Showing posts with label mikoshi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mikoshi. Show all posts

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Kumano Shrine, Honjo

Honjo is a large village on the north shore of the Nakaumi and the main village shrine was a branch of Kumano Shrine. I think this was the first shrine I had come to in the last 2 days of walking that was not either in the Izumo Fudoki nor the Engi Shiki.

The three main kami are Izanami, Hayatamano, and Kotosakano, though usually it is Izanagi associated with the other two rather than Izanami. The shrine had a small but in good condition mikoshi, fairly simple.

In the grounds was a Tenjin shrine, an Inari shrine, and an small shrine with no name.

The Inari shrine had a lot of small kitsune figures, usually white ceramic or plain stone, but also this pair of golden ones. There was also a small pair of figures, Daikoku and Ebisu.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Autumn Matsuri 2014 part 3


On the sunday morning all signs of the previous night had disappeared and ceremonies were held. The first took place in front of a side altar. There was no musical accompaniment. After reading out a norito, the priest then read out the names of the handful of us who were taking part. We were then purified with an onusa and one by one called up and given a drink of omiki and a part of the mochi that had been used as offerings to the kami. The folded paper also contained some grains of the rice that had also been on the altar.


The next ceremony was a much grander affair with taiko and flute accompaniment. The village elders set offering upon the elder and norito were read, Once again there was purification. At the end of the ceremony the kami was transfered into the mikoshi which had been brought into the shrine.


When I first moved to the village I asked about the mikoshi and was told that there were not enough men nowadays to be able to carry the mikoshi. A recent survey of villagers showed that the villagers wanted the mikoshi procession to be revived. This was the first time in 14 years.


The mikoshi was really heavy as we carefully manhandled it down the steep steps. From the shrine it was then carried around the village. The roads where we passed were lined with a simple shimenawa. In the middle of the village another short ceremony was performed. The priests and musicians followed along.


Many of the older people who came out of their houses as the mikoshi passed were really pleased to see the mikoshi again. Once acrried back up the shrine steps and deposited back in the shrine we all shared some more omiki.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sokinoya Shrine

Sokinoya Jinja

Sokinoya Shrine is listed in the Engi Shiki so it is at least 1,000 years old. It's located at the base of the hills south of Naoe in Hikawa.

Halfway up the steps is the store room holding the rather elegant mikoshi and other valuable equipment.

The main kami enshrined is Kihisakamitakahiko, and there is absolutely no information on him except that this area was once called Kihisa so he was probably the leader of the area. This rock in front of the shrine is reputed to be where he stood and prayed in the direction of Izumo Taisha across the plain below.

Visible behind the rock is a small shrine to Sarutahiko. It was moved here from its original site at a large rock outcropping further up the mountain. There is also a Kumano Shrine in the grounds.

For me, the most interesting secondary shrine in the rounds is the Karakuniidateho shrine. Karakuni means "from Korea", and there are numerous Karakuni shrines around Izumo and Iwami that enshrine Susano and his son Isotake that are manifestations of the legend/myth that Susano and his son arrived here from the Korean peninsula.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Abandoned Mikoshi


Mikoshi are sacred palanquins or portable shrines used for transporting kami most often seen during matsuris when the kami are paraded around the local community once a year.


It is believed their origin lies in when the great kami Hachiman was carried by palanquin from Usa in Kyushu to Todaiji in Nara in the middle of the eighth century.


When not being used the Mikoshi are normally kept in a special storeroom though it is not uncommon for them to be put on display at New Year when many visitors come to the shrine.


In the heavily depopulated rural areas of Japan many shrines are now virtually unused and the mikoshi are no longer used. These photos were taken in a small shrine in the mountains of yamaguchi Prefecture.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Hiyoshi Taisha part 2


The first shrine building to be built here was probably built around the latter part of the seventh Century. For a brief period the “ emperor” known as Tenji moved his court from the Yamato Plain to Otsu a few miles south of Hie, and he brought with him and enshrined in what is now the western compound of Hiyoshi Taisha the kami of Miwa, Onamuchi, the Yamato aspect of Okuninushi. So both of the first kami enshrined here trace their roots to Izumo.


The Mikoshi of Hie are quite famous, and a special storeroom/museum exists to display examples of older ones. Enryaku-ji had become a powerful economic and political force by the 12th Century, and the monks used the mikoshi to “attack” Kyoto to coerce the government to accede to demands. The mikoshi were taken up and over Hiezan and the monks marched on Kyoto and left the mikoshi at various points around the city. Kami were feared as well as revered, and fear of the anger of the kami in the mikoshi put pressure on the government.


Under the control of the Tendai monastery Enryaku-ji there developed the cult of Sanno at Hie. Known as the Mountain King, developed from the center of Tendai in China, the messenger of Sanno is the monkey.


In all a total of 108 upper and 108 lower shrines were constructed here. 108 is a significant number in Buddhism. many of the shrines have long gone, but many remain. Some of the shrines are Usa, enshrining hachiman, Shirayama, enshrining Izanagi and Izanami, Otoshi, the father of Oyamakui, the shrines main kami , and a Suga, enshrining Susano, Oyamakuis grandfather.


The frounds of Hiyoshi are very large and many visitors come for the Fall foliage. There is even a restaurant and tea room within the forest.


Hiyoshi has a unique torii. Often referred to as symbolizing the mountain, the triangle actually symbolizes the unity of buddhas and kami. It was removed in 1869 with shinbutsubunri, but reinstated after WWII.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Kawado Suijin Matsuri. part 2


The procession reaches the riverbank where two boats are waiting to ferry the mikoshi upstream.


One boat carries the young men with the bamboo and banners to replace last years. The giant Onusa is taken by road. By now the young men are inebriated. Drunkeness and matsuri go together and always have. The earliest records of japan from China in the 3rd century make mention of the Japanese love of alcohol.

Cinco de Mayo86

The second boat carries the mikoshi, priests, musicians, kasaboko, and a couple of other village representatives.


Both boats head upstream a few hundred meters to the spot where suijin is venerated


A rocky outcropping at the base of a cliff. On the cliff above the Onusa is replaced. This one extends horizontally out from the cliff top so the Onusa is above the water below. You can just make it out in the top right of the photo. Here is also where the string of koinoburi are strung across the river in honor of Boys Day.


The young men pass up the bamboo and banners to the group above. Last years bamboo and banners are lowered down and disposed of in the river.


The priests read norito and make further offerings to Suijin.


The boats then return to the riverbank and the procession proceeds to a second spot on the Yato River. It used to go by boat,, but since the damming of the river it is too shallow and no longer navigable, so it goes by truck.

It seems to be a tradition that some of the young men end up in the river.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tsunozu Otoshi Shrine


Tsunozu's Otoshi shrine is in the old part of the village where a maze of alleys and narrow roads and traditional houses are still maintained. Most villages have old sections like this.

It's matsuri day, so the streets are lined with shimenawa, fresh bamboo, and shrine banners. The shimenawa lining the streets are to protect from evil as the kami will be passing by later in the matsuri procession.


At the shrine the flags are out in celebration of the matsuri, which occurs after the harvest in early November. As well as the main kami, Otoshi, there are secondary shrines to Inari (Otoshi's brother), Omoto, the local land kami, and konpira.


The mikoshi stand ready to be carried through the village later. While I was visiting the shrine the ceremonies were underway to transfer the kami into the mikoshi.


One of the 2 komainu (Korean Lions) flanking the steps up to the shrine. These are a fairly standard modern design.


Mr Kono is the priest of the shrine. He is also responsible for 9 other shrines in the area, but even so his duties do not pay enough to make a living. Buddhist priests have the VERY lucrative funeral business to pay their wages, but other than at major shrines, most Shinto priests must work at a regular job.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Matsuri procession


The annual matsuri for a shrine will usually include a procession. The details differ a little from shrine to shrine, but the format is basically the same. This procession is being led by a Tengu, a kind of forest goblin commonly associated with yamabushi.


Next up is a Shishi, chinese lion. This was the first time I'd seen one in a procession.


The taiko is normally carried suspended from a stout piece of bamboo by 2 men, but this was pulled in a purpose-built taiko cart. I was particularly impressed with the seatbelt that the drummer is wearing.


The children's mikoshi comes next. The kids get half a day off from school for the matsuri.


Next come the larger and heavier mikoshi(s) carried by the village men, and occasionally women. Nowadays, if the village is large and the population dwindled, the mikoshi sometimes are carried by small pick-up truck.


After the mikoshi come the priests and shrine assistants, followed by the Miko who earlier danced for the kami.


Sometimes the mikoshis will stay at different spots around the village so that further ceremonies may take place.

All these photos are from the Tsunozu matsuri held in the local Otoshi shrine in the first few days of November.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Otoshi Shrine, Miyoshi.


Like so many shrines and temples, Otosho shrine in Miyoshi is at the top of a flight of steps.

Otoshi, one of Susano's many sons, is a tutelary kami of grains, and therefore Otoshi shrines are fairly common.


It was New Year when we visited, so the mikoshi were on display.

Like all the old-time kami, Otoshi sired many kids by many mothers. A good proprtion of his offspring are kami that were known to be worshopped by immigrant groups in ancient Japan.


It was here that I first really noticed shimenawa (sacred rope) made of artificial materials. The traditional material for shimenawa is rice straw, but nowadays one sees more and more made from various types of plastic.

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