Showing posts with label takemikazuchi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label takemikazuchi. Show all posts

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Hachiman Shrine Kawagoe


A little over a kilometer further upstream from the main part of Kawagoe village and bridge is another sizable settlement.

Called Watari on old maps it is now just part of Kawagoe but had a quite large Hachiman Shrine.

One source says it was founded in the early 11th century, which seems feasible as on the opposite bank of the river is a large temple founded even earlier.

I have been to all-night matsuris in almost all the shrines in this area, but not this one. I suspect the main shrine for Kawagoe is the new Suwa Shrine back in the main part of the village. The interior of this one did not have a tengai, the overhead canopy under which kagura is performed.

Being a Hachiman shrine, the three main enshrined kami are Emperor Ojin, his mother, Jingu, and his wife. Also enshrined here are Amenokoyane, Futsunushi, Takemikazuchi, and Ebisu.

The previous post in this series on my walk up the Gonokawa River to its source was Along the Gonokawa to Kawagoe.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Kashima Shrine Minabe


I came into Minabe at the end of a rainy fifth day of my walk. I was on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, claimed to be the oldest of the major pilgrimage circuits of Japan. For this first week, the route also followed the Kumano Kodo, though in reverse. This was the Kiiji section which runs from Tanabe up to Osaka and Kyoto.

The main shrine was a Kashima Shrine, with numerous secondary shrines and a small Inari shrine at the entrance.

According to te shrine history it is a branch of the famous Kashima Shrine up country, brought here in the early Nara Period.

However, it was located on a tiny uninhabited island just offshore and was known as Kashima Myojin.

During the Meiji Period, possibly 1909, the kami was transferred to the land and the shrine built, which explains the somewhat "meiji" feel of the shrine.

The main kami is Takemikazuchi, although Amaterasu and Susano are also listed. That may be a Meiji addition.

In the grounds are a Tenjin, Ebisu, another Inari, and a couple of other shrines.

The previous post in this series was Kozanji Temple in Tanabe.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Obama Shrine & its Komainu


Obama Shrine is the main shrine of the small, coastal hot spring resort of Obama on Tachibana Bay in Nagasaki.

The current shrine building was constructed in 1995 on the site of the former Kengara Shrine when Obama Shrine and Kengara Shrine were combined.

It seems the original Kengara Shrine was built in 1679 at the same time the nearby Obama Shrine was rebuilt. At that time both shrines had different names.

The kami enshrined here are Okuninushi, and Sukunahikona who is often portrayed as a sidekick of Okuninushi. Sukunahikona is sometimes considered a god of hot springs due to an episode in the ancient myths set at Dogo onsen in Shikoku. The other kami enshrined is Takemikazuchi.

The main building has a ceiling painting of a dragon which was transferred from the older shrine, but, for me, the most interesting thing at the shrine was the two pairs of small komainu that I suspect came from the two older shrines.

The previous post was on the longest hot spring foot bath in Japan which is nearby.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Take Shrine

Take Shrine, another small village shrine on the shore of Nakaumi, gives the appearance of being abandoned. The grounds have not been kept up and there are no signs of activity. However, it was once a fairly important shrine, being listed in the Engi Shiki, which meant it received offering from the imperial government. Behind the shrine are two altars to Kojin, but they look as if the rope serpent has not been replaced for several years.

The 2 kami enshrined here are Takemikazuchi and Futsunishi, 2 martial kami associated with the ceding of Japan to the Yamato. The Kojiki has Takemikazuchi being the kami that Amaterasu sent down to Japan to ask Okuninushi to cede the land. the Nihonshoki says it was both takemikazuchi and Futsunushi. The Izumo Fudoki mentions only Futsunushi. So why the disparity?

In a nutshell, the Kojiki is really just a family history, a justification for the ruling clans divine right to rule Japan. At the time of its writing one of the most, if not the most, powerful clan was the Nakatomi/Fujiwara, who by this time had appropriated Takemikazuchi as one of "their" kami. The Nihonshoki was the official national history in Chinese style. It is much larger and contains many, many variations on the stories, reflecting the diversity of "histories" that existed at that time just as "Japan" was being formed out of many regional polities. The Fudoki were local gazeteers written to compile local histories, legends, and features.

The Kojiki was pretty much ignored for a thousand years until the Edo Period when National Learning scholars began to analyze the language of it. It really came to prominence with the rise of State Shinto and its focus on the Imperial family.  As noted above, the Nihon Shoki, sometimes called Nihongi, is much more detailed and therefore took longer to be completed but in my opinion is a far more interesting read. The Fudoki are almost completely lost, but the Izumo Fudoki is complete and is largely the reason why Izumo legends are so well known. Futsunushi, mentioned in the Izumo Fudoki was associated with the Mononobe Clan, the ancestor of which is buried near Izumo. The Mononobe were destroyed by the Nakatomi in their rise to power. I think this brief explaination shows why the three different versions of the myth exist.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Kasuga Shrine, Hagi


The Kasuga Shrine in Hagi is located on the southern edge of the old samurai district and is one of the approximately 3000  branches of the famous Kasuga Taisha in Nara which is the family shrine of the Fujiwara Family, arguably the most powerful family in Japan for many centuries.


Though most common nowadays, stone komainu were a later feature and were preceded by wooden ones inside the shrine building or later in the zuijinmon.


By the side of the shrine building is an old chinowa, a ring used for purification. usually in the spring a new one will be made and erected in front of the shrine and parishioners will pass through it.


The main kami enshrined here are the same 4 as Kasuga Taisha, Amenokoyane, Takemikazuchi, Futsunushi, both of whom took part in kuniyuzuri, and Himegami, which seems to be a generic name for consorts of male kami. According to Izumo records only Futsunushi came to Izumo for the kuniyuzuri.


The signboard also lists another kami that I had not heard of before:- Iwatsutsuno-o, who, like Takemikazuchi was formed from the blood left on the sword Izanagi used to slay the fire god with.

There were some secondary shrines in the grounds but the signboard gave no details....


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ube Shrine

Ube Shrine is located a little south of Tottori City and was/is the Ichinomiya, first-ranked shrine, of the former Inaba province. In the Meiji period is was classified as the second rank of government supported shrines.

The main shrine building and a picture of the enshrined kami, Takenouchinosukune, were printed on the 5 yen note in the early twentieth century. He is usually depicted with a full, long beard. (very handsome if I do say so myself :)

Within the grounds is a massha, secondary shrine, Kofu Shrine that enshrines, among others, Takemikazuchi, Yamato takeru, Izanagi, and kukurihime.

The main kami, Takenouchinosukune, was of royal descent and served 5 emperors and is most well known for serving the mythical Empress Jingu on her mythical invasion of the Korean Peninsular. He lived to be almost 300 years old, and a set of rocks in the shrine grounds is supposedly where he left a pair of shoes.

28 Japanese clans claim descent from him, most notably the Soga and the Katsuragi.

Now he is known as a guardian of children and while we were there several ceremonies were held for kids even though it was a few weeks after the "official" shichigosan.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tahara Shrine


Tahara Shrine is a large shrine located at the foot of the hills north of Matsue castle. It is approached up a long flight of steps flanked by dozens of stone lanterns and komainu. Notable are a pair of komainu that are the largest in the San-in region. Most if not all of the komainu and lanterns are made of Kimachi sandstone, quarried not far away on the shore of Lake Shinji.


Another interesting feature is that 12 of the lanterns are topped with small sculptures of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac.

Also known as Tawara Shrine, it includes a branch of the Kasuga Taisha, and the main halls shimenawa is I believe Kasuga style, being braided rather than twisted. The shrine is listed in the 8th Century Izumo Fudoki and has therefore existed for close to a thousand years before Matsue and its castle came into being. The shrine was originally located 500 meters away but was moved here during the war between the Amago and Mori clans.


One of the secondary shrines in the grounds had a polypropylene shimenawa that shows how even plastic can achieve wabi sabi!!


The shrine features a twin pair of hondens. In the east honden are enshrined Futsunushi, Takemikazuchi, and Amenokoyane. The latter two kami are considered ancestors of the Nakatomi-Fujiwara clan, and Futsunushi is the ancestor of the Mononobe. In Izumo records it was Futsunushi who came from the High Plain of Heaven to entreat Okuninushi to give Japan to Amaterasu and her descendants. According to Yamato stories it was Takemikazuchi and Futsunushi, and appears to be a rewriting of the myths to favor the powerful Fujiwara.

The west hinden enshrines Ukanomitama, the child of Susano now mostly identified as Inari.


Behind the hondens a path leads into the forest and a grove of sacred trees with numerous altars scattered around their bases.


Secondary shrines within the grounds include Inari, various aragami, Kojin, Suijin etc

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Inasa Shrine


Inasa Shrine, also known as Hayatama Shrine, is located in a shady cliffside grove on the path to Kofukuji Temple near Inasa Beach.

It enshrines Takemikazuchi, who, according to the Yamato record of events, was one of 2 kami sent down from the high plain of heaven by Amaterasu to arrange the transfer of Japan to her descendants from Okuninushi, a story known as Kuniyuzuri, and which took place a few hundred meters from this site.


Izumo records however make no mention of Takemikazuchi, rather they say that Futsunushi was the sole emissary. Futsunishi is considered the ancestor of the Mononobe clan, and Takemikazuchi is the ancestor of the Nakatomi, later renamed Fujiwara. As the Fujiwara increased their power at the expense of other clans, notably the Mononobe and the Soga, it seems that Takemikazuchi took on attributes and roles formerly held by Futsunushi.


I will write a more detailed post on the Kuniyuzuri myth as soon as I have posted on one more shrine in the area.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yatogi Shrine, Tenri


Yatogi Shrine, sometimes pronounced Yatsugi, is a delightful shrine located on the Yamanobenomichi a little south of Isonokami in Tenri. The main hall has a fine thatched roof, and behind it the line of seven hondens have cedar-bark roofs.


The seven kami are quite an eclectic collection. The main kami is Futsunushi, a kami of swords and lightning, and possibly the personification of the main kami at nearby Isonokami Shrine. Also enshrined is Takemikazuchi, a main kami of the Fujiwara clan. The myths have either or both of these kami descending to Izumo and convincing Okuninushi to give Japan to Amaterasu's descendants. As the Fujiwara (known earlier as the Nakatomi) wiped out the Mononobe, it is believed that gradually the Fujiwara kami usurped and replaced the Mononobe kami.


Another enshrined kami here is Amenokoyane, one of the kami who performed rituals to entice Amaterasu out of her cave, and another ancestor of the Fujiwara. Another kami is Kotohira, a variation of Konpira.


Strangely, Susano is enshrined here, though that may be connected to local legends that pertain to the spirit of the eight-headed serpent Yamata no Orochi slain by Susano. It is believed that its spirit became associated with lightning, and in the hills behind nearby isonokami Shrine are rocks said to be it.