Showing posts with label shimenawa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shimenawa. Show all posts

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Maruyama Shrine Awa Ikeda


Maruyama is the name of a small hill in the town of Awa Ikeda in what is now Miyoshi cIty, Tokushima, on Shikoku.

Maruyama is a very common name as it literally means "round mountain", ... we have one a few kilometers from my place.

Ikeda is also a very common placename, so it is prefaced with Awa, the old name for the province to distinguish it from other Ikeda's around the country.

The shrine is fairly unexceptional, just a typical village shrine.

There are a variety of ways of reading the enshrined kami's name but they are all versions of the great Izumo kami Susano. Here it seems it was probably Gozu Tenno, the original "plague god" of Gion whose origin is disputed but heavily connected with Korea, as is Susano.

The honden is fairly new, and other than that I can find no other info on the shrine. I visited at the start of day 4 of my walk along the Shikoku Fudo Myo Pilgrimage. The previous post in the series was on the walk along the river to end the day before.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Shrines of Day 67


For many pilgrims, I believe the main priority is to get from temple to temple. The temples are the focus. For me, however, the temples were just reference points on an exploratory walk. The sites between the temples were just as important, and I tried to stop in at every single shrine I passed, both to learn any interesting local history and myths, and to find unique and interesting art.

On Day 67 of my walk around the Shingon Kyushu pilgrimage, I started the day in Sasebo, Nagasaki, visiting a pilgrimage temple then headed north out of town to the Ainoura River valley. These first four photos are from Nakazato Hachiman Shrine, a fairly standard village shrine to Hachiman, by one count the most common shrine in Japan.

With its Hizen-style torii, and modern komainu, there were no surprises here. Like most village shrines numerous smaller shrines had been brought here from neighboring areas in the early part of the 20th century.

I visited nearby temple number 74, Tozenji before heading on up the valley. In Tabarucho I stopped in at Norito Shrine. A little further I saw the unusual shimenawa of Yodohime Shrine.

The next four photos are from my next stop, an unnamed Inari Shrine.

If you include small, roadside shrines without buildings, then Inari, rather than Hachiman, becomes the most common shrine in Japan.

The vast majority of Inari shrines only date back to the Edo period when Inari became so popular.

Continuing to climb my next stop was Kamiari Shrine.

There is absolutely no info on this shrine which was obviously more substantial in earlier times, but now is just a small, stone honden.

It enshrines Amaterasu.

Not far from Kamiari Shrine I spent quite a bit of time exploring Saikoji Temple, number 73 on the pilgrimage with a notable Giant Fudo statue. I had now climbed to more than 300 meters above sea level and while heading to a mountain tunnel that would take me over to the next valley I could see an Oyamazumi Shrine in tye distance set in a tell-tale grove of trees.

Dropping down into and then slowly descending the Sasa River Valley my first stop was another Oyamazumi Shrine, this one with a unique old-growth ecosystem. This was once a coal mining area and after a brief stop at the local coal mine museum I visited the last pilgrimage temple of the day, Saifukuji Temle with its cave shrine.

I carried on down the valley and just before reaching Yoshii Station and the train back into Sasebo I stopped in at a very small shrine. I have no idea of the shrines name as I couldnt read the eroded kanji on the torii, and can not find it on the map, but it did have a nice pair of komainu.

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy the post on shrines of day 66.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Yodohime Shrine Shimenawa & Yamodo Festival


When I saw the shimenawa on the torii to Yodohime Shrine I knew it was unusual, but only when I did the research for this post did I realize its significance. The very small, local shrine lies at the border of Matsubara and Yamine, in the mountains north of Sasebo, Nagasaki. The shrine was established in the first years of the 11th century and enshrines Toyotamahime, the grandmother of the mythical first emperor Jimmu who features in the Hyuga Myth Cycle.

The Yamodo Matsuri takes place every new year, now set as the end of January, and culminates in the shimenawa being replaced with a new one, made by the parishioners out of rice straw from the previous harvest. Yamodo is derived from yama udo which means mountain man and refers to a kind of marebito, an idea of an outsider as a god from another world. In this case it refers to the Yamanokami that descends from the mountains in the Spring to become the Tanokami, god of the rice paddies, during the summer and then returns to the mountains after the harvest.

In the Yamodo festival 2 young men, one from each village, whose parents are still living and healthy, undergo various purifications and then act as the yama udo in various ways during the festival. The festival is now registered as an Intangible Cultural property of the prefecture.

There is a 23-minute video on the matsuri, in Japanese, on YouTube, if you are interested. The previous post was on Saifukuji Temple and its cave.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Takano Shrine Ninomiya of Mimasaka


Takano Shrine is located on the Izumo Kaido to the west of Tsuyama City on the banks of the Yoshii River.

It is the Ninomiya, the second-highest ranked shrine, of the former province of Mimasaka which is now northern Okayama prefecture.

Said to have been founded in the mid 6th century, the shrine was supported by the Mori Clan when they ruled the area. The current main building was built in 1663 by the 2nd Lord of the Tsuyama Domain. It is built in the local Nakayama-zukuri style.

The shrine is the source of several nationally recognized Important Cultural properties, including a pair of small, wooden komainu dating to the early 9th century, and a pair of wooden Zuijin statues dated to 1125. These are all now in a museum and can't be seen here.

The main kami enshrined here is Ugayafukiaezu from the Hyuga Myth Cycle, father of the mythical first emperor Jimmu.

Also enshrined is Kagamitsukuri no kami, the main kami from the Ichinomiya not too far away, and Onamuchi, one of the names of Okuninushi.

Being such an ancient and major shrine, there are numerous secondary shrines in the grounds including a Kojin shrine, an Awashima Shrine, and a Hachiman shrine. A lower shrine hall enshrines a Hirose shrine, Tokuo shrine, Fukai shrine, Urushiwaka shrine, and a Kunishi shrine.

The previous post in this series on my fifth day walking the Chugoku Kannon pilgrimage was on Soja Shrine.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Igatake Shrine

Igatake Shrine

Igatake Shrine.

Igatake Shrine is a fairly large shrine in the middle of Yokota, on the banks of the Hi River in the mountains of Okuizumo.

Torii gate.

It is listed in the Izumo Fudoki so has been in existence since at least the 7th century.

Igatake Shrine.

The main kami is Isotakeru, the son of Susano who came from Korea with his father Susano who is also enshrined here.

Igatake Shrine.

It is right in the middle of the area where Izumo's most famous myth is set, the story of Susano's defeat of the 8-headed serpent Yamata no Orochi.

Nearby is Onigami Shrine, one site said to be where Susano descended to Izumo. Also nearby, and where I head to next, is Inada Shrine, devoted to Kushinada, the maiden rescued from the Orochi who became Susano's wife.

The shrine was destroyed during the Warring States Period and rebuilt later. The current buildings are in Izumo Zukuri style and include the iconic fat shimenawa of the region.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Tashiro Yasaka Shrine

Tashiro Yasaka Shrine

Tashiro Yasaka Shrine.

After leaving Ogori Hiyoshi Shrine I continued west along the old Nagasaki kaido and soon crossed over into Saga prefecture.

In Tashiro, which I believe was a post-town on the Nagasaki Highway, I visited the Tashiro Yasaka Shrine. Another branch of the famous Yasaka Shrine in Gion, Kyoto, and previously called Gion Shrine, its primary kami is once again Susano.

Gion Shrine was the origin of the famous Gion Matsuri which began life as a festival to ward off a pestilence that was ravaging Kyoto.

Gion shrines therefore often became established for the purpose of protection against disease, and as disease was seen to come from "outside" a community and travel along roads, it strikes me as why there are so many Gion ( or Yasaka or Susano ) shrines found along the major highways like the Nagasaki Kaido.

This shrine, like all the otheres I had visited this day, was all dressed up in its New Year finery. There was no signboard so I have no info on the shrine.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Shisojima Tenmangu


Shisojima is a small farming settlement in southern Fukuoka near the Homan River.

The village shrine is yet another Tenmangu, very common in the area as Dazaifu Tenmangu is only about 10 kilometers upstream.

There was a small sumo ring for children, but it looked as if it hadn't been used in a while.

Since the early Meiji period a Shishimai, Lion Dance, has been performed here at the festival in September.

A secondary shrine in the grounds is said to enshrine Gozu Tenno, the original kami enshrined at Gion in what is now known as Yasaka Shrine. Over time Gozutenno became identified with Susano. It is said excavations at the shrine here unearthed evidence of Korean settlement.

Many Tenmangu and Tenjin shrines have a statue of an Ox, deriving from the legend that the location of Sugawara Michizane's tomb ( the current main hall of Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine), was decided by the ox pulling the cart carrying his deceased body.

If you look closely you can see that this komainu is male.......