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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2007/9/6


韮神山三十三観音 Niragami-yama-sanjuu-san-kannon Niragamiyama 33 Kannon Stone Statues

Jp En

A group of stone statues of Kannon stand at the top of Mt. Niragamiyama (94 m) on the outskirts of the Numabe area in Murata Town, Miyagi Prefecture. Mt. Niragamiyama (literally meaning “Chive God Mountain”) was named so because yellow chives grew in the mountain in the old times. The mountain was a battleground during the war between the Northern Fujiwara clan and the forces of Minamoto no Yoritomo in 1189. It is also famous as the place where Matsuo Basho wrote a poem. At the top of the mountain is a stone monument inscribed with a poem written by Fujiwara no Sanekata, a poet in the middle of the Heian period (794-1192). From the observatory at the mountain top, you can command a panoramic view of the Zao Mountain Range and the Shiraishi River.

The 33 Kannon stone statues stand in two rows near the observatory. They were dedicated and erected by several local worshippers in 1846 by modeling after the Saigoku 33 Pilgrim Route. You will feel the contributors’ simple but faithful religious devotion from these old stone statues.
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2007/8/21


成岩神社の祭礼 Narawa-jinja-no-sairei The Festival at Narawa Shrine

Jp En

Handa Spring Dashi (Float) Festivals are held in 10 districts of Handa City in Aichi Prefecture from early in March to late in May every year. The festival at Narawa Shrine is one of such float festivals that you can’t miss.

The four floats from the four towns in the district march through the streets. The oldest one was constructed in 1846 for the Kamihanda district and was taken over to this Narawa district. The highlight of the festival is the valiant gathering of the floats at Yurakucho Crossing.

After the gathering, the floats head for the shrine, where “Ojishi-Kojisi no Mai (the dances of big and small lions)” are dedicated by the dancers from all the four towns. They are the traditional performing art passed down since the Edo period (1603-1868). They are the combination of elegant big lion dances and comical small lion dances joined by Okame and Hyottoko. “Ojishi-Kojisi no Mai” is prefecturally designated as an intangible folk cultural property.
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2007/8/2


登米神社 Toyoma-jinja Toyoma Shrine

Jp En

Toyoma Shrine at the top of Mt. Teraike Dobayama in Toyoma Town, Tome City, Miyagi Prefecture, is a historic shrine that has been worshipped by local people for nearly 1,000 years. The enshrined deities are Emperor Ojin and Takorihime no Mikoto.

It is said that the history of the shrine dates back to 1062, when Minamoto no Yoshiie transferred the deity from Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine in Kyoto to Mt. Hemuroyama (later called Hachimanzaki), where his father had offered a prayer for his victory before he fought with the forces of the Abe clan, which is known as “Zen Kunen no Eki” or Earlier Nine Years’ War (1051-1062).

Later during the Warring States period, the Kasai clan ruled this area and they faithfully revered the shrine as the guardian god of their family and the seven counties in their territory. In 1590, when the Kasai clan was destroyed, Date Munenao, who was enfeoffed with this area by Date Masamune and became the founder of the Toyoma Date clan, relocated the shrine from Hachimanzaki to the foot of Mt. Teraike Dobayama. Date Muranaga, the 6th lord of Toyoma, built a new shrine building at the top of the mountain and revered as the guardian god of his family. In 1846, it was renamed Toyoma Shrine.

In the precinct is the stone monument inscribed with a poem written by Matsuo Basho erected in 1770. In September every year, an annual festival is held, in which the gorgeous procession of mikoshi, floats and warriors is performed.
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2007/7/31


榊流永代神楽 Sakaki-ryuu-eidai-kagura Eidai Kagura in the Sakaki Style

Jp En

Eidai Kagura in the Sakaki Style is a traditional folk performing art handed down in the Ogame area in Tomiya Town, Miyagi Prefecture. This kagura has its origin in Aoso Kagura in the Sakaki Style handed down at Aoso Shrine in present-day Miyagino-ku in Sendai City. It is said that it was introduced to this area in 1848. Since then it has been dedicated to the deities at Kashima Atariwake Shrine, or popularly called Ogame Shrine, on the 3rd Sunday of April every year.

In this kagura dance, neither dialogues nor words are employed and everything is expressed only by movements. Dancers wear the Heian-period court dresses and hats and dance elegantly in Kyoto style. The repertoire includes 14 dances about sacred myths in Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) such as “Yamata no Orochi Taiji (Susanoo’s slayer of the eight-headed serpent)” and “Umisachihiko and Yamasachihiko.” The music ensemble is simply composed of Odaiko (a big drum), Kodaiko (a small drum) and a seven-holed Japanese flute.

There is a tradition that only the people living in the Ogame area are allowed to dance. Keeping up this tradition, the dance has been handed down to only 23 families in the area for 200 years until today. It really is a secret dance.
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2007/4/12


蘇羅比古神社 Sorahiko-jinjya Sorahiko Shrine

Jp En

Sorahiko Shrine located in Mt. Kuwayori in Shobara City, Hiroshima Pref. is an old shrine, which was enlisted in Engishiki (codes and procedures on national rites and prayers in the Heian period). The enshrined deity is Hikohohodemi no Mikoto (the grandfather of Japan’s first emperor, Jinmu). On both sides of the front approach stand the huge cedar trees with a diameter at breast height of 5.5 m and 5.2 m respectively, which are designated as prefecture’s Natural Monuments. In the precinct are several stone statues of Komainu (Chinese dogs) including the pair of stone dogs made of granite stone and the one made of Sesshu ceramic, which uniquely looks up at the sky. One can sense high artistic quality in its simplicity. A large stone hand washing basin inscribed with the making year of Genroku 2 (1698) and a stone lantern of Koka 5 (1848) are also place in the precinct.
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