NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/1/8


函館 湯倉神社 Hakodate Yukura-Jinja Yukura Shrine

Jp En

Yukura Shrine is located in Yukawa-cho, Hakodate City, Hokkaido. The enshrined deities are Oanamuchi no Mikoto and Sukunahikona no Kami. The shrine is said to have been founded in 1617.

In 1653, Matsumae Takahiro, the little son of Matsumae Ujihiro, the lord of the Matsumae domain, was suffering from a serious illness. His mother, Seiryoin, got a revelation in a dream telling her to put her son in the hot spring in the precinct of this shrine. When she did as she was told, Takahiro completely recovered from his illness. In the next year, the Matsumae clan constructed the main hall and dedicated some treasures including a golden statue of Yakushi Nyorai and a bronze-made Waniguchi (a metal gong) in token of their gratitude.

The shrine is also believed to be the guardian of the hot spring town of Yukawa. To the left of the main hall stands a stone monument inscribed with the words “the Birthplace of Yukawa Hot Spring” and its history. Covered with huge ginkgo trees and other greenwood, there is a tranquil atmosphere in the precinct.
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2007/11/13


兵主祭 Hyouzu-matsuri Hyozu Festival

Jp En

Hyozu Festival is held from May 3 to 6 every year at Hyozu Shrine in Gojo in Yasu City, Shiga Prefecture. Hyozu Shrine is a historic shrine founded around the late 3rd century, when the capital of the country was relocated to present Otsu City. Later in the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Kinmei, the shrine was relocated to the present place and the shrine building was constructed here. The enshrined deity is Omunachi no Mikoto.

On May 5, after the Shinto rituals are performed at the shrine in the morning, about 30 Mikoshi (portable shrine) and the drum floats carried by shrine parishioners from 18 sub-towns get together in the front approach to the shrine, where the parade of Mikoshi starts in the afternoon.

Large and small Mikoshi and drums in various styles are carried with powerful cry of “Choito Sa!” along the 300 meter front approach lined with pine trees. The climax is the gallant performance known as “U-no-ikinuki (Rest of Cormorant),” in which Mikoshi carriers roughly lift up and down the Mikoshi and run about to the sounds of drums.
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2007/10/4


沼津 日枝神社 Numazu Hie-jinja Hie Shrine in Numazu

Jp En

Hie Shrine in Numazu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, had been the head guardian shrine of 22 villages in the area before the Meiji period (1868-1912). The enshrined deities are Ooyamakui no Kami The guardian god of Mt. Hiei), Oomunachi no Kami and Ootoshigami. It is said that the shrine was founded by Fujiwara no Moromichi’s mother in 1100 in the clan’s manor, which was called “Ooka-sho” at that time.

Fujiwara no Moromichi was a head of the Fujiwara clan and served as Kampaku and Udaijin. Having come into colligion with the Tendai monks in Mt. Hiei, he ordered to attack them in 1095. As some monks were wounded in the battle and this aroused anger of the monks, he was placed a curse and died young in 1099. Thus his mother transferred the three dieties of Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine in Mt. Hiei to appease the anger of the deities of Mt. Hiei.

Traditionally, the school of Shinto which believes in the guardian deity of Mt. Hiei is called the Sanno (the King of Mountain) Shinto; hereby this shrine is also called “Sanno-sha”. The annual festival held for two days from September 23 every year is popularly called “Sanno-san” by the local people and enjoyed as the representative event of the city that tells of the coming of autumn.

The shrine is also famous for the collection of important old documents including Sanno Reikenki in Shihon-Chakushoku style (paper-based colored), which is a nationally designated Important Cultural Property. In the precinct is a stone monument inscribed with a poem by Matsuo Basho.
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2007/9/14


門川町 中山神社大祭 Kadogawa-cho Nakayama-jinja-taisai The Grand Festival at Nakayama Shrine in Kadogawa

Jp En

Nakayama Shrine in Kadogawa Town, Miyazaki Prefecture, is said to have been founded in 857, when the deity at Izumo Taisha Shrine was transferred to this shrine.

Onamuchi no Mikoto and three other deities are enshrined. Onamuchi no Mikoto is another name for Okuninushi no Mikoto. As Okuninushi no Mikoto is known as the god of nation-building, farming, business and medicine as well as love stories with many princesses, the shrine was famous for the divine power of marriage tie. It was believed that if a young man and a woman passed each other in the front approach of the shrine, they would fall in love with each other.  

As there is a song about the shrine, which goes, “Nakayama-san is a good god because if you don’t have any kimono, you can visit him naked, and if you don’t have any sandals, you can visit him with bare feet,” it is said that, in the ancient times, men were allowed to visit the shrine even only in loincloth, and women in koshimaki (waist wrap).

The grand festival held on January 7 every year is famous as a naked festival, in which both toshi-otoko (men whose zodiacal sign corresponds to the year's sign) and men of Yaku-doshi (the unlucky age) wearing only white loincloth, white tabi (Japanese socks) and white headbands run up the stone steps to the precinct, shouting loud encouragement. In the precinct, they pour cold water onto the head and all over the body to purify themselves and pray for the safety and a good health of their family.
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2007/8/30


大洗磯前神社 Ooarai-isozaki-jinjya Oarai Isozaki Shrine

Jp En

Oarai Isozaki Shrine located in Oarai-machi, Ibaraki Pref. is said to have been founded in 856, when political turmoil and frequent earthquakes confused people, Okuninushi no Kami descended to this place to cease the turbulence and build a peaceful nation. During the Eiroku era (1558-1569) all the buildings were destroyed by a war fire. Later in 1690, the reconstruction works stared under the order of Tokugawa Mitsukuni, and during the rule of his son, Tsunaeda, all the structures including the Main Hall, Haiden Hall (oratory) and Shin-mon Gate were completed. The present halls and the gate have existed since this reconstruction, which are considered to be the precious cultural properties to represent the early Edo-styled architecture. Enshrined Okuninushi no Kami is worshipped as the deity of business success, family safety, traffic safety, evil avoidance and bringing happiness, attainment of desires, and the deity of sake brewing and healing illness.
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2007/8/27


小泉稲荷神社 Koizumi-inari-jinja Koizumi Inari Shrine

Jp En

Koizumi Inari Shrine is in Koizumi-cho, Isesaki City, Gunma Prefecture. The enshrined deities are Ukano Mitama no Mikoto and Onamuchi no Mikoto. According to the shrine record, it was founded during the reign of Emperor Sujin (reigned B.C. 97-30), when Fushimi Inari Daimyojin of Fushimi in Kyoto was transferred to this place by the Imperial order. Large-scale repair works were given to the shrine buildings by the lord of the province Hisanaga Genbei in 1600.

The shrine is characterized by its torii gates. More than 200 torii gates that were dedicated by worshippers are erected in front of Haiden (the oratory) in three lines, continuing as long as 100 m. Together with the O-torii Gate, 22.17 m in height and the largest in the prefecture, the torii gates create a fantastic landscape.

Believed to have the power to bring business success, the shrine is visited by a lot of worshippers not only on New Year’s Day but also on the 1st and the 15th day of each month.
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2007/7/19


伊香保まつり Ikaho-matsuri Ikaho Festival

Jp En

Ikaho Festival is held from September 18 to 20 every year at Ikaho Shrine in Ikaho Town in Shibukawa City, Gunma Prefecture. The shrine was founded during the period of Empress Suiko (reigned 592-628). The enshrined deities are Onamuchi no Mikoto and Sukunahikona no Mikoto. The annual autumn festival has been held on September 19 since the shrine was ranked as a Myojin Taisha shrine (a grand shrine enshrines a high-ranked deity) on this day in 835.

Ikaho Town is known throughout the country as a hot spring town, where a flight of 365 stone steps connect every streets of the town. On the day of the festival, mikoshi (portable shrine) and Ikaho’s traditional barrel-shaped mikoshi are carried up the stone steps and offered before the shrine at the top. The sight of the mikoshi carriers bumping against each other in the narrow stone steps is really thrilling. Some of them are sometimes so strained that they tumble down the steps.

The festival is combined with Roka Festival, at which a Japanese tea ceremony is held in memory of a Meiji-period novelist Tokutomi Roka, who introduced this hot spring town in his most famous novel “Hototogisu (The Cuckoo)”.
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2007/5/8


鳥取 大神山神社 Tottori Oogamiyama-Jinja Okamiyama Shrine

Jp En

Okamiyama Shrine in Tottori Prefecture is composed of the back shrine in Daisen-cho and the main shrine in Odaka, Yonago City. The enshrined deities are Onamuchi-no-kami (the back shrine) and Onamuji-no-kami (the main shrine). It is the 9th shrine of Izumokoku Shinbutsu Reijo (Holy Places of Shinto and Buddhism in Izumo Province).

The shrine was originally built in the mountain of Daisen to enshrine the deity residing in this mountain. It is said that Emperor Go-Daigo, who had escaped from Oki Island, offered a prayer for defeating the Kamakura Shogunate at this shrine in 1333. As it was impossible to perform rituals during the winter, the shrine for winter rituals was built at the foot of the mountain, which became the present main shrine.

The shrine building is in Gongen-zukuri style with 50 m long front corridor. It is nationally designated as an Important Cultural Property. The shrine is believed to have the divine power to bring safety and eliminate evils. In June, the mountain opening festival is held at this shrine, where 2,000 people with torches in their hands parade down the mountain.
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