Showing posts with label shishi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shishi. Show all posts

Friday, February 5, 2021

Yatsushiro Myokensai


I arrived at Yatsushiro Shrine in late November on the 44th day of my first walk around Kyushu. A few days earlier was the Yatsushiro Myokensai Festival which originates from the shrine. On display at the shrine are some of the "creatures" that are paraded during the festival.

It is one of the major festivals of Kyushu and one of the 33 festivals that are registered as intangible cultural assets with UNESCO. It features horses predominantly and of course mikoshi and such.

The most unique creature is perhaps the genbu which is kind of a cross between a turtle and a serpent. It is the daoist symbol for the north, and as this is a festival to Myoken, the Buddhist deity associated with the Pole Star and Big Dipper, it is not surprising.

If I had been here a few days earlier I could have seen the festival, but for sure I would not have been abe to get a room.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Princess Ahiratsu

Ahiratsu Hime was the first wife of the mythical first emperor Jimmu. This statue is in the small port town of Aburatsu in Nichinan, southerm Miyazaki.

According to the myth, when Jimmu left to invade central Japan and claim rulership, Ahiratsu chose to stay here and not go with him, although she had already given birth to a son that would become the mythical second emperor. Sorting out genealogies in the Japanse myths is complex as the myths as they stand today have evolved from a mass of tales and genealogies of the powerful clans, but is seems she was Jimmu's aunt....... seems like several of Jimmu's ancestors had also married aunts.....

Ahiratsu Shrine which enshrines her has been here since ancient times though it had a Buddhist influenced name before Meiji. It is a modern, concrete construction with several smaller shrines within the grounds. It is said that in a small tomb nearby mirrors and jewels were found indicating and ancient ruler.

On either side of the main altar were groups of four, small Lions, something I hadn't seen before....

Friday, April 5, 2013

Kushida Shrine

Kushida Shrine

Kushida Shrine is the most important shrine in Hakata. Founded in 757 when Hakata was the main port for official international travel and commerce. Being an urban shrine it is quite compact but there is a lot to see.

On display is a "float" from the hakata Gion Yamakasi Matsuri, one of the great festivals of Japan. 10 meters high these floats are no longer used because of overhead power lines, but during the first 2 weeks of July ten of them are put on display around Hakata.

Inside the main hall are half a dozen or so big tengu masks with particularly long noses. there are also soem nice carvings in the building itself.

The main kami is Ohatanushi, I believe the ancestral kami of one of the priestly lineages from Ise. Amataerasu and Susano are also enshrined.

There are dozens of smaller shrines in the grounds, among them Inari, Matsuo, Suwa, Konpira, Awashima, Tenmagu, and Ebisu.

There is a huge Camphor tree, said to be 1,000 years old, and 2 stone anchors which is claimed came from the invading Mongol fleet but which are in fact from Chinese merchant ships.

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.