清 is a character combining the 氵 three dots water-classifier and 青 ‘blue-green,’ that can first be seen in the Tenbun (Zhuàn Wén) seal script. In reliable Kanji science, the classifier does certainly not always show the leading notion of the character’s meaning, here, however, it originally points to the clearness of water. The basis of its meaning is 青 ‘blue-green,’ which is a color that represents the aesthetic sense of the time when Kanji were created. The lower element of 青 is 丹, which means that there is 丹 ‘cinnabar, vermilion’ (pigment taken from earth and rocks including sulfur) in the mine’ s well for digging cinnabar. Cinnabar of green-bluish color was also collected from such mining wells. The upper element of 青 represents 生 which shows fresh, green, sprouting grass. Chinese characters were created by clerics of the ancient Chinese dynasty of the Yīn (Shāng) dynasty. In contrast to the following Zhōu period, the people of Yīn (Shāng) were a coastal people or were living in areas close to the seas. Even in the present sailors often have tattoos. Especially coastal people often had the custom of tattooing and ritual body painting, which is an expression of the religious view of that period. Such 青 was used as a ‘sacred’ color in rituals. Therefore, the 青 of the so called 青銅器 ‘Seidôki: bronze vessels’ (青銅 ‘Seidô: bronze’) also is no accident. Blue and vermilion were both used for curse exorcism and pacification. It was believed that a force working against curses that exorcizes evil spirits resides in the color used for ritual body painting and festive vessels. As was already emphasized in color theories like that of Von Goethe and Schopenhauer, it is evident that such sacred colors as green-blue and vermilion strike the visual sense intensely. Among them, 青 blue-green was thought of as an especially tranquil color with a pacifying and purifying effect most appropriate in curse exorcism.
Tenporin Temple belongs to the Shingonshu Daigo Buddhist sect, and is located on the summit of Mt Kongo, the tallest mountain in the Kongo-Ikoma range in Nara Prefecture. The index of the temple's name is Mt Kongo. It was also once called the Ichijo Tenporin Temple.
This temple is a holy place for the mountain religion, and is also a training ground of Shugen for both the Tendai and Shingon sects.
Tenporin Temple was built in 666 by Enno-Gyoja (a Japanese ascetic and mystic) in order to deify Hoki Bosatsu. The Katsuragi Shrine was built to deify Hitokotonushinogami, which resulted in a sacred mountain where Shintoism and Buddhism mixed.
The mountain, which was once called Mt Katsuragi or Mt Takama in ancient times, changed its name to Mt Kongo by taking the index name of the Tenporin Temple.
Among the hills around the temple are many megaliths and ancient trees, such as fukuishi, kongogo and the meoto-sugi cedar. At the summit of Mt Kongo is an observatory, which faces Sennan. On clear days, there is a distant view of Kansai International Airport and Awaji Island.
Takamahiko Shrine is located on the hillside of Mt Kongo of Gose in Nara Prefecture. It enshrines the deity Takamisubi no Mikoto (also called Takamahiko no Kami), which is known as the ancient god of the Katsuragi clan.
Mt Shirakumonomine (694m) is worshiped as a sacred mountain. In legend, it is a place where gods descend.
Beside the pathway to the shrine, there are many gigantic cedars that give the atmosphere of old Japan. One of the trees along the pathway is named Oshukubai Tree after a story about a priest. The priest was grieving over the death of a young child, when a falconine flew onto the tree and sang a song for the priest. In spring the tree bursts into beautiful bloom.
The old Shimizudera Temple is located beside Hodai Temple. It is located on the Fudarakusan mountain and it belongs to the Soto sect of Buddhism. It is also called Shimizu Kannon Temple. Its principal image is the Jyuichimen Sente Kannon.
The nearby water that gushes down the mountain is counted as one of the 'top 15 waters of Toyo no Kuni'. It is said that the water quality has never changed since the Heian period. Even today it moistens the arable lands below. The water is reputed to have the 'power to confer immortality'. It is also known to be good for stomach complaints and diabetes.
The Shimizudera Temple is located in front of a forest of Castanopsis trees. In fact, just viewing the forest gives the sense that one's life may become longer.
Omamori is a kind of amulet offered by shrines. 'Shinsatsu', another kind of amulet, comes with a small pouch that holds a sacred object called 'goshinji' inside it.
People carry omamori with them as an assurance that their wish will come true or as protection from misfortune. Shinsatsu are mainly used for family prayers, while omamori are more often used for individual prayer.
Because omamori are for one particular year only, they lose their power at the end of the year. In the New Year, they may assume a different spiritual power, so old omamori are purified to remove their souls and burnt at this time.
There are omamori for many purposes like safe driving, safe delivery, good luck in studies and exams, happiness in marriage, as well as strange ones, such as protection for pets or IT equipment.
Kamadono Hall is part of Kibitsu Shrine in Okayama and is designated as an important national cultural asset.
Kamadono Hall is also popular for a peculiar fortune-telling ritual involving a 'kami' (a large metal cauldron) standing on a 'kamado' (a cooking range with a place for fire underneath). In the hall, people seeking to know their fortune, place offerings such as sacred sake in front of the cauldron and pray to the oracle. The fire below keeps the cauldron hot. If the cauldron produces a loud sound, it represents 'good fortune'; if it stays silent or creates a soft sound, it means 'misfortune'.
There is a legend that the head of the ogre Ura (the origin of the Oni demon) is buried under the kamado. Akinari Ueda in the 'Ugetsu' relates the story that, one night, Prince Kibitsuhiko (the model for Momotaro, the legendary Peach Boy) dreamt of Ura's spirit, which tells the prince to have his wife Azome light the fire beneath the cauldron. The spirit says that a 'rich' sound from the cauldron will bring good fortune, while a 'wild' sound will bring misfortune.
From this legend, we can clearly see how Kibitsuhiko's dream became part of the fortune-telling narukami ritual we see today at the shrine.
Tado Taisha is a shrine located in Tado-cho, Kuwana City, Mie Prefecture. Its tutelary deity is Amatsu-hikone, the 3rd child of the sun goddess Amaterasu-Ookami.
Because it enshrines one of the sons of Amaterasu-Ookami, the shrine has a strong connection with the Ise Grand Shrine, as can be seen from the famous poem: 'If you come to Ise Shrine to worship, then you should visit Tado Shrine, too. If you don't, then your visit will only be half of what it could be.'
The shrine is also commonly known as Kita-ise-daijinja, Tado-daijinja, and so on. In the case of Tado Taisha, the name stands for Tado-jinja as the main structure, combined with other additional minor small shrines in the vicinity. From ancient times, Mt Tado (403m) has been worshipped as a divine mountain, as can be seen from the Iwakura (sacred stone) found halfway up the mountain.
The shrine is said to have been first constructed in the mid-5th century during the reign of Emperor Yuuryaku. It was burned down by Nobunaga Oda in 1571, but rebuilt in 1605 by Tadakatsu Honda. The shrine holds seven National Important Cultural Assets including Tado-kyou, Jingu-jigaran-engi-narabini-shizai-chou, and others.
Ise Jingu Inner Shrine (Naiku), officially known as Kodai Jingu, is in the center of the precepts of the Ise Grand Shrine, in Mie prefecture. It is sacred to Amaterasu Omikami, the main guardian god of Japan. The god holds the Yatano Mirror, which is one of three sacred national treasures.
While Ise Grand Shrine is the headquarters of the Association of Shinto Shrines, it is handled separately and isn't graded. Kodai Jingu is more commonly known as Naiku, and Toyouke-dai Jingu as Geku. Geku is sacred to Toyouke-no-omikami. In a different way, Tokyo's Meiji Jingu Shrine includes a separate shrine, a sub shrine, a small shrine and a management shrine.
The broad approach to the Naiku is paved with large ballast stones, and lined with cedar trees that are hundreds of years old. The garden is about 93 square meters and it is at the foot of Mt. Kamiji and on the right bank of the Isuzu River.
The shrine was founded some 2000 years ago and today remains a sanctuary and a place of worship for Amaterasu Omikami.