Showing posts with label otoshi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label otoshi. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Yokote Otoshi-gu

Located out in the rice paddies in Yokote, a village about halfway between Mount Futago and the coast on the east side of the Kunisaki Peninsula, this shrine was a little unusual

The first unusual thing was that there were no stone Nio guardians that are at most of the other shrines I had visited in the area. This might mean that the shrine was established later than when the area flourished as a Shugendo center and most of the shrines, temples,  and statuary were made, in the late Heian early kamakura period.

The other unusual thing for me was the kami enshrined here, Otoshi, one of Susano's sons that is associated with rice. I don't remember seeing another Otoshi shrine during the past 2 days here in Kunisaki. It would be interesting to now the story of the shrines founding.

There was unfortunately no signboard at the shrine nor anyone around, so I couldnt find out any more.

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.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Mishiro Shrine

Mishiro Jinja

Mishiro Shrine is less than 1k from Yaguchi Shrine, and like it is also listed in the Izumo Fudoki and is a shikinaisha, a shrine receiving offerings from the central government in the Heian Period and therefore listed in the Engi Shiki.

Like Yaguchi, it enshrines Susano, but also his "wife" Kushinada, and a grandson Oyamakui, son of Otoshi. Like many of the offspring of Otoshi, Oyamakui has strong links with Korean immigrfant groups in ancient Japan. Oyamakui is the original kami of Mt Hiei and what is now Hiyoshi Taisha. Oyamakui also has connections to the Hata and kamo clans, 2 very powerful immigrant clans .

There is a zuijinmon containing a fine pair of zuijin and their attendant, small, wooden komainu which have a most definite "cute" appearance.

There are 2 smaller shrines within the grounds, an Inari Shrine, and a Takasa Shrine which enshrines Aohatasakusahiko, and all I can find out about him is that he was one of the numerous offspring of Susano.

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.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hiyoshi Taisha


Hiyoshi Taisha, also known as the Hie shrines, lie at the foot of eastern slopes of Mount Hie, in Sakamoto , Shiga Prefecture.


It is a large complex of shrines, though not as large as it was. At the height of its power there were 108 shrines within its grounds.


Like many shrines the identity of the kami enshrined have undergone may changes over the years.


The shrine grew to prominence as the tutelary shrines of the Tendai monastery complex on top of Mt Hie, Enryaku-ji. Like Enryaku-ji, the Hie shrines were razed to the ground by Oda Nobunaga in 1571, so none of the building date back earlier than that.


The area around Hiezan and Lake Biwa was settled by immigrant clans from the Korean peninsular, and the very first “shrine” here was worshipped by them, although no buildings buildings yet existed. Near the top of Mt. Hachioji, a foothill of Mt Hie, stands a hug rock with a flat surface. Known as the Golden Rock as it reflects the morning sun, this was probably the first shrine, and the kami was Oyamakui, a harvest deity, a son of Otoshi, one of Susano's many sons. Many of Otoshi's other “children” were kami also worshipped by immigrant clans.


Two shrine buildings now flank the Golden Rock, and a long, wide, staircase goes up there from the lower shrines.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Yasaka Shrine


Well, this place is about as familiar as any in Japan, recognizable to anyone who has been to Kyoto, it is of course the entrance to Yasaka Shrine in Gion, home of the Gion Matsuri.


Until 1868 it was known as Gion Sha, but the name was changed when the government "seperated" the Buddhas and Kami. The original kami was Gozu Tenno, the Ox-Head Heavenly King, a god of epidmics and relief from epidemics. Originally an Indian god, he became associated with Susano.


The main kami is now Susano, but the shrine is very much a family affair with many members of his family also enshrined here. There is Kushinada, his wife, or rather one of his wives, then there is Yashimajinumi, a son born to Susano and Kushinada. he is Okuninushi's great, great, great grandfather. Next comes Isotake and his sisters Oyatsuhime and Tsumatsuhime. All three have connections with tree planting and wood production, and all three came over to Japan with Susano from Korea, so must have been born to another "wife".


Next a couple of Susano's offspring connected to food, especially grains, Otoshi and Ukanomitama. Ukanomitama is well known as Inari, and Otoshi was born to Susano and Oyamatsumi's daughter. There are many Otoshi shrines around, and interestingly he had many, many children who were worshipped by "immigrant" clans.


Finally there is Suserihime ( or Suseribime), a daughter of Susano who became one of Okuninushi's wives. Not bad considering there was 4 or 5 generations between them.

The meaning of all these kami lineages, in my opinion, is to show intermarriage and alliances between powerful clans. What becomes clear is that the lineages tracing back to Susano dominated early Japan, and the Yamato story of Amaterasu and Susano being siblings is the attempt by the later arrivals, the Yamato, to co-opt the ruling clans into their own history and therefore their divine claim to rule.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Otoshi Shrine, Inome


The Otoshi Shrine in Inome, a fishing village on the coast directly north of Izumo Taisha, is unusual in that it has a double honden. Double hondens will often enshrine a male-female pair of kami, but in this case both hondens enshrine the same kami, Otoshi. One is called upper shrine and the other lower shrine, so I am guessing that originally they were seperate shrines.


Otoshi is a son of Susano and is associated, like his brother Ukanomitama, with grains.

Like his father, and many of the older kami, Otoshi had a multitude of "wives" and produced an inordinate number of offspring. Many of Otoshi's offspring are kami that have strong associations with immigrant groups.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Otoshi Shrine, Hamada


The Otoshi Shrine in Hamada is built on a small rise overlooking the harbor. The shrine looks abandoned, but the usual stack of rakes and shovels used to keep the grounds clean can be found at the side of the main building, and a friend tells me he has been here to watch kagura in the kagura-den. Otoshi is one of Susano's sons, and is primarily associated with rice growing.


There is a secondary shrine to Inari, a very small Ebisu shrine, and a Sumiyoshi Shrine within the grounds. Behind the shrine is a small Benten shrine. The head Sumiyoshi Shrine is in Osaka and is associated with safety on sea journeys. Hamada was the provincial capital of Iwami, and as most travel in ancient Japan was by sea I suspect this was where officials from Yamato would arrive.


The shrine was built on the site of a much older shrine. In the 8th Century an Awashima Shrine was built here. Now a small Awashima shrine is located in the temple next door. Awashima shrine is in Mie, near Ise, and is associated with fishing and specifically pearl-diving.


The 2 Zuijin (shrine guardians) located inside the Sumiyoshi shrine indicate that it was a more important shrine in times gone by.


Just below the shrine is a monument to and the grave of Ohatsu no Kagamiyama, a local woman who is the main character in a well known Kabuki play, Kagamiyama. The story was written for Bunraku puppetry first and then later transferred to Kabuki, and concerns 2 of the most popular themes in Japanese stories, suicide, and revenge.


The area around the shrine is great for wandering and is composed mainly of alleys and very narrow streets, with a lot of funky old buildings and interesting small temples.

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.

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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