Showing posts with label omiki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label omiki. Show all posts

Monday, July 25, 2022

Miyano Shrine established for Military Success


Miyano Shrine in Asakura, Fukuoka, is located just a stone's throw from the site of the temporary palace of Empress Saimei who was here in northern Kyushu overseeing an invasion force heading to the Korean peninsula to aid in the restoration of the Paekche after their defeat by the combined forces of Sila and Tang China.

She ordered Nakatomi no Kamatari to set up the shrine and it was built facing Korea for the prayers for the success in the upcoming "special military operation". At the Battle of Baekgang, a primarily naval encounter, the much larger Yamato navy was decimated by the Tang navy, and Japan's military operations in the Korean peninsula were halted for almost a millenium.

The kami enshrined here for military success were Amenokoyane, claimed by the Nakatomi as their ancestor. The other was Okuninushi, the Izumo kami, and a strange choice, although after Izumo became subsumed in the Yamato polity, Okuninushi was enshrined in a protective circle of sacred mountains surrounding the Yamato capital.

Not long after arriving here and setting up the palace and shrine, Saimei died and her son, Tenji, took over. While Saimei had previously been empress Kogyoku, her son and Nakatomi Kamatari had assassinated the Soga who had been the most powerful clan in Yamato. Kogyoku had been a supporter of the Soga. She abdicated and her brother became emperor. He died a few years later and she took the throne again. Some historians think she may have been poisoned when she died suddenly in 661.

After taking over as emperor, one of the things Tenji did was award Nakatomi Kamatari a new family name of Fujiwara. The Fujiwara went on to become the most powerful family in Japan for many centuries along the way wiping out the Mononobe who had been their allies against the Soga. Many of the powerful clans in Yamato, including the imperial family, seem to have strong ancestral ties to the korean peninsula, especially to Paekche, which would explain their interest in military involvement.

I have always been fascinated by the Izumo connection to Sila and how that played out with the Yamato connection to Paekche.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Shikoku Pilgrimage Day 10..... a morning of shrines

Friday September 23rd, 2011, the tenth day of my walk along the Shikoku Pilgrimage and I was still in Tokushima.

By 8:30 I had finished visiting Yakuoji, temple number 23 of the pilgrimage and I spent the rest of the morning heading down route 55 towards Mugi.

Along the way I passed numerous shrines some small, some a little grander, and I stopped in to check them out.

I didn't bother taking notes so I don't know their names nor the kami enshrined therein. Almost all the pilgrims I encountered on my walk just walked past these shrines, concentrating on reaching the next pilgrimage temple, but I believe in the old days pilgrims would have done what I was doing, and stop in at every sacred site along the route.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Just after dawn I crossed the isthmus into the fishing village of Horikoshi. In the middle of the island the mountains were still draped in clouds.

On the waterfront a small hokora, wayside shrine, with a recent offering of sake.

Like many fishing villages the houses had their backs turned to the sea. No windows looking out that way, just an expanse of dark, weathered wood with occasional doorways.

Up the hillside at the edge of the community I found what I was looking for, Horikoshi-an, temple number 5 on the Shodshima pilgrimage, a simple hermitage located right next to the village shrine.

From here the pilgrimage path heads up into the higher parts of the small peninsula down towards the next temple.

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.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hatsumode, January 2nd, Kyoto


Though technically Hatsumode refers to the first shrine visit of the year, and of course there can only be one first, many people, myself included, take the opportunity to visit more than one.

The first place we went in Kyoto was Yoshida Shrine where there were no lines of people.


There are quite a few sub-shrines scattered around the hillside, all with offerings laid out in front of the honden.


Omota Sha is a shrine I have been wanting to visit for a long time, but is usually closed, it only opens a few days a year. It features a unique octagonal building.


Omoto Sha also features shrines for all of the provinces of Japan.


The sunny day caused the snow on the roofs to constantly melt and drip.


Nearby is Munetada Shrine, again not so many visitors.


Here we were given Omiki.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Omiki by the One Cup.


Omiki is the name given to sake that is left on altars as offerings to the Kami.

At major shrines it will be donated by the barrel. At most shrines it will be donated by the bottle.


At small wayside shrines (Hokora) or secondary shrines (Sessha) in the grounds of main shrines, the Omiki is left by the "One Cup".

Put on the market in 1964, to coincide with the opening of the Tokyo Olympics, the Ozeki Sake Company's "One Cup Sake" came in a small jar holding 180ml. Other companies soon followed suit.

A morning walk around Matsue1427

The size was based on a traditional measure of rice or sake, the "go", which was a small wooden box with an interior volume of roughly 180ml.


Obviously, some kami prefer other beverages, like cafe au lait....


.. or shochu cocktails.

Monday, December 14, 2009

O-miki by the bottle.


If you are a sake brewer or are rich you can donate a barrel of sake to a shrine. For most people, however, a bottle of sake is normal. The one pictured above is on the steps leading to the honden of a small, but brightly painted, shrine on the south coast of Shikoku.


After pouring sake around the rice paddy, this bottle is then placed next to the sacred sakaki tree in then center of the paddy in preparation for the planting ceremony Tauebayashi.


Often you will see several bottles in front of the honden, like here at a shrine near Hiroshima Station.


At Okazaki Shrine in Kyoto there were a LOT of bottles of O-miki. The names of who donated is written on each bottle.


During ceremonies a little sake is put in 2 "jugs" on the offering table, as here at a temporary shrine on Iwaishima

Monday, December 7, 2009

O-miki by the barrel

A morning at Matsuo Shrine 4450

A huge stack of sakedaru (sake barrels) at Matsuo Shrine near Kyoto. Matsuo is the home of the patron kami of sake brewers.


Sake when offered to the kami is known as O-miki. It is one of the primary offering (shinsen) to the kami. After a ceremony the omiki will be shared among the participants and congregation.

I don't drink sake, but gladly drink omiki.

A morning at Matsuo Shrine 4449

The wooden sakedaru are wrapped in a ricestraw blanket to protect them during transportation.

48 Hours. 225 of 600

Most of the major shrines will have a stack of sakedaru, usually, but not always, donated by brewers.