NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/1/18


都久夫須麻神社 Tukuhushima-jinjya Tsukubusuma Shrine

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Tsukubusuma Shrine is located on Tsukubujima (or Chikubujima), a small 2km-round island in Lake Biwa, Nagahama District, in Shiga prefecture.

This small shrine was originally established in 420 for the deity Asaihime-no-mikoto. In 'Ōmi Fudoki' it is recorded that Tatamihiko-no-Makoto of Mt Ibuki, together with Asaihime-no-mikoto of Mt Asai, had a climbing competition. The outraged loser, Tatamihiko-no-mikoto, chopped off Asai-no-mikoto's head, which became Tsukubu Island. It is believed that as the island head was sinking, it made the sound 'tsuku tsuku', hence the island's name Tsukubujima. Another story relates that the island was named after a bamboo (chiku), which was the first plant that grew there.

The shrine is counted as one of the 'three-major Benzaiten' in Japan, and is also believed to be the oldest in Japan. The main building is beautifully sited in front of Lake Biwa. Ryushinjin Haisho, or the main shrine is located on the cliff. There is a custom that by throwing crockery from this place, the Ryushin (dragon god) will grant your wish. The main shrine is designated as an important cultural asset.
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