Kandaten Shrine located in Koshu City in Yamanashi Prefecture is a shrine pertaining to the Takeda clan. Enshrined are Susanoo no Mikoto and other seven deities. It is said that the shrine was founded in 842 by the provincial governor, Fujiwara Iseo, by the Imperial order. When Sugawara no Michizane was enshrined together in 1004, the kanji “suga (菅)” was borrowed and the shrine came to be called Kandaten (菅田天). In the precinct is the statue of Zagyu (lying cow), which is believed to be the messenger of Sugawara no Michizane.
During the Warring States period (1493-1573), the shrine was protected by the Takeda clan as the god to guard the ominous direction of the provincial capital. The shrine is known for the possession of Kozakura Kawaodoshi Yoroi, which was one of the 8 armors handed down to the descendants of the Genji (the Minamoto clan). This armor was so strong that the one who wore it didn’t have to use a shield, so it was called “Tate-nashi-no-yoroi (the armor without a shield).” It was handed down to the heads of the Takeda clan, one of the rightful descendant family of the Seiwa Genji, as the family treasure together with Japan’s oldest Rising Sun flag.
Kofuku (Good Luck and Wealth) Shrine in Hyuga City, Miyazaki Prefecture, was founded in 1776 by Ibi Tomijiro, the magistrate of Hida Magistrate’s Office, which managed “tenoryo (the Tokugawa Shogunate’s landholdings)” in Hyuga province (present-day Miyazaki Prefecture) as the guardian god of the branch office in Takatomi village. The deities of shrines ranked Sho-Ichii (the 1st of the 1st) in Fushimi (in present-day Kyoto) were collectively transferred as the main deity.
Later in 1868, the minor deities of local shrines were collectively enshrined and also Okuninushi no Mikoto, Kotoshironushi, Uka no Mitama (Inari God), Sukuna Hikona no Kami, Iwanagahime no Mikoto and Sugawara no Michizane were transferred. Of the shrine name, “ko (good luck)” derives from Inari God, the god of food and agriculture and “fuku (wealth)” from Okuninushi no Mikoto, the god of wealth.
A pair of camphor trees, which are said to be several hundred years old, stand in the precinct. They are called “Meoto Kusunoki (Husband and Wife Camphor Trees),” which finely matches the shrine name. As the symbol of the shrine, they are worshipped by visitors who wish a happy life.
Imayama Hachimangu Shrine is located at the top of a hill, which commands a view of Nobeoka City, Miyazaki Prefecture. Enshrining 10 deities, the shrine is worshipped by local people as the guardian god of the city. It is the largest shrine in the northern part of the prefecture
Going along the front approach, which is surrounded with densely grown trees, you will see the two-storied vermillion main gate standing atop the steep stone steps. The huge precinct is dotted with several historic shrine buildings including the impressive Honden hall. The stone statues of Chinese lion-dogs on either side of the entrance of the main hall tell of the shrine’s long history.
It is said that Tsuchimochi Naotsuna, the local lord of this area transferred the deity of Usa Hachimangu Shrine (in present-day Oita Prefecture) and founded this shrine in 750 as the god to guard the ominous direction of the Castle. According to the book “Usa Kagami,” this area was a part of the territory possessed by Usa Hachimangu Shrine and annual tribute was collected by the shrine. As Usa was far away from the town and it was very difficult for local people to visit Usa Hachimangu Shrine, the foundation of Imayama Shrine was welcomed by local people. The shrine had been protected by the successive lords of the domain during the Edo period (1603-1868).
Osugi Shrine, or popularly called “Anba-sama,” is located in Awa, Inashiki City, Ibaraki Pref. It was a “gosha” shrine in the old shrine rank system and after the World War II it was designated as a “Beppyo Jinjya,” meaning that comes under the direct control of “Jinjya Honcho (Association of Shinto Shrines).” This shrine is the head shrine of all Osugi Shrines that are distributed in Kanto and Tohoku Regions. The name Osugi (meaning a large cedar) comes from the large cedar tree that stands in the precinct and worshipped as the sacred body of the deity. It is said that the shrine was first founded in 767, and in 1241 the deities of Oonamuchi no Mikoto and Sukunahikona no Mikoto were invited from Imamiya Shrine in Kyoto and enshrined here. Since the Edo period the shrine, as the deity of smallpox prevention and waterway traffic, has been widely worshipped by the people living in Kanto Region and on the Pacific side of Tohoku Region. It is said that in the early Edo period the monk Tenkai, who served as a consultant to the Shogun and stayed at Fudoin Temple in nearby town of Edosaki, was on board a ship in Tojo-no-ura, prayed to the large cedar tree in this shrine and successfully achieved a miracle of bringing about rainfall. He designated this shrine as the guard of “Kimon (ominous direction)” for Edo Castle, and took the position of the resident priest of Annonji Temople, which was an attached temple of this shrine. Due to these links, Annonji Temple has been a Chokkentai temple (directly linked temple) of Nikko-zan Rinnoji Temple, where a mausoleum of the 3rd Tokugawa Shogun is located.
There is a custom in Japan in which people purchase or receive a hamaya (evil-repelling arrow) on a visit to a shrine for the first time (hatsumode) in the new year (oshogatsu). The arrow is a good luck charm for good fortune in the coming year. Sometimes the arrow comes in a set with a hamayayumi (evil-repelling bow).
The origins of the hamaya come from a ritual called 'jarai', a customary ceremony that took place at new year in the imperial courts to exhibit people's abilities with bow and arrow. The target used during this ritual was called 'hama', hence the names 'hamaya' ('the arrow that hits the target') and 'hamayumi' ('bow used for the target').
Originally, jarai only took place in imperial courts, but during the mid-Heian period, the word 'hama' ('ha' means 'destroy' and 'ma' means 'evil') changed its meaning. The ritual then became a custom at new year in which common people gave a toy bow and arrow to any family with a male child.
Other customs that developed include setting up a hamaya on a ridge in the direction of the 'demon gate' when building a new house, and sending hamaya and hamayumi to relatives and friends on the 'hatsu sekku' (first annual festival) of a newborn baby.
Kannon Temple is a Yuzu Nembutsu temple on Mt Otowa in Sakurai, Nara Prefecture.
Kannon Temple is the 8th temple of Amadera Sanju-Rokkasho. In the Hakuho period, when Nakatomi no Kamatari's son, Jo-e, enshrined his father at Myoraku Temple, he established Kannon Temple to exorcize devils. The temple includes a statue of Sahasrabhuja-arya-avalokiteśvara, which was carved from a single tree by Kamatari.
During the Heian period, Kannon Temple prospered and was known as Otowa Hyakubo. In 876, however, much of the temple was destroyed in a flood.
The temple's principle deity is, of course, Sahasrabhuja-arya-avalokiteśvara, which is known as Otowa's Kannon. The temple grounds feature several special spots, such as Otowa spring (said to be good for eye diseases), and a ginkgo tree (said to bring good fortune).
Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine, or known as Sanno Gongen, located in Sakamoto, Otsu City, Shiga Pref. is the headquarters of Hiyoshi shrines, Hie shrines and Sanno shrines all over the nation. The enshrined deities are Omononushi no Mikoto and Oyama Kui no Kami. About 3800 branch shrines belong to this shrine. During the Shinbutsu Shugo (fusion of Shinto and Buddhism) period, the shrine was called “Sanno,” from which people sill call it by its nickname of “Sanno-san.” The shrine is noted as the guardian who guards Omote-kimon (ominous direction) of Kyoto and drives away bad luck. It is also famous for the respect to monkeys as the messenger of gods. The messenger monkey of Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine is called “Masaru,” which is believed to be a lucky name, because it means “evil spirit (ma in Japanese)” will “go away (saru),” or “exceed (masaru),” and people pay respect to this monkey deity. Most of the buildings are designated cultural properties, including the Main Hall, which is a National Treasure. It is very impressive to see 3000 Japanese maple trees growing in the precinct with an area of 400,000 sq. m turning red all together in autumn
Yokoku Castle was built in 1602 by the first leader of the Hiji Clan, Kinoshita Nobutoshi, with the assistance of Hosokawa Tadaoki.
The castle was originally called Hiji Castle, Aoyagi Castle or Ukitsu Castle. The third clan leader, Kinoshita Toshinaga, took an excerpt from an old Chinese book called 'Enanji', which stated that: 'The sun rises from Yokoku and shines on Kanchi', and changed the name to Yokoku Castle.
Today, the castle site is used as the Hiji Elementary School, but certain parts of the castle, such as the Kimon tower and the back gate, are being reconstructed.
A park has been established around the castle base, and is a popular spot to take in and appreciate the entire view of Beppu Bay. The seashore at the foot of the castle ruins is called Shiro-shita-karei, and is famous for deriving its name from the Shiro-shita seashore. There is also a spring, which is one source of fresh water for this region.