Namura Shrine in Ayado in Ryuo Town, Shiga Prefecture, is a historic shrine and a treasure trove of cultural properties since most of the structures of the shrine are nationally designated as either a National Treasure (NT) or an Important Cultural Property (ICP). The origin of the shrine is not clear, but, as many Kofun (ancient Imperial tombs) have been discovered in the area, it is considered that this shrine was originally founded to enshrine the spirits of ancestors.
The Romon gate (ICP) has the impressively huge thatched roof. The wooden statue of Fudo Myoo (ICP) is enshrined in the Fudo Hall in the precinct, which is the reminder of Shinbutsu Shugo (the fusion of Shinto and Buddhism) practiced until the end of the Edo period (1868).
The main hall, Nishi-Honden (NT), was constructed in 969 to enshrine the deity Kunisazuchi no Mikoto, who had resided in Mt. Kongo in Yoshino in Yamato province (present-day Nara Prefecture). The old shrine located on the opposite side of the road is the east shrine, Higashi Honden (ICP), which enshrines Okuninushi no Mikoto and Susanoo no Mikoto.
Namura Shrine is the head shrine of all the branch shrines in 33 adjacent villages; hereby the Grand Autumn Festival is held once every 33 years.
Tsushima Shrine is located in Tsushima, Aichi Prefecture, and is the headquarters of the Tsushima Shrines in the Chubu region.
In 540, during the period of the Emperor Kinmei, the shrine was called Tsushima-Gozutenno shrine. In 810, the shrine was designated by the Emperor Saga as the best Japanese shrine and today it has about 3000 branch shrines.
During the Warring States period, Oda Nobunaga, who was born in Shobatajo, near Tsushima, worshipped at this shrine and cooperated with construction of the shrine buildings. The Toyotomi family succeeded Oda's faith.
The shrine's elegant main building is in Momoyama-period style and is designated as an Important Cultural Asset.
The buildings face south and there is a large red torii gate at the entrance. Along the approach to the shrine, you will see the south gate. Passing through the gate, you will see a partition wall, which is often seen in big shrines in Aichi.
Tsushima Shrine is also called Gozutenno-san and many people visit here to to worship.
Meoto-iwa are two rocks which are part of Futamiokitama Jinja shrine in Futami, Watarai-gun, Mie Prefecture. They stand on the rocky seashore near the shrine and got their name because they look like a husband and wife living together in perfect harmony and talking to each other.
From ancient times, the Meoto-iwa have been known as a spot for praying at sunrise because, on clear and fine days, Mt Fuji can be seen creating a majestic and splendid view in the distance.
Another rock, known as the Okitama-Jinseki, or Oki-no-Ishi, is located 660m offshore in the sea. The Meoto-iwa are regarded as the torii (shrine gateway) for the Okitama-Jinseki. The Oki-no-Ishi is considered to hold the spirit of the shrine deity who descended here. It is also believed to be the place where other deities come to visit and return.
The Otoko-iwa (male rock) is 9 meters tall with a circumference of 40 meters. The Onna-iwa (female rock) is about 4 meters tall with a circumference of 9 meters. The rope that connects the two rocks is 35 meters in length. During May to July, especially before and after summer solstice, the sunrise seen between the two rocks is magnificent. The Meoto-iwa are also known as a symbol for good conjugal life, and relationships, motivating many people to visit this charming spot.
The path to the Inner Shrine (Kotai Jingu, or Naiku) of the Ise Grand Shrine crosses the Uji-bashi Bridge. The Ise Grand Shrine is near the town of Ise in Mie Prefecture. The bridge is also known as the Mimozuso-bashi and is not associated in any way with the Uji-bashi Bridge in Kyoto.
Made of cypress wood, the bridge spans the Suzukawa River, and is 101.8m long and 8.42m wide. It used to be rebuilt each year during a ceremony known as Shikinen Sengu, when the transfer of a deity took place. During World War II, there was a time gap, and after that, the bridge was rebuilt every four years for the Sengu.
Two torii gateway, standing 7.44m high, are placed at either end of the bridge. The outer torii is made from the old pillars of the Geguu-Seiden (Outer Shrine Main Hall) and the inner torii is made from the old pillars of the Naiku-Seiden (Inner Shrine Main Hall). When the Uji-bashi is rebuilt, the outer torii becomes the torii of the Kuwana-no-nanasato-no-Watashi and the outer torii becomes the torii of the Suzukatouge-no-kan-no-Oiwake. These torii must endeavor to function as building materials for a total of 60 years.
The Uji-bashi acts as a spiritual bridge and is said to sit on the border between the world and a holy place.