NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/1/30


大山阿夫利神社 Ooyama-afuri-jinja Oyama-Afuri Shrine

Jp En

Oyama-Afuri Shrine is located in Oyama, Isehara City, Kanagawa Prefecture.

The shrine's main deity, the god Oyama, is originally a mountain god, but also a sea god. In olden times, during droughts, sea people prayed to Oyama for rain.

The deity in the subsidiary shrine, Takaokami, is popularly known as a Tengu (long-nosed goblin), one of the 8 major Tengu.

The shrine was said to have been built in the reign of the Sujin Emperor. In the fourth year of the Tenpyoshoho period (752), Roben built Afuri-oyama temple, a Buddhist place of worship, yet a part of the shrine.

After the Middle Ages, Oyama Temple became popular as a center of esoteric Buddhism and many samurai worshiped here. In the Edo period, groups of Oyama commoners visited and worshiped here, too.

In the Meiji period, Buddhist and Shinto gods were separated, and Oyama temple was rename Afuri Shrine, its original name.

Oyama-Afuri Shrine is a commoners shrine that many people have been visiting since the Edo period.
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2007/1/26


五馬市くにち楽 Itumashi-kunitigaku Itsumashi-Kunichigaku

Jp En

Itsumashi-Kunichigaku is a part of Itsumakunichi, a traditional autumn festival held in Itsuma, a region of Amagasemachi in Hita, Oita Prefecture.

Itsumakunichi is a festival to pray for a bountiful harvest of the five grains (soybean, rice, corn, wheat, and sorghum). The festival was designated as an intangible cultural asset of Oita and dates back more than 100 years.

Itsumakunichi combines four festivals that take place in four different parts of the city at different times. The first festival, called the Honjo-Kunichigaku, takes place on 20 and 21 October at Kanakori Temple. The second festival, called the Tsukada-Kunichimikoshi, takes place on 22 and 23 October at Aso Temple. The third festival, called the Deguchi-Kunichigaku, takes place on 24 and 25 October at Oimatsu Temple. The Itsumashi-Kunichigaku, which takes place on 26 and 27 October at Tamarai Temple, is the last festival of the Itsumakunichi.

At Itsumashi-Kunichigaku, Tengu (a long-nosed, red-faced, demi-god), kappa (river imps), Daikoku (One of the seven gods of fortune) and Fukurokuju (one of the seven lucky gods) march cheerfully along to the buoyant music. The highlight of the festival, however, is a cane dance called the midare-tsue, that is performed by everyone.

Itsumashi-Kunichigaku is a traditional festival that should be cherished by people and preserved for posterity.
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2007/1/25


熊野古道 Kumano-kodou The Ancient Road of Kumano

Jp En

The Ancient Road of Kumano is a beautiful stone-paved road in Higashi-Kishu, Mie Prefecture.

The Ancient Road of Kumano is one of the pilgrimage roads included in the World Heritage's 'Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range'. The road was made for pilgrims to visit the Three Shrines of Kumano, the Grand Shrine of Kumano Hongu, the Grand Shrine of Kumano Hayatama, and the Grand Shrine of Kumano Nachi.

In ancient times, the Kumano area was revered as a holy land where gods and goddesses dwelled, and also as a place of rebirth where the dead gather.

After the Shirakawa Emperor's royal visit to Kumano in 1090, more visitors came to the Three Shrines of Kumano. Visiting Kumano became so popular in the Edo period, that it was known as the 'Kumano ant pilgrimage'.

Due to the separation order of Shinto gods and Buddhist images after the Meiji Restoration, the number of shrines along the Ancient Road of Kumano dropped sharply. The custom of visiting Kumano almost disappeared.

The Ancient Road of Kumano still lives today in the region and is known as the road to Kumano and the place of Pure Land Buddhism and rebirth.
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2007/1/7


太鼓谷稲成神社 Taikodani-inari-jinja Taikodani Inari Shrine

Jp En

Taikodani Inari Shrine is located in Kanoashi district, Shimane Prefecture. Kamei Norisada, the 7th lord of the Tsuwano clan, founded the shrine in 1774. It is said that this shrine is modeled on the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. Today, it is counted as one of the five great Inari shrines in Japan. Inari is a god of food, clothing and shelter. Similarly, it draws worshipers who wish for prosperity in trade, success in industry and good fortune at any time of year. The name of the shrine comes from a story that a guardian of a castle lost the key and was told to commit ritual suicide by disembowelment, yet, after continuous worship at the Inari shrine, he found the key on the day of the ritual . After this, the word “success” was added to the shrine’s name. One thousand Shinto gates are lined to form a zigzag tunnel. Kanoshi district also has a lot of lightning strikes in.  The shrine appears particularly beautiful when the snow covers the vermilion gate and courtyard.
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