Showing posts with label toyotamahime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label toyotamahime. Show all posts

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.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Mizukarakuri Ningyo at Toyotamahime Shrine

Karakuri Ningyo are a type of mechanical doll that was very popular in the Edo Period. A rarer form was the water-powered mechanical doll, an example of which I found at Toyotama Shrine in Chiran. Behind the glass case displaying this tableau was a small waterwheel that powered the figures' movements.

Unfortunately, it is only operated  for a few days during a festival. Every year a different set up is displayed. This one was about a local legend involving demons.

The shrine appears to be the main one for Chiran, and enshrines Toyotamahime, the "princess" who was a daughter of the Undersea King. The myth is very popular and many shrines in southern Kyushu enshrines the various characters from the story

There was no-one about as it was still early in the morning and I had to head off  and reach the coast before heading north on this my 35th day of walking around Kyushu.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Kagoshima Jingu

After getting my hotel room in Hayato I set off the explore the local shrine, Kagoshima Jingu, and was delighted to discover that this evening was going to be the Summer Matsuri and the shrine approach was lined with stalls setting up and large lanterns decorated with chidrens painting hung everywhere.

The wooden horse at the entrance was far more decorative than any other shrine horse I had seen because this one is how a horse is decorated for the Hatsu Uma Festival when the horse leads a procession to the shrine. The festival is said to originate from a dream had by the regional Daimyo who had slept at the shrine.

There are a lot of secondary shrines throughout the extensive grounds as this was the Ichinomiya, the highest ranked shrine in the province of Osumi which today forms the eastern half of Kagoshima Prefecture. The main enshrined kami are Hoori and Toyotamahime, the grandparents of the mythical first emperor Jimmu and legend says it was founded at that time.

This is the southern Kyushu variation of the founding myth of Japan that more usually places the activity further north in the mountains of Miyazaki around Takachiho. The ceiling of the main hall is decorated with hundreds of paintings of regional plants.

Also enshrined here are Emperor Ojin and his mother Jingu, collectively enshrined as Hachiman. There are quite a few huge camphor trees in the grounds too....

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Swordplay at Togami Shrine

After dropping down from the mountains to the river valley that would lead to my hotel for the night in Hayato City, I spied a big red torii across the rice paddies and headed over to investigate. The torii had a chrysanthemum emblem indicating a connection to the imperial clan.

Togami Shrine was established in the early 8th Century after the Yamato sent a 10,000 strong army to subdue the Hayato people who were resisting the Yamato. Following the war the Yamato removed many Hayato to other parts of Japan and moved  non-Yamato settlers into Hayato territory.

While at the shrine some local people were obviously practising some kind of sword-based martial art, though not having much interest in martial arts, nor in swords and samurai and such, I have no idea what the style/art is.

What is obvious is that it was about fighting against multiple opponents. maybe it is a variation on kendo. If anyone knows please let me know,

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The cave at Udo Jingu

The shrine, or rather shrines, at Udo Jingu are inside a cave in the cliff overlooking the sea. The main kami is named Ugayafukieazu, though there are variations on the name and its spellings. In the mythology, he was the father of Jimmu, the first emperor.

In the legend his mother, Toyotamahime constructed a birth hut here made out of cormorant feathers. and told her husband Hoori, sometimes known as Hohodemi or Yamasachihiko, not to look while she was giving birth as she would revert to her non-human form as the daughter of Ryujin, the undersea Dragon King.

He peeked and then freaked out at her appearance and she was so ashamed that she left the child and ran away. For some reason the shrine is considered lucky for newly-weds.

Deeper in the cave , behind the main shrine, are numerous smaller shrines that enshrine Yamasachihiko, Toyotamahime, Ninigi, Amaterasu, Jimmu, etc.

In the cave roof are rocks shaped like breasts. It is said that as a baby Jimmu suckled from them. The shrine sells a kind of candy made from the water that drips down the rocks.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Aoshima Shrine

Heading down the coast out of Miyazaki City on the 23rd day of my walk I came to Aoshima Shrine.

The small island is now connected by a short bridge, and much of the island itself is rock formed into parallel ridges like a washboard.

Leading from the main building, a tunnel of ema lead to a grove where you can toss small ceramic discs, representing plates I believe, at a target for good ;uck. Underneath the target is a small mountain of broken pottery.

The island is lush sub-tropical jungle, though some say it is tropical. The two main kami are Hikohohodemi, a grandfather of the mythical first emperor Jimmu, and his wife Toyotamahime. The myth about their story is told in a series of tableaux in the shrine museum, and that I will turn to next.....

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Dejima Shrine

Located right next to Manganji on the shore of Lake Shinji, the shrine is quite unusual in that it does not have a torii. It was in all probability part of the the same temple-shrine complex before the Meiji Period. The name of the kami enshrined here also suggest a Buddhist past: Nanagami Daimyojin..... which is in fact seven related kami.

The first is Ninigi, the grandson of Amaterasu sent down from the High Plain of Heaven to rule Japan. Next come Hoori, youngest son of Ninigi but more commonly known as Hikohohodemi or Yamasachihiko. Also enshrined here is Hoori's wife Toyotamahime, daughter of the sea god Ryujin,

After returning from some years living in a palace under the sea Toyotama gave birth to a son Ugayafukiaezu in a famous legend involving a birthing hut. Fukiaezu married his aunt Tamayorihime , also enshrined here, and became the father of the mythical first Emperor Jimmu.

The final two kami here are Konohanasakayuhime, now most commonly associated with Mount Fuji,  the princess who married Ninigi and gave birth to Hoori, and the final kami who I am having difficulty tracing the relationship to the others is Kushiyatama, who is connected to the Kuniyuzuri myth and is I believe connected to a ritual that still occurs not to far from here at Hinomisaki Shrine.

All the other kami are connected to the myths of southern Miyazaki in Kyushu centered around Aoshima Shrine

Yuzu from Kyushu