NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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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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2007/6/21


十月 神無月 Juugatsu Kannazuki October, Kannazuki

Jp En

Kannazuki is a Japanese traditional name for October. Kannazuki (神無月) can be translated literally as “the month when there are no gods.” In Shinto tradition it was said that the eight million gods of Japan left their shrines and congregated annually in October at Izumo Taisha Shrine in Shimane Prefecture. In Izumo, by contraries, it is considered trendy to call October “Kamiarizuki,” which means “the month when the gods are present.”

There are still other theories as to its origin, however. The most strongly supported theory is that the 無 character should be a particle meaning “of” and therefore Kannazuki means the month of gods. Another unique theoru staes that it is a pun for Kaminashizuki (雷無月), which literally means the month without thunderstorms.

The day around October 8th is called Kanro (cold dew) and it is said that the year’s’ first dew condensation can be seen on this day. Leaves turn red in the middle of October and the day around October 23rd is called Soko (frost descent), when the year’s first frost covers the ground in the northern part of the nation. As winter draws near, it is getting colder and colder and biting north winds start to blow in this season.
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2007/1/6


出雲大社 Izumoooyashiro Izumo Shrine

Jp En

The main deity at Izumo Shrine in Shimane Prefecture, is known as the god of luck, peace, relationships, agriculture andmedicine. Within the grounds of the shrine, are structures built in the ‘shinkoden’ style, which means ‘luck from god’. They are two-storied and include the treasure hall, which exhibits treasures that prove the development of the Izumo Shrine. The main building, which is designated as a national treasure, is now 24m high, yet it is said that it was once twice the height, at 48m. Excavation in progress has proved this, with the discovery of a  gigantic column on the site. On March 19,  2007, the Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo opened just beside the shrine and exhibits the original column of the main sanctuary. About 600,000 people visit the shrine during the first three days of the New Year
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佐太神社 Sada-jinja Sada Shrine

Jp En

Sada Shrine is located by the Sada River, near Matsue in Shimane Prefecture. It is both an historical and  an influential shrine, second only to Izumo-Taisha, and was built in 1684.

The main shrine is built in the Taisha style, with halls in three rows. In the main shrine, twelve gods are enshrined. In the main shrine is the Saiehiogi, one of the oldest existing paintings on a fan screen. The shrine possesses a number of designated national cultural assets, such as the Sada Jin-noh, a drama form that influenced the Satokagura drama throughout the country.

The Sada Jin-noh is played during the famous Gozakae and Reisai festivals on the 24th and 25th of September, respectively.

  In addition, in November during the Jinzai festival (held to expel  bad luck, including fire and flood), it is said that a multitude of gods  gather here at Sada Shrine. This is why Sada Shrine is also known as the ‘Jinzai shrine’.
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2006/12/22


福こづち Fukukoduchi Happiness Gavel

Jp En

‘Happiness Gavel’ is a traditional luck handiwork in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture.
The form of gavel is supposed to have been cherished by Okuninushi-no-mikoto (Daikoku-sama), one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune, who are related to Izumo Shrine.
The origin of the Happiness Gavel dates back to the Edo period.
The gavel is said to ‘give whatever you want and satisfy your wish if you bang it’ and Daikoku-sama is said to have satisfied many people’s wishes.
Utilizing the advantage of wood from the Japanese zelkova tree, the gavel dries naturally.  Each gavel is made by hand. The more often you use it, the more vivid it becomes.  Moreover, the zelkova grain is clear and beautiful and the gavel has so many curves that the grain looks more beautiful.
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