Showing posts with label tanokami. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tanokami. Show all posts

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Tanokami of Kiyomachi Onsen part 2

Kiyomachi Onsen

Kiyomachi Onsen is a hot spring resort town and typically the accomodations are quite pricey, certainly more than I could pay. However I did find a really cheap place.3.000 yen for a tatami room with access to a kitchen in a small, old, run down building that a local onsen used. The baths were in a couple of small old building next door. There were absolutely no tourists, the place was used purely by locals, kind of like a sento.

My hosts were very friendly and told me I was the first foreigner who had ever stayed there. I explained that I was walking the Kyushu pilgrimage and that also I had an interest in the Tanokami. He promptly told me to get in his car and then drove me a few minutes away where there was a large collection of Tanokami statues that had been brought in from the surrounding communities.

When we got back I took a bath in my own private onsen bathroom. It may be a cliche, but my experience has been that the further you get away from the main tourist sites and the cities, the more friendly and helpful people become....

Of course its not as convenient or simple, but well worth the effort....

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Tanokami of Kiyomachi Onsen part 1

I dropped down into the Ebino Valley with its great views of the Kirishima Mountains and headed to Kiyomachi Onsen where I had a room for the night. I stopped in at the small tourist office near the station and discovered a group of Tanokami statues that had been collected together from the neighborhood.

This is Miyazaki Prefecture, but historically it was part of the Satsuma Domain which is where a particular culture of Tanokami developed in the Edo Period. Here the Tanokami, "rice paddy god" was seen very much as a tutelary deity, and statues were found everywhere.

You can pick up a map which shows the location of these statues, some of which have been gathered together. Many of the statues are painted.

These last two photos show a particular feature of many of these statues..... the weirdly exaggerated hats which look odd until you view the statue from behind when it all becomes clear. The Tanokami here have an obvious relationship with fertility......

Friday, July 17, 2020

Beneath a Sea of Clouds with the Rice Paddy Gods

Unkai is a Japanese word that refers to a "Sea of Clouds". When the conditions are right, usually late Autumn/early Winter, Valleys fill up with mist during the night. When viewed from mountaintops above the level of the mist it appears to be like a sea. many Japanese seem shocked that such things occur in many parts of the world.

On the 38th day of my walk along the Kyushu Pilgrimage, I set off from Sogi Falls in the deep mist that filled the Sendai River valley. Once the sun rises the mist gradually thins and disperses.

As I headed upriver I passed a couple of small roadside shrines with statues of Tanokami, the god of rice paddies. Yesterday I passed a bunch of them but they were all fairly weathered, but today they had been painted.

I had been heading west, and by late morning the mist had disappeared. The river now veered sharply south and then later turned back north so it was easier to keep heading west  by cutting across the range of hills and dropping down back to the river near Ebino.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Tanokami the God of the Rice Paddy

The god of the rice paddy, literally "Tanokami" , unsurprisingly can be found throughout Japan, though they are never mentioned in any of the ancient chronicles that nowadays are used as historical records. In my area I encountered a small shrine to a tanokami and was told that after the harvest the god returns to the mountains in his role as yamanokami. This seems somewhat widespread an idea.

However, in what is now Kagoshima and part of Miyazaki, in the old domain of Satsuma, ther is a type of tanokami somewhat different and also very prevalent. Believed to date back to the early Edo Period, hundreds of statues of Tanokami can be found, many along the roadsides, and function much as a protective kami in the same way as for example Jizo statues.

On the 37th day of my Kyushu Pilgrimage, I walked from Sendai up the Sendai river and along the way encountered these 4 examples. They are all pretty weathered. Over the next few days I will be encotering many dozens more, some of which are painted......

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Tanokami, Eggs, A Church, a Giant Torii, & A Dragon

On the 26th day of my first walk around Kyushu I headed directly north from Shibushi towards Miyakonojo where I had a room for the night. As usual I stopped in at any shrines I passed, and after leaving one that was down a track I noticed a statue in the corner of a rice paddy.

This turned out to be a statue of Tanokami, the god of the rice paddies, and though I had come across this kami before, this was the first time I had seen one in statue form. I had heard that southern Kyushu had plenty of these statues and hoped to find lots more over the next week or so.

One thing Japan is renowned for is the huge number of vending machines, and in the countryside you can find some strange ones. Vending machines for fresh eggs are actually not all that unusual.

Walking through the outskirts of Miyakonojo I came across this church. It's a real church, a Catholic one built in 1933, not a fake wedding chapel, which incidentally I saw a little later. The fake wedding chapels are usually much bigger and grander, with plenty of soaring spires and elaborate gothic decorations.....

After checking in to my room I went for a walk and couldn't miss a huge torii straddling the road. This led to the towns main shrine set in a big park. Kamibashiragu Shrine seems to be connected to the arrival of the Shimazu Clan in southern Kyushu, though now it has plenty of imperial kami enshrined.