Kurufushi Shrine is located in Takachiho-cho, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki Prefecture. The shrine is dedicated to Amatsuhikohikohono-niniginomikoto.
In earlier days when there was no building erected on the site, the mountain itself was the subject of worship and it was counted as one of the Eighty Eight Takachiho Shrines. In 1694, the shrine was built by the lord of the Nobeoka Clan and the people of the village, who were deeply devoted to their faith.
According to Kojiki, the oldest surviving book, Niniginomikoto descended to the top of “Mount Kujifuru” in Takachiho. This Mount Kujifuru is believed to be today’s Mount Kurufuru where, halfway up the side, the Kurufushi Shrine stands. In the vicinity are some other mythological sites including Shioujiga-mine which is said to be the birth place of Emperor Jinmu’s brothers, as well as theTakamagaharayouhaisho and Takachioho-hi Monument.
Kurufushi Shrine is a tranquil place surrounded by woods. Visiting this shrine, along with theTakachiho Shrine and the Amanoiwato Shrine is called sansha mairi (three shrines visit) and the practice has been popular since the old days.
Enchoko Lion Dance, which was designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property by Aichi Pref. in 1965, is composed of seven acrobatic dances performed by a pair of dancers. One dancer wearing a lion mask plays a part of the upper body and fore legs, while the other the back legs. The origin of this performance is unknown, but according to the most dominant opinion, it originates in the dance dedicated to a shrine in the Genroku era (1688-1703) in return for offering a prayer for rain. There are also several opinions about the origin of its unique name of “Enchoko.” One opinion goes that it came from the word “henteko (meaning “funny and queer”) while another goes that it is a phonic transformation of “en no za no shishi (the lion at a feast).” This gallant Enchoko Lion Dance, which is performed to up-tempo tones of Japanese flute and drums sounds, is the art created by the pair’s movement in total sync.
Jokanji Temple in Matsuzaki Town in Shizuoka Prefecture is a temple belonging to the Honganji denomination of Jodoshinhsu. The principal object of worship is Amida Nyorai. It was founded by the priest Joshin during the Einin era (1293-1299).
The temple had declined since it was burned down in a big fire during the Genroku era (1688-1703) and was revived by the 13th resident priest, Honda Shokan. Jokanji Temple has been famous for its divine power to get rid of evils and bring happiness.
Jokanji Temple is also famous as the place where Chohachi Irie, a plaster artisan in the Meiji period (1868-1912) is buried. Although most of his representative plaster works in Tokyo were lost by Great Kanto Earthquake and fires caused by air raids on Tokyo, some 20 excellent works including Happo-nirami-no-ryu (the Dragon Glaring in Eight Directions) and Hiten (the Heavenly Maiden) are preserved in the main hall of the temple, which is open to the public as Chohachi Memorial Museum. The bronze bust of Chohachi and the stone monument are elected in the precinct.
The Sayabashi Bridge is a bridge over the Kanakura River in Kotohira-cho, Kagawa Prefecture. This arched wooden bridge with copper roof in Kara-hafu style (undulating bargeboards) is said to have been constructed during the Genroku era (1688-1703). The deck of this bridge is 4.2 m above the water and 24 m in length.
It was named Sayabashi (Scabbard Bridge) because its curved shape is similar to the scabbard of a sword. It is also known as the “Uki Bashi (Floating Bridge)” because it no bridge legs. It was registered as a Registered Tangible Cultural Property in 1998.
The bridge had been washed away by floods several times and removed to the present place in the Meiji period (1868-1912). Since then, it is opened only once a year for the Otaisai festival of Kotohira-gu Shrine in October every year.
Kamo Shrine on the top of a hill located to the south of the Nanakita River in Izumi-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, is composed of two shrines; Kamigamo Shrine and Shimogamo Shrine, just like Kamo Shrine in Kyoto. All the shrine structures including the main torii gate and the middle torii gate are painted in vermillion; hereby it is popularly called Akagami-sama (the Red God).
In 1695, Date Tsunamura, the 4th lord of the Sendai domain, built Shimogamo Shrine in this site, using the building of Tadasunomiya Shrine, which had been one of the attached shrines of Shiogama Shrine and was dismantled when Shiogama Shrine was reconstructed. Kamigamo Shrine was built next to Shimogamo Shrine at the same time.
The one on the right is Shimogamo Shrine, formally named Kamo Mioya Shrine according to Tosatsu (the wooden plate to state the record of the construction) and popularly called Higashinomiya (East Shrine), and the one on the left is Kamigamo Shrine (Kamo Wake-Ikazuchi Shrine, or Nishinomiya (West Shrine). The two buildings stand symmetrically facing the south. Only difference is the carved decoration given to the frog-leg struts; the hen for Shimogamo Shrine and the rooster for Kamigamo Shrine.
The usually quiet precinct is bustled with visitors on New Year’s Day and the day of Donto Festival, in which the New Year’s decorations brought by visitors are burned in a bon fire to pray for a good health.
Shinmeisha Shrine is located in Wakuya Hinata in Wakuya Town, Miyagi Prefecture. The enshrined deities are Amaterasu Omikami and Amenonakanushi no Kami. The origin of the shrine is not clear, but it is said that it was originally located in Kozutsumi Village in present Watari Town and enshrined Uganomitama no Kami. In 1591, when Watari Motomune, the ruler of this area, was transferred to Wakuya, he relocated the shrine to its current location, which was said to be a holy place associated with Shiogama Shrine.
Haiden (the oratory) of Shinmeisha Shrine is designated as a cultural property by the prefecture as one of the few Genroku-era structures. It was constructed in 1698. It is a 3-bay wide and 2-bay deep wooden building with a copper roof in Irimoya-zukuri (hip and gabled) style. No painting is applied to the building.
The front side has the 1-bay step-canopy. The railing is built around three sides of the building. The carved decorations are painted with white pigment made of burnt seashell.
The gable pediments are embellished with large bottle-shaped struts cut out to fit over rainbow beams. The ridge is covered with decorative boards with a symmetrical three-fold pattern and turnip-shaped cover boards.
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.
The Mutsukami-kaido Road connects Ichinoseki on the Oshu-kaido Road and the Dewa-kaido Road via Kurikoma, Ichihasama-Masaka and Iwadeyama. It is a nationally designated Historic Site. The road is well-known as the ancient route of the Oku no Hosomichi, which Basho Matsuo used on a Haiku journey coming back from Hiraizumi in 1686. Currently, this ancient route has been partly paved with stones and restored, but still remains quiet, surrounded with old trees. The name “Oku-no-hosomich (the narrow road to the deep north)” sounds just apposite. It reminds us of good old days.