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.
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.
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.
Akagi Shrine in Fujimi-mura, Seta-gun, Gunma Prefecture is a historic shrine, which has been the center of mountain worship to Mt. Akagi. The enshrined deities are Akagi Daimyojin (the spirit of Mt Akagi), Okuninushi no Mikoto, Iwatsuo no Kami, Iwazume no Kami and Futsunushi no Kami. It is one of the shrines that are presumed to have been Kozuke-koku Ninomiya (the second-ranked shrine in Kozuke province).
The foundation time of the shrine is unknown because Mt. Akagi and its caldera lakes had been worshipped since the ancient times. The shrine was relocated from the mountainside of Mt. Akagi to the southern side of Lake Onuma in 806, the first year of Daido (大同) era. Then the village where the shrine is located was named Daido (大洞) after the era name and the shrine came to be known as Daido Akagi Shrine. With patronage from the Tokugawa Shogunate in the Edo period (1603-1868), the shrine had many branch shrines all over the Kanto region.
The torii gate erected at the start of a trail up Mt. Akagi was dedicated by the nearby villagers. The main hall was constructed in 1642 by the order of the 3rd Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu. In 1970, the main hall was dismantled and reconstructed when the shrine was relocated to the present place.
Kozono Usudaiko Odori is a folk performing art dedicated at the autumn festival of Kadokawa Shrine in Kadokawa Town, Miyazaki Prefecture in November every year.
Kadokawa Shrine was founded in 1530 as the guardian god of the people and livestock of the area. The enshrined deities are Ukemochi no Kami, Okuninushi no Mikoto, Oyamatsumi no Kami and Sarutahiko no Mikoto. At the autumn festival, after the events such as the rice cake throwing and the parade of the mikoshi (portable shrine) and the children’s mikoshi, the valiant Kozono Usudaiko Odori dance starts at around 7:00 PM.
It is said that the origin of this dance is the cerebration dance for victory at the time of the Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s Korean invasion in the 16th century. On the festival day, the dance starts with the sounds of Japanese bells to call up soldiers. Performing static and dynamic dances to the chant telling of the war, dancers express every scene of the battles.
Shinane Festival is held on August 24 and 25 at Shinane Shrine, or popularly called Shinane-sama, in Kochi City, Kochi Prefecture. It is counted as one of the three largest festivals in Kochi Prefecture. Shinane Shrine enshrines Ajisuki Takanehiko no Mikoto (a son of Okuninushi no Mikoto) and Hitokotonushi no Mikoto. Since its foundation in the latter half of the 5th century, many people have prayed here for prosperity in industry, safety at sea and in traffic, curing illness and family safety.
The festival begins with the dedication of the drum and kagura dance performance on the evening of 24th. The 300 m long front approach is lined with night stalls and crowded with thousands of visitors. On the 25th, an old ritual of transferring the sacred body from the shrine hall to mikoshi (the portable shrine) is carried out in the solemn music of Shinto flute, Japanese flute and drums. After the ceremony, the mikoshi makes its sacred procession to a temporary resting spot.
As it is said that when Shinane-sama is over, the summer is over, too, the festival has become the event that tells people the turn of the seasons.
Hisaizu Shrine is located in Iwatsuki-ku, Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture. The enshrined deity is Okuninushi no Mikoto. It is said that the shrine was founded by the Haji clan from Izumo during the reign of Emperor Kinmei (539-571). Later in 1457, when the Ota clan built Iwatsuki Castle under the order of Uesugi Sadamasa, the shrine was designated as the guardian of Iwatsuki Castle.
The present main hall was built in 1789. The most distinctive is the Third Torii Gate, which is built of Japanese cypress plain wood. The wood, which had been used for Itagaki Minami Gomon (the south gate) of Naigu (inner shrine) in Ise Shrine, was dismantled at Shikinen Sengu (reconstruction of all the buildings of Ise Shrine done once in every 20 years) and reconstructed into the Third Torii Gate in 1993. The shrine forest is designated as “Furusato no Mori (Hometown Forest)” by the prefecture.
Okuni Shrine located in Mori-machi, Shuchi-gun, Shizuoka Pref. is a shrine with plentiful mythology and natural beauty. The enshrined deity is Omunachi (Okuninushi) no Mikoto. The original shrine was located in Mt. Motomiya, but it was transferred to the present place in 555, when a holy spirit appeared in the mountain. Honden (the main hall) and Haiden (oratory) are of Taisha-zukuri style. The grove of trees in the precinct is called “the Ancient Forest,” where old cedar trees of several hundred years old create superb atmosphere. The shrine is worshipped by the people all over ex-Enshu province (present-day western part of Shizuoka Pref.) and as many as 300,000 people come to offer prayers on the New Year’s Day. Visitors can enjoy natural beauty from season to season such as cherry blossoms, iris in the iris garden beside the entrance of the shrine, and autumn foliage. Junidan Bugaku (twelve dances), which is dedicated in the annual festival in April, and the dance in Taasobi Matsuri (festival for good harvest) in January are designated as the prefectural Important Intangible Cultural Properties.