohohi sided with Okuninushi and did not get back in touch with the High Plain of Heaven, so they sent Takemikazuchi to convince Okuninushi. In the Izumo version however, Amenohohi did sent a message back and his son, Takehiratori descended and arranged the transfer of land, known as Kuniyuzuri.

The Nihon Shoki also says that Takehinatori came with divine treasures that were placed in the Izumo Grand Shrine which suggests that the records of Gakuenji that state Izumo Taisha enshrined Susano originally may have some credence. Both Amenohohi and Takehiratori are considered ancestors of priestly lineage that functioned as head priests of Izumo taisha as well as governors of Izumo.

There is a smaller secondary shrine within the grounds, Takuasha, that enshrines Kibitsuhiko.

What is also unusual about Iishi Shrine is that there are no komainu or shimenawa, in fact no "decoration" at all.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Kanbara Shrine & Tomb

Kanbara Shrine is a little further down the river from Unochi Shrine, but was until recently about a hundred meters from its current location. It was moved when they discovered it had been built on top of a kofun, a mounded tomb....

The three main kami enshrined here are Okuninushi, Iwatsutsuwo, & Iwatsutsune, the latter two being the parents of Futsunushi, the kami from the Kuniyuzuri Myth who arranged the transfer of Japan to Amaterasu's descendants from Okuninushi.

Among the grave goods found in the excavated tomb was a bronze mirror dated 239, which was the year the legendary "queen of Wa" Himiko sent an envoy to China and received one hundred bronze mirrors.

The design of the mirror found here was the one that has been called Himiko Mirrors, but more than 100 have been found. Doing a bit of research for this post I read a convincing argument by one historian that these mirrors were manufactured in Japan by immigrant Chinese craftsmen.

I have often read that "shinto" has an aversion to death, but in western Japan at least I have found quite a few shrines that have been constructed on top of tombs.

Kyushu Yuzu

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Onamuchimikonokami no Yashiro

After passing by Izumo Taisha, the route of the Izumo 33 Kannon Pilgrimage heads up a steep and narrow mountain lane. About 1k up the road is this small shrine, a sessha of Izumo Taisha.

The main kami is Onamuchi, the name of the kami more commonly known by his title Okuninushi, the Great Land Master. The second kami is Kotoshironushi, one of his sons and the main kami of the Miho shrine.

The third kami is Takahime, one of Okuninushis' daughters who married Amewakahiko the second envoy sent from the High Plain of Heaven to ask Okuninushi to hand over control of Japan to Amaterasu's line. Both the first and second envoys switched sides and joined Okuninushi and did not report back necessitating a third envoy being sent.

After this shrine, the only structure on the road up the mountain, the road continues to steeply ascend before dropping down towards the sea.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Suwa Shrine, Itano


Suwa Shrine in Itano, Tokushima, is located between temples 2 & 3. It is one of the approximately 10,000 branch shrines of Suwa Taisha up in Nagano.


The grounds were pretty unkempt and it looked as if the shrine was not used by people much.


The main kami enshrined in Suwa shrines are Takeminakata and his wife Yasakatome. According to the legend he was a son of Okuninushi who did not wish to hand over the land to the emissaries sent by Amaterasu. he challenged one of them to a trial of strength and was defeated. This is considered to be the mythological origin of sumo. He fled to Suwa in what is now Nagano.


The legend would seem to indicate that there was resistance within the confederacy of tribes/clans/countries that centered on Izumo to the takeover by the Yamato.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Asuka Nimasu Shrine


Asuka Nimasu Shrine in Asuka, the ancient capital of early Japan is a very old shrine and is one of the possible sources of the name of Asuka.

The three main kami enshrined here are Kotoshironushi, Takamimusubi, and Kayanarumi.

Kotoshironushi is an Izumo kami, one of Okuninushi's sons, nowadays equated with Ebisu. Kayanarumi is a daughter of Kotoshironushi, and Takamimusubi is one of the three "creator" kami. In some versions of the Kuniyuzuri myth that explains the ceding of Japan from Okuninushi to the Yamato, it is Takamimusubi who orders the process and not Amaterasu, and in fact Ninigi who descends to rule over Japan is the grandson of both Amaterasu and Takamimusubi.

Kayanarumi is the most interesting of the three, and an alternate name for her is Asuka no Kannabi mi Hime no kami, and this relates to what happened after Kuniyuzuri. Okuninushi decided to place himself and several of his relatives in the Kannabi (sacred mountains) surrounding Yamato, and Kayanarumi was placed in a mountain in Asuka, so it seems likely that she was the original main kami of the shrine.


There are a lot of secondary shrines within the grounds, enshrining Onamuchi (the name of Okuninushi enshrined in nearby Miwa), Oyamazumi, an Asuka Yamaguchi Shrine, and Sarutahiko.


There is also an Inari Shrine, one for Konpira, one for Daijingu, and one for Shirahige, a Korean god brought over with immigrants who settled in the Lake Biwa area.


When we look at some of the things for sale in the small office of the shrine it becomes clear what the focus of the shrine is,..... fertility!

This is a male/female sake cup.


The shrine is home to a famous matsuri, the Onda matsuri, which includes a performance with masked dancers that includes explicit representations of the sex act.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Inasehagi Shrine


Inasehagi Shrine is located in the tiny fishing village of Sagiura on the coast of the western end of the Shimane Peninsular. and is a relatively important shrine being mentioned in the 8th Century Izumo Fudoki and also in the Engi Shiki, a tenth Century document that lists shrines that received support from the Imperial government.


The main kami enshrined here is Inasehagi who is sometimes described as a guide to Amaterasu's envoys who descended to Izumo to convince Okuninushi to hand over to japan to her descendants, and sometimes described as an arbitrater for the discussion (Kuniyuzuri Myth)

All variations of the story say it was Inasehagi who went from Inasa Beach to the eastern end of the peninsular (now Mihonoseki) to fetch back Okuninushi's son Kotoshironushi (Ebisu)


Inasehagi was the son of Amenohohi, one of the five male children created by Susano and Amaterasu. In fact Amenohohi was the first envoy sent by Amaterasu to Okuninushi, but he changed sides and settled in Izumo without reporting back.


Amenohohi is considered to be the ancerstor of the Senge, the priestly family that has run Izumo Taisha since its founding and were previously governors of Izumo.


It is not clear whether Inasehagi came with Amaterasu's envoys or was already in Izumo with his father.


There is a subsidiary shrine in the grounds to a kami called Hakuto which seems to be connected with the white rabbit of Inaba,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bentenjima Shrine


The small shrine on Bentenjima (Benten Island) enshrines the female kami/goddess Benten, sometimes known as Benzaiten. Associated with water, and sometimes equated with Ichikishimahime, Benzaiten is the only female among the seven lucky gods of Japan.


Originally the Hindu Goddess Saraswati, introduced into Japan through Buddhist sutras, so one can find both shinto shrines and buddhist temples dedicated to her.


Benten Island itself is actually just a big rock on Inasa beach, and in the Kuniyuzuri myth the rock was thrown here by Takemikazuchi while engaged in a competition of strength with one of Okuninushi's sons.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Inasa Shrine


Inasa Shrine, also known as Hayatama Shrine, is located in a shady cliffside grove on the path to Kofukuji Temple near Inasa Beach.

It enshrines Takemikazuchi, who, according to the Yamato record of events, was one of 2 kami sent down from the high plain of heaven by Amaterasu to arrange the transfer of Japan to her descendants from Okuninushi, a story known as Kuniyuzuri, and which took place a few hundred meters from this site.


Izumo records however make no mention of Takemikazuchi, rather they say that Futsunushi was the sole emissary. Futsunishi is considered the ancestor of the Mononobe clan, and Takemikazuchi is the ancestor of the Nakatomi, later renamed Fujiwara. As the Fujiwara increased their power at the expense of other clans, notably the Mononobe and the Soga, it seems that Takemikazuchi took on attributes and roles formerly held by Futsunushi.


I will write a more detailed post on the Kuniyuzuri myth as soon as I have posted on one more shrine in the area.