Karato-yama Shinji Sumo (Shinto Sumo Wrestling at Mt. Karato-yama) is a traditional Shinto event held on September 25 every year at Hakui Shrine in the city of Hakui, Ishikawa Prefecture. It is known as Japan’s oldest sumo tournament and its history dates back to the period of the 11th emperor of Japan, Suinin (reigned 29 BC to 70 AD). It is said that Japan’s first sumo wrestling match was held between Nomi no Sukune and Taima no Kehaya under the order of Emperor Suinin. His son, Prince Iwatsukiwake no Mikoto encouraged sumo wrestling, and there is a legend that young men underwent physical training through sumo wrestling on the mountain Karato-yama.
Because of this, on September 25, the obit of the prince, the sumo wrestling matches have been performed in memory of the prince for over 2,000 years. On this day, many young men who are proud of their physical strength come from all over the Hokuriku region to Karato-yama. The sumo wrestling matches start with the famous judge’s call, “Mizu-nashi (no water), Shio-nashi (no salt), Mattanashi (waiting time is over)!” This is a myth that is still alive in this modern world.
Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine located in Miya-cho, Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka Pref. is an old shrine that had been worshipped by generations of warriors. The enshrined deity is Konohana no Sakuyahime no Mikoto. This is the head shrine of all the 1300 Sengen shrines in Japan and the center of Mt. Fuji worship. Mt. Fuji itself is considerd as the sacred body of god and the back shrine is located at the top of Mt. Fuji. The origin of the shrine dates back to 27 B.C., when Asama no Okami, the holy spirit of Mt. Fuji was enshrined at the foot of the mountain. In the later periods, this volcanic god came to be identified with Konohana no Sakuyahime, a princess in ancient myths. At the present time, her husband, Amenigishiku Ninigishi Amatsuhikoho no Ninigi no Mikoto, and her father, Oyamatsumi no Mikoto are also enshrined. The shrine possesses the land above the 8th station of Mt. Fuji.
Suinin Tenno-ryo located in Amagatsuji Nishi-machi, Nara City, Nara Pref. is presumed to be the tomb of Emperor Suinin, who was the 11th emperor of Japan referred to in Kojiki and Nihonshoki. The formal name of the tomb is “Sugawara Fushimi Higashi Ryo Horai-yama Kofun.” Although different Chinese characters are used now, the name “Horai” originally derives from Mt. Horai, where sages enjoy eternal life. The town to the north of the tomb is also named “Horai-cho.”The tomb is a keyhole-shaped kofun (Imperial tomb) with a square front and round back. The total length is 227 m. Surrounded by the water moats, the hill of the kofun looks very beautiful. A small islet in the south is said to be the tomb of Tajima-mori, who the emperor sent to Hitachi province to fetch everlasting fruit. This is the place filled with mystery and wonder of Japan’s mythological ages.
Isonokami Jingu is a shrine located in Tenri City, Nara Pref. It is also called “Isonokami Furu Jingu” or “Isonokami Futsu no Mitama Shrine,” for it is said that the shrine originates in the story that Ikagashikoo no Mikoto of Mononobe clan enshrined the royal sward of “Futsu no Mitama no Tsurugi,” which had been worshipped at the Imperial court, at this place during the reign of Emperor Sujin (B.C. 97-30). From this story, the shrine is thought to be the oldest shrine in Japan. During the reign of Emperor Suinin (B.C. 29-A.D. 70), 1,000 swards were dedicated to the shrine and later another sacred sward of “Ame no Habakiri” was also dedicated. The shrine had flourished until the end of Heian period (794-1185), but began to decline from the Kamakura period onward. In 1874, the sacred body of “Futsu no Mitama no Tsurugi” sward was excavated and the present main hall was built at the excavation site. In the ancient times there was no main hall at this shrine. Instead, the sanctuary area was enclosed with the hedge made of stones with sward-shaped heads. No visitors have been allowed to step into the sanctuary since the age of the gods.
Tachibanadera located in Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Pref. is a temple of Tendai Sect. Its formal name is “Butto-zan Jogu Oin Bodaiji Temple.” The name “Tachibana (mandarin orange tree)” is said to have come from the story that Emperor Suinin sent Tajima-mori to Hitachi province (present Ibaraki Pre.) to fetch the everlasting fruit of the mandarin orange tree. He brought some back and planted at this place. The temple site was where Emperor Yomei’s detached palace, Tachibana Palace was located and Prince Shotoku was born. It is one of 7 temples founded by Prince Shotoku. The main object of worship is the statue of Prince Shotoku Shomangyo Kosan-zo, which is said to express the image of Prince Shotoku at the age of 35. This is the oldest extant image of Prince Shotoku in Japan. In the precinct is the stone called “Nimen-seki,” on which the faces of good and evil are carved back to back, It is known as one of the strange stones in Nara Pref.