NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/1/28


揖宿神社 Ibusuki-jinja Ibusuki Shrine

Jp En

Ibusuki Shrine is located in Higashikata, Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. The enshrined deity is OOhirumemuchi-no-mikoto.
According to the shrine’s record, the shrine’s history dates back to 706 when a shrine was built to honor the visit of Emperor Tenchi and was named Katsuragi Palace.
In 874, due to the great eruption of Mt. Kaimondake, the spirit of the shrine was transferred to Hirasaki Shrine and was renamed Montake-shinguu or Montake New Palace. It was after the Meiji Restoration that the palace received its current name, Ibusuki Shrine.
The shrine has been worshiped as the general shrine deity of Yabusuki area, primary deity of local reclamation and guardian deity of sailing and business prosperity.
The main building seen today was built by Shimazu Narioki in 1847.
In the precinct stand eight gigantic camphor trees which are estimated to be over 700 years old. The whole area is known as Ibusuki’ god forest and designated as a natural monument by Kagoshima Prefecture.
Ibusuki Shrine is the historical shrine that had been deeply venerated by the successive heads of the Satsuma Clan.
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2007/9/14


宮崎 幸福神社 Miyazaki Koufuku-jinja Kofuku Shrine in Miyazaki

Jp En

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.
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2007/4/23


佐賀の大楠 Saga-no-ookusu Saga Giant Camphor Tree

Jp En

Saga Giant Camphor Tree is a gigantic tree standing in Ookusu Park, Kawako, Wakagi -cho, Takeo, Saga Prefecture.
The tree is over 3,000 years old and towers over twenty five meters high with a trunk circumference of twenty one meters, and is ranked as the fifth largest surviving tree in Japan. It is designated as a natural monument of Japan.
The origin of the name of the town Saga is said to come from Yamato Takerunomikoto, a legendary hero who lived around the second century. Upon visiting Saga, he saw large camphor trees growing and called the country “Saka no kuni (prosperous country)”, which was shortened over time and became “Saga”.
The park preserves a Gyouki Buddha statue which was directly carved in the tree’s trunk by Gyouki, a noted Buddhist priest in Nara period. The Buddha statue remained on the tree until 1985 when it was removed from the tree due to worsening conditions.
Neighboring areas also have many giant camphor trees, notably one in Takeo and in Tsukazaki both of which are said to be over 3,000 years old and, along with the Kawako camphor tree, create a solemn majestic atmosphere.
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2007/4/12


厳島神社 大鳥居 Itsukushima-jinjia-ootorii The Torii Gate at Itsukushima Shrine

Jp En

This torii gate standing in the sea 200 m away from the oratory of Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima-cho, Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima Pref. is the tallest and largest wooden torii gate in Japan. It has existed since 1168, but the current gate is the eighth generation. The construction of the present gate started on Oct. 17, 1974 and completed in July, 1875. The gate is 16 m in a total height; the pillars are 13.4 m tall, 9.9 m in circumference; the ridge beam is 23.3 m long. It is built of camphor wood specially brought from Miyazaki prefecture in Kyushu and Kagawa prefecture in Shikoku. It is built in a four-legged style to provide additional stability. It is said that the lettering on the original plaques were calligraphed by Ono no Tofu and the priest Kukai. However it was lost some time ago. The present plaques were written by His Imperial Highness Prince Arisugawa Taruhito. The shrine names in different Chinese characters are written on respective plaques; the one facing the offing and the other facing the shrine. The writing date and the name of the caligrapher are written on the back of the both plaques.
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2007/3/15


来宮神社 Kinomiya-jinjya Kinomiya Shrine

Jp En

Kinomiya Shrine is a historic shrine located in Nishiyama-cho, Atami City, Shizuoka Pref. The enshrined deities are Yamato Takeru no Mikoto, Iso no Takeru no Mikoto, and Onamuchi no Mikoto. The foundation date is unknown, but according to the shrine record, it was built in 711, when a fisherman pulled up a fishnet and found a wooden image of Buddha. Then a boy calling himself Onamuchi no Mikoto appeared and said that if he was enshrined in the hollow of a camphor tree, he would guard the village. In the Nara period, Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, who he was appointed shogun and given the task of conquering the Emishi, transferred the deities of this shrine to many places including the Tohoku district to pray for his victory. In back of the main hall stands a large camphor tree, which is a designated Natural Treasure. It is presumed to be over 2,000 years old and is said that the one who makes a circuit of the tree will live one year longer. The name “Kinomiya” originally means “the shrine of a tree,” which indicates that the tree had been worshipped by people in the ancient times.
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事任八幡宮 Kotonomama-hachiman-guu Kotonomama Hachimangu Shrine

Jp En

Kotonomama Hachimangu Shrine located in Yasaka, Kakegawa City, Shizuoka Pref. is a historic shrine surrounded with serene forest. Enshrined here area Okinaga Tarashihime no Mikoto, Hondawake no Mikoto, and Tamayorihime no Mikoto. Although the shrine record says it was founded at some time during the reign of Emperor Seimu (84-190), its exact foundation time is unknown. The shrine is listed on Jinmyocho (the list of deities) of Engishiki (codes and procedures on national rites and prayers) in the Heian period (794-1192) as Kotonomachi Shrine. It is said that It was transferred to this place under the direct order of Emperor Kanmu in 807 by Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, when he set out for the East to conquer the Emishi. The shrine is referred to in Makuranososhi (the Pillow Book) as a shrine that “has the power to fulfill any wish.” In 1062, Minamoto no Yoritomo invited the deities of Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine here, and since then the shrine has been referred to as Hachimangu. In the large precinct grow a lot of old and huge trees including the sacred cedar tree and a huge camphor tree, which are about 1,000 years old.
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2007/3/13


吉水神社 Yoshimizu-jinjya Yoshimizu Shrine

Jp En

Yoshimizu Shrine is located in Yoshinoyama, Yoshino-cho, Nara Pref. It was originally a temple named “Kissui-in,” which is said to have been founded in the Hakuho era (650-654) by En no Gyoja. It had been a Sobo (a living quarters of priests) of Kinpusen Shugendo Honshu for a long time. It was the main shrine of the South Court during the Nanbokucho Period (1336-1392) and was flourished with the spread of Shugendo until the early Meiji period (1868-1912). However in the Meiji period, it became a shrine according to the Meiji government’s policy of separation of Shinto and Buddhism.
The enshrined deity is Emperor Go-daigo of the South Court accompanied by his loyal retainers, Kusunoki Masashige and Kissui-in Soshin Hoin. The temple is also pertaining to Minamoto no Yoshitsune, his wife Shizuka Gozen, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The shrine is said to be the treasure box of cultural properties, for more than 100 important cultural properties are exhibited here. Among others, it has the largest number of documents concerning the South Court.
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2007/3/8


ひき岩群 Hikiiwa-gun Hikiiwa Rocks

Jp En

Hikiiwa Rocks are a group of huge rocks located in the upstream of the Inari River, one of the tributaries of the Aizu River in Inari-cho, Tanabe City, Wakayama Pref. The rocks are composed of a thick sand stone layer that was formed during Miocene epoch of Cenozoic era. A long period of erosion and water flow of the Inari River has made it into the present shape. The name comes from the shape of the rocks, which look like toads sitting in line and looking up at the sky. Largest ones are about 45 m tall, among which the huge rock on the Inari River is designated as a prefectural Natural Monument. There is a Kannon statue called Iwaya Kannon placed in a large grotto created in one of the rocks. The Kannon stood at the top of the steep stairs. Kumagusu Minakata, a natural historian in the Meiji period, often visited this area to collect plants and fungi, to which he referred in his later literature.
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