Welcome to Japan !


Japanese Mythology


The Holy Land blessed by the Gods
The Three Generations of the Heavenly Descendants
in Hyûga, Kyushu









" Amano Sakahoko "
The Japanese Sun Rising Flag
and the Three teeth fork-shaped
weapon staked up side down
on the top of  the Mt. Takachiho-no Mine.
Miyazaki prefecture


  Do you know the exact place where the Heavenly Descendant the God Ninigi-no
  Mikoto descended at the order of the Godess of Sun Amaterasu Oomikami from
  Takamagahara Field ( Heavenly Hill Field ) in Heaven ?

  Ninigi-no Mikoto descended on top of the Holy Mt. Takachiho-no-Mine. If you can
  not believe such a fantastic story inspite of the holy and majestic look of the Holy
  Mountain, look at the three teethed spear " Ama-no-Sakahoko - Heavenly Upside
  Down Spear " staked on top of the Mt. Takachiho-no-mine. It is not a devil's
  pitchfork.

 By whom it was staked ?  Presumably by God Ninigi-no Mikoto !

 There have been much speculation and opinion as to why the mysterious
  Heavenly Lance is staked upside down on the top of Mt.Takachiho-no-mine.

  This mysterious Heavenly Lance has been the cause of much speculation
  and opinion as to why it was staked upside down in the top of the mountain
  Takachiho-no-Mine.

  It is believed that the weapon staked upside down points at the route to go back
  to Heaven. Some people say, however, that it expresses the protest of the gods
  on Earth against the gods in Heaven. There is another fantastic opinion that god
  Ninigi-no-mikoto dropped the weapon down to see whether the the spot is
  safe or not to descend on. This opinion, however, disregards why the lance is
  staked upside down.

  This is a dangerous place to descend upon from Heaven. The Kirishima Mountain
  Range has 23 volcanoes, 15 craters and 10 caldera lakes.

  The lance " Amano Sakahoko " is rusted. It belongs to the gods and not human
  beings. The preservation treatment is up to the gods. It is not a cultural heritage
  of our human government.

  At the end of the Edo Period, on the second year of Keio, in 1866, Sakamoto
  Ryoma made the first honey moon trip in Japan to Satsuma. He climbed
  Mr.Takachiho-no-mine  with his wife Oryô and saw the Holy Hoko with his own
  eyes and touched it. He sent a humorous letter to his sister Otome writing about
   the details of the honey moon trip with some illustrations.

    The Japanese Mythology is not a science nor the verificable history. The ancient
     chronicles like " Kojiki " and " Nihon Shoki " are full of fantastic and mysterios
     stories. They are the best detective novels ever published in Japan.

    You can enjoy yorself wandering among the gods only by using imagination
    and symparhizing with poor and miserable gods and also glorious gods. Use
    your imagination and have your fantastic theories.

   

Holy Mt. Takachiho-no-mine
( 5,167 feet above sea level )



The Holy Mt. Takachiho-no Mine

e

The fork-shaped Weapon
" Amano Sakahoko "
- Heavenly Up-side down three-
teethed weapon " staked upside down
on the top of the Holy Mr. Takachiho-no
Mine, Miyazaki prefecture.


 
 
.


Kirishima Jingu Shrine
Kirishima-cho, Aira-gun, Kagoshima pref.
By courtesy of Dept. of Mathematics and
Computer Science of Prof. Mori
Kagoshima University
In Ancient times, Kirishima Jingu Shrine was located btween the top of Mt.
Takacchiho-no Mine and Mt.Ohachi. It was moved to several places due to
the volcanic eruptions of the volcanoes.

In 1484, it was moved to the present place. The Temple is of course
dedicated to the the Heavenly Descendant Ninigi-no Mikoto. The buildings
of the Shrime were burnt down by an accidental fire later.

The present buildings of the Kirishima Shrine were reconstructed in 1715

at the order of 21st lord of Shimazu, Shimazu Yoshitaka.

 



 Magatama



The mini-Museum of
" NaniwaTamatsukuri "
of Ancient gems
" magatama " at the
Tamatsukuri-Inari
Shrine in Osaka.
This has the shape of
an ancient house of
Kiritsuma zukuri style
of the Kofun period.
These houses are
discoverd in the form
of earthen replicas
called " Haniwa ".



三角縁神獣鏡
島根県大原郡加茂町

The bronze mirror
unearhed at
Kamo-cho, Ohara-gun,
Shimane pref.
This is not the same as the
genuine Heavenly Mirror
enshrined in the Inner Shrine
" Naiku " in the Ise
sanctuaries.



The curve-shaped " Magatama " gem.
One of the Three Heavenly Treasures
( Sanshu no Jingi )


Magatama is one of the three Heavenly Treasures
" Sanshu no Jingi " o " Sanshu no Shingi " which
the Goddess of the Sun bestowed on the Heavenly
Descendant Ninigi-no Mikoto as the symbols of his
legitinate ruling on Earth when he descended from
Heaven to Earth.

The genuine Heavenly Magatana " Yasakani-no
Magatama " was handed down from generation
to generation to the present emperor. It is treasured
in the Imperial Palace. We are not informed enough
about it, and we don't not know what it is like really.

Magatama is a gem made from green jade, blue
agate. cristal or other materias. We don't know
why it is curve-shaped.

Magatama were an ornament which the important
persons wore and were also charms which the
priests used for some religious rites.

The magatama were charms and the symbols of
power. They began to be manufactuered in III B.C.E.
and stopped being manufactured VII C.E. On the
South of the Osaka Castle, there is an area called
Tamatsukuri, jewel makers or jewel making, where
the Tamatsukuri Shrine founded in 12 years C.E is
situated.

In the ancient days, there lived people called
members of the Jewel makers' guild.

In the grounds of the temple, there is a mini
-museum called Naniwa Tamatsukuri Gem
Museum - Naniwa Tamatsukuri Shiryokan -
which has a collection of Magatama gems.
The house of this museum was built after the
 fashion of the earthen " Haniwa " replicas of
the ancient houses, which have a style of
" Kiritsuma Zukuru - gabled houses ". " Haniwa "
were replicas of houses, horses, birds and
men in the first centuries C.E. ( the " Kofun "
- huge mausoleum Period. They are found in the
archeological sites.

The Tamatsukuri-Inari Jinja is situated in
Tamatsurkuri 2-chome, Chuo-ku, Osaka,
close to the Osaka Castle.




" Hoko "
head of
the bronze
lance " Hoko "
of the Yaoi
period

No exactly
the same one
found at the
archeological
site of
Kojindani-Iseki
Hikawa-cho,
Shimane Pref.



Bronze sword
of the Yaoi
period.

No exactly
the same found
at the
archeological
site of
Kojindani-Iseki
Hikawa-cho,
Shimane Pref.

The "hoko "is a kind of a lance with
a pointed tip on one end and with a cylindrical tube on the other end to
be fitted onto a wooden pole as
shown in the above photo.



Bronze " Dotaku "
It is said that the bell-shpaed Dotaku
were used for some religious rites.

Archaeological Site of
Kamo-Iwakura,
Kamo-cho, Shimane pref.



The building for religious rituals or
conference in the Yoshinogari
Histrorical Park
of the Yaoi period.
in Saga pref.
In 1984, at the construction site of a road
to some agricutural land in Hikawa-cho town,
Shimane prefecture, 358 bronze swords
were discovered.The site was named "
Kojindami Archeological Site. This discovery
surprised many archiologists who had believed
that the cultural sphere of bronze arms was
in the north of Kyushu.The total quantity of
bronze swords discovered in the whole
Japan until that time had been only about 300.

In the following year of 1985, close to the
site above-mentioned, 6 " bonze Dotaku "
and 16 lance " Hoko " points were discovered.

These all discovered articles were designated
as National Treasures and were put on
exhibition in the Shimane Prefectural Museum.
Kojindani became " Archiological Park of
Kojindani " and the replicas of the discovered
articles were placed at the spots where the
original ones had been discovered.

In 1996, 12 years after those historical
discoveries, at 3.5 kilometers from the
Archeological Park of Kojindani, at Iwakura,
Kamo-cho town,Ohara-gun, Shimane
Prefecture, 39 Dotaku were found. Until that
time, the maximum quantity of Dotaku found
at one site had been 24 discovered at the
Oiwa-yama Archeological Site in Shiga
Prefecture.

These discoveries challenged the ideas
that there were two different cultural
spheres of bronze weapons and the bronze
" Dotaku ".

Around the years 1930's, one famous Japanese
philosopher Watsuji Tesuo asserted that the north
of Kyushu had been the cultural sphere of bronze
weapons and the east of Honshu, the sphere of
bronze Dotaku.This concept had been considered
as a fact for many years.

These archaeological discoveries contradicted
the opinions of some historians who had believed
that in the Izumo region, there had not been any
powerful country. They believed that the
descriptions in the ancient cronicles are merely
legandary and mythological and not trustworthy.

The concrete and convincing evidence of the
existence of a powerful country in Izumo increased
the mystery about the ancient Japanese history
of the peaceful transfer of power of the powerful
Izumo clan to less powerful clan of the Heavenly
descendants written in Kojiki and Nihon Shoki .

Why the Heavenly Descendants who had lived in
an uncivilized southern part of Japan was able to
advance eastward subjugating pepoles more
powerful economically and militarily with higher
metal civilization ? The people in the northern
parts of Kyushu soon bagan using the iron
weapons instead of bronze weapons.

Why the people in Izumo agreed to be ruled by
the people who came from the Southern part of
Japan ?

In 1980, at Yasunaga, Tosu city, Saga prefecture,
the moldes to manufacture bronze Dotaku were
discovered. This shows the inter-influence between
two cultural spheres.

Between 1986 and 1989, at the Archaeological site of Yoshino-gari, many ruins of the houses built in the middle of Yaoi period were unearthed.The molds to manufacture Dotaku were also diswcovered ath the site.

A large area of 117 ha. became the Historical park of Yoshinogari. You can see there
buildings of all times of the Yaoi period which lasted 6 centuries ( 3 B.C.E. - 3 C.E. ).
There was a citadel sorrrounded by 2.5 kilometer long moat.



It is a mystery why the Heavenly Descendants moved to the southenmost under-
developed place in the Satuma peninsula, the Noma Cape where the people called
Ata-Hayato lived.

They were considered as uncivilized people for many centuries.The desendants of the
god Niigi-no-Mikoto lived during 3 generations in the Noma Cape. They married girls
of the uncivlized people during three generations. The story is very derogatoty for the
imperial family and would stain the Imperial prestage.

I believe that the story implies the unification of the whole races that lived in the Japanese
Archepelago.


Some historians believe that  the writers of the Chronicles intended to impress
people with the more vast lands as possible that the first Emperor Jinmu conquered
in his  Advance Toward the East. They set, therefore, the starting point of the Emperor
Jinmu's Eastward Advance at the Southernmost place of the Kyushu Island, the Noma
Cape in the Satsuma Peninsula.


The god Sarutabiko-no-mikoto
guiding the heavenly descendants
to Earth,

The Goddess of the Sun, Amaterasu Ômi-kami
and Takagi-no-Kami, being informed from
the god Takemikazuki who returned to Heaven
after having investigated the situation on Earth
that Earth had been pacified, decided to
send down to Earth the sovereign to rule Earth.
The both gods re-conformed the order to the
son of the godess, Masakatsu Akatsukachi
Hayahi Ama no Oshihomimi no Mikoto to go
down to Earth to rule Earth, saying " The
underneath Ashihara no Nakatsu kuni finally
has been pacified now. Go down to Earth to
rule the land, as previously ordered. "


The god Ame no Oshihomimi no Mikoto replied :
" While I was preparing to go down to Earth, a son
named " Ame Nishiki Kuninishiki Amatsu Hikohiko
Hono Ninigi-no-Mikoto was born to me. He is grown-up now. I had my son with the daughter of the god Takagi -no-kami. I believe that it is better to send my son down to Earth instead of myself. "

The supreme gods agreeded with the suggestion of the god Ame no Oshihomimi no
Mikoto
and ordered the god Ninigi-no-Mikoto, saying : " Your father has decided to
put in your hands Ashihara no Nakatsu kuni. Go gown there to rule it. "


島木川大橋親柱の
備中神楽に使う
猿田彦命の面
岡山県高梁(たかはし)市

The mask of the god
Saruta-biko no Mikoto
at the the pillar of the bridge Shimakigawa
-Oohashi
in Takahashi city, Okayama
prefecture,
used in the Shintoist
play " Kagura " .


天孫瓊瓊杵尊
( ににぎのみこと )
の移住地 薩摩半島
最西端 の野間岬

The Heavenly Descendant
" Tenson " Ninigino Mikoto
immigated to Noma-Misaki
in the south of the
Satsuma Peninsula
and farthest west of
the Kyushu Island.This
is a windy place and
a wind tower with propellers
to generate electricity
in seen in the above photo.

Thus, the god Ninigi-no-Mikoto wanted to go down
and looked downward and found a strange god
standing in the way at the point where the road
split in 8 different directions.

The strange god was illuminating both Heaven
and The god Ninigi-no-Mikoto was scared at the
strange god and was afraid to go down to him. 
He was tall, red faced and had a long nose.

He ordered the godess Amenouzume-no-Mikoto,
saying : " You are feeble woman.  But, you can glare
at anybody in his face. Go down to him and ask him
why he stands there in the way for the prince of the
goddess of the sun to pass. ".

She must have given him an fascinating glare. Later,
we will know that this godess was seductive, glamorous
and sexy.

She asked him why he was standing in the way there.

The god replied : " I 'm not a suspicious god. I'm a god
on Earth. I have heard that the prince of the Sun will
come down from Heaven. I have come here to receive
him from Heaven and guide him to our country
" Ashihara no Nakatsu-kuni ".


The god Saruta-biko no Mikoto later became
the god for good journey and became the
ancestor of the super beings called " Tengu "
living deep in the mountain. The tengu was
considered as agile as a "saru " or monkey.
There are many legends that the great
swordsmen practiced martial arts with the tengu
deep in the mountain. Legend says that Ninamoto
-no-Yoshitsune learned martial arts with Tengu
in the Mt.Kurama in Kyoto, when he was a child.

His wife became the goddess of  the entertainment
arts.

There are many shrines in Japan dedicated for
these two gods. One of them is in Ise city near the
Naigu Shrine. In the grounds of that Shrine, there
is also a small shrine for his wife " Amenouzume-
no-Mikoto.

The Godess of the Sun, Amaterasu Ômi-kami and
Takagi-no-Kami decided to make 5 gods to
acompany Ninigi-no-Mikoto. They were Ame-no-koyane
-no-mikoto, Futodama-no-mikoto, Ame-no-uzume-no
-Mikoto,Ishikoridome-no-mikoto, Tamanoya-no-mikoto.
They were chosen to go down to Earth.

In addition, the gem " Yasaka-no-Magatama with which the gods tempted the Goddess of the Sun, Amaterasu Ômi-kami into coming out of the cavern to illuminate the world again, the mirror and the sword " Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi donated by Susano-o-no-Mikoto, were handed to Ninigi-no-mikoto.

These three holy articles would become the three imperial regalias "Sanshu-no-shingi ".
The gem " Magatama " means the harvest of cereals, the mirror the symbol of the Sun, the
sword military power.

The supreme two gods also ordered three more gods to accompany the god Ninigi-no-
mikoto. They were Tokoyo-no-Omoikane-no-kami( the god of eternal wisdom), Ame-no-
Tajikarano-no-kami ( the god of the strong hands ), and the god Ame-no-Iwato-wake -no
-kami (The strong god of the Heavenly Rock Door Opening ).

The goddess Amaterasu Ômi-kami told Ninigi-no-Mikoto " Worship the mirror as though it
were myself. The god Omoikane-no-kami must be in charge of the mirror worshipping ritual. "

Therefore, the god Ninigi-no-mikoto and the god Omoikane-no-kami are worshipping
even now the spirit of the goddess of the sun Amaterasu Ômi-kami in the form of the
mirror in
the Inner Temple " Naiku " at the river side " Isuzu-gawa - the river of 50 bells "
in the Ise-Jingu Naiku sanctuary. The sanctuary of Naiku( The Inner Shrine )has an area
of 5,500 ha. In the Naiku sanctuary, there are 92 shrines, and in the Geku shrine, 33
shrines, 125 shrines in total. The Naiku Shrine is the most important, because the spirit
of  the goddess the sun Amaterasu Ômi-kami is enshrined there. The goddess is the
ancestor of the Japanese Emperors and the Japanese people according to the
mythological legends.

It has been customary from ancient times to worship first the Outer Shrine Geku and
then to visit the Inner Shrine Naiku for the reason I don't know. Only priests, members
of the Imperial House and dignitaries are allowed to come close to the shrines. In the
case of the Inner Shrine, it had 4 fold fenses( walls). We can not enter the South
Entrance of the outermost fence. We can have some glimps of upper parts of the
shrine of the "Yuiitsu Shinmei-zukuri " style from outside. We can not provide you,
therefore, with nice pictures of the detail of the temples. Your can see, however,
many pictures of the inside of the shrine grounds on the official web.page of
Ise Jingû Shrines.  It is 6 kilometers from the Outer Shrine to the Inner Shrine.
There is a bus service between two shrines with several interesting places en route.

The Naiku Shrine was firtst built more than 2,000 years during the reign of the emperor
Suinin, but every twenty years, the Inner Shrine - Naiku, Outer Shrine - Geku, other 14
shrines, religious ritual treasures, bridges, and even white pebbles in the grounds of the
shrines will be replaced by the new ones. This custom of the renewal or over-haul
replacement began in 680. The next over-haul replacement will take place in 2013.
Last time, 50,000 people in the former Ise province and in the former feuds of the
Ise Shrine temples, clad in white, brought white pebbles to the construction sites of the
shrines. The white pebbles were picked in the bed of the river "Miyagawa" near the
Outer Shrine - Geku.

The old material of wood will be donated to many temples in Japan to repair them. The
emperor Suinin was the first emperor who watched the Sumo wrestling between two
Herculean wrestlers Taima-no-Kehaya and Nomi-no-Sukune.

The goddess " Toyouke-no-kami " for food, clothing, housing and industry is enshrined
in the Outer Shrine " Geku " of the ise sanctuary. The spirit of goddess was invited about
1,500 years ago from the province of Tanba to serve food to the goddess of the sun
during the reign of the emperor Yuryaku. The goddess of the Sun Amaterasu Ômi-kami
appeared in a dream of the emperor Yuryaku, and she said : " I need badly somebody
who will prepare food for me.

Then call for the goddess of food Toyouke-no-kami enshrined in Tanba. The emperor
Yuryaku invited the goddess of food and built at shrine at Watarai, Ise. At the Geku
shrine, the ceremony of food serving was practised twice a day, in the morning and in
the evening. This means that the ancient Japanese took two meals a day.

In the altars of the Shinto gods, we put rice, fruit, vegitable, seaweed and etc.,
food not processed, steamed, boiled, grilled, or cooked. The Sun Goddness
Amatarasu Ômikami, therefore, did not want to have a cooking goddess. The gods,
however, like to take sake, processed alcoholic beverage made of sake. We can see
in the grounds of many Shinto Temples colourful sake barrels donated by sake
brewers.

There is a proverb which says : " There is no god who is a teetotaler." All Japanese
god are Bacchuses. There are many Shinto festivals ans ceremonies related to
Sake. In the wedding ceremonies, the bride and bridegroom practise the ceremony
of " San San Kudo - Three Three Nine cups od sake". In the Matsuo Taisya Grand
Shrine, a god for sake is enshrined.


Sake Barrels ( Alcoholic Beverage
made from rice )
donated by many sake brewers
of Japan.

Grand Shrine " Matsuo-Taisya "
in Kyoto


The legend of the Shrine says that in 733
when the fountain of pure water was found
in the grounds of the Shrine, the god appeared
and said that the water is good for sake
brewing, and it is the water for eternal youth.


" Ame-no-Iwatowake " was the god who guarded
the Sacred Entrance Gate. Ame-no-tajikarao-no
-kami was the god with strong hands.
He is
now enshrined in the Sana Shrine.

Ame-no-koyane-no-mikoto who descended
from Heaven with Ninigi-no-Mikoto would
become the ancestor of the important Nakatomi
clan. " Natatomi " meant " the go-between
subject of the emperor between the gods and
the emperor. The clan was in charge of the
religious matters.
Futodama-no-mikoto was
the ancestor of  Inbe clan which was also in charge of rhe religious matters, but went on losing its power, as the Nakatomi clan became more and more powerful. From Ame-no-Uzume-no-mikoto, descended the clan of Sarume-no-kimi, clan of priestesses
and religious female dancers. The descendants of Ishikoridome-no-mikoto became
manufacturers of  mirrors, and the the descendants of Tamanoya-no-mikoto formed the
guild of the jewel makers.


Inner Shrine " Naiku "
in the Ise-jingu sanctuaries.
Dedicated to the goddess
of the Sun Amaterasu Ômi-
kami.
Ise city, Mie pref.
Founded more than 2000
years ago.

Ise city,
Mie prefecture



The upper parts of the
main buildings of the Inner
Shrine



" Isuzu-gawa " River
( River of 50 bells )
Pure, sacred and mysterious
in the " Naiku " ( The Inner
Shrine )sanctuary . The hands
are washed here to purify
yourself before entering
the sacred area.
Ise city,
Mie prefecture


Outer Shrine " Geku "
in the Ise-jingu sanctuaries
Ise city, Mie pref.



The god Ninigi-no-mikoto, fully prepared, started
downward passing through thousands of clouds
and reached Ame-no-Ukihashi, the floating bridge
or the space station between Heaven and Earth.
From there, the Heavenly Descendants descended
to the top of the holy mountain Takachiho-no-mine
in the province of Himuka ( Hyuga ).

The two gods on Earth, Ame-no-Oshihi-no-mikoto
and Ame-Tsukume-no-mikoto appeared to welcome
the Heavenly Descendants.

They are armed to the teeth, carrying large arrow
quivers on their shoulders, carrying thick-handled
swords and bundles of sharp stag horn tipped
arrows under their arms. They served the Heavenly
Desendants as guards. Ame-no-Oshihi-no-mikoto
was the ancestor of the Otomo clan, and Ame-
Tsukume-no-mikoto was the ancestor of the Kume
-no-Atai clan. Both clans became royal subjects
of emperors.

He searched for a good place to build his palace
and finding a good place, said : " This is the best
place with the sun shining from the direction of the
sea in the morning and the sun set shining in the
evening. This place is directly connected with the
tip of the Cape Kasasa looking toward Korea.

He built there a huge palace tall enough to reach
Heaven and lived there.

One day, the god Ninigi-no-mikoto said to the
goddess Ameno-Uzume-no-mikoto : " You
were the first to talk to the god Saruta-biko-no-kami.
He guided us up to this place. Acompany him to his
native place. Inherit his name. Therefore, the
descendants of Ameno-Uzume-no-mikoto, even if
they are women are called with the male name of
Sarume-no-kimi. He had something stupid.
When
the god Saruta-biko no Mikoto was fishing back in
his native province of Ise, a huge shell bit his hand
and he was dragged into the sea. He drowned
and died.

The goddess Ame-no-uzume-no-mikoto returned to the province of Hyûga and gathered both small fishes, large fishes and seashells and asked them: Will you be glad to serve to the emperor as his majesty's food ? All of the fishes except a sea cucumber replied : " We will be glad to be eaten by the emperor. The sea cucumber kept his mouth shut and did not answered to her. She was angry and cut its mouth wide open with a knife. Therefore, now the sea cucumber's mouth is wide open.

One day, while taking a walk in the Kasasa
Cape, Niigino Mikoto met there a beautiful girl.
 He asked her who she was. She answered :
" My name is Sakuya Konohana Hime, and
I am a daughter of the god Ôyamatsumi no
Ôkami.  " He proposed to her : " Please marry
me and help me to turn this land into a
prosperous country "

She said that she could not say yes or no byherself. She said : " I'll ask my father
whether I can marry you or not.  My father will answeryou about it. "


Her father was very glad to hear about his proposal and agreed on their marriage.
The god Ôyamatsumi no Ôkami is enshrined now in the Ooyamatsumi Shrine in
Ômishima Island, the Seto Inland Sea. 



Ôyamatsumi-Jinjya Shrine for the
god Ôyamatsumi no Ôkami -
father in-law of the Heavenly

Descendant Ninigi no Mikoto,
in the Oomishima Island,
Seto Inland Sea, Ehime
Prefecture. One of the Island of
Shimanami-kaido - the Street
of the Islands.

One of the descendants of the god Ôyamatsumi
no Ôkami, Ochino Mikoto, went to  the Seto Inland
Sea more than 2600 years ago to pacify the
islands to make it easier for the first emperor
Jinmu to advance eastward and chose Ômishima
Island as the sacred island, and enshrined the
soul of the god Ôyamatsumi no Ôkami. The Shrine
wnet on acquring prestage by being worshipped
by marine warriors, noblemen and the Imperial
House. It became the patron god of all Japanese
land and a god for foresty, mining, water, rice, sea
and land tranport and war. This is the head shrine
of 11,000 Mishima Shrines all over Japan.

The island is now connected by high technology
bridges with both Honsyu and the Shikoku Island.

The National Treasures Hall in the island houses
more than 80 % of helmets, armours,lances and swords in Japan desiginated by the government as the National Treasures or the Important Cultural Heritages. Over many years, famous warriors and warlords such as Minamoto no Yoritomo donated to the Shrine their weapons and armours thanking to the god for blessing them with victory.

This is a must for people who are interested in the armours and swords of ancient
warriors. The island is not well-known even among us Japanese who live in the
near-by Kansai district. The access to the island was improved by being connected
by the bridges and super-highways with Honshu and the Shikoku Island, but it is not
a favorite spot to be visited by many Japanese and foreign tourists. The Island also
has the Fine Arts Museum and the Maritime Museum.




しまなみ海道( Shimanami Kaido )
来島大橋 愛媛県
The Sea Street of the Islands, Great Kurushima
Bridge at the Kurushima Strait, Ehime Pref.

The Ômishima Island and other 5 main Islands are now linked with super high-ways
and colossal bridges which indicate the advanced technology of Japan. The Kurushima
Great Bridge is actually composed of three huge suspension bridges over the
Kurushima Strait. The super highway that connects the bridges is called " Shimanami
Kaido - Sea Street of the Islands ".

This is a very dangerous place for navigation. There are 3 meter difference in the sea
levels between the eastern and western sides of the Strait. This large height difference
causes a rapid flow of current. Moreover,there are many small isles and hidden rock
beds.

In the old days, the marine warriors called " Suigun " or " Kaizoku " guided ships to
pass through this dangerous strait and collected tolls.

Ninigi-no-Mikoto sent a messenger to the god Ôyamatsumi no Ôkami asking for her
daughter as his wife. The god Ôyamatsumi no Ôkami was very pleased with the
proposal of the Heavenly Prince of the Sun. Together with many gifts, he sent not only
his beautiful daughter Sakuyakonohana no Hime but also another daughter Iwanaga
Hime to marry them to Ninigi-no Mikoto.

He was so surprised at the ugly girl Iwanaga Hime. He sent her back to the god
Ôyamatsumi no Ôkami, who felt much insulted
and also ashamed. He sent a
message explaining his bona fide intention. : " I sent two daughters Sakuyakonohana
no Hime
and Iwanaga Hime to You, because Sakuyakonohana no Hime ( Pricess of
flowers in full bloom ) will bring you prosperity and glory in full bloom. Another daughter
Iwanaga Hime ( Princess of rock of long life ) will bring You a long life of your glory
against snow, rain and wind like rocks do. You sent me back Iwanaga Hime, and so,
you are doomed to have a short life like plants and flowers which do not endure rains
and winds
" Thereafter, the life of emperors has not been long. This descrption in the
chronicle is contradictory. Kojiki does not explain us when and how Ninigi-no-mikoto
died. His son Hoori-no-mikoto, however, lived 580 years, according to the chronicle
Kojiki.

Similar myths are found in the South Pacific Islands among Polinesian peoples
but instead of the personification of the flower and rock, the banana and rock are
personified. The similar Polinesian myths are called Banana Myths.

One day, Sakuya-konohana-hime said to Ninigi-no-Mikoto. : " I am pregnant and I am
having your baby. I can not have it privately, as it will be a descendant of the sun.
So I have come here to inform you of my pregunancy. "

Ninigi-no-mikoto replied. : " Do you really bear my baby, for having slept only one night
with me ?  It may be a baby of some other god on Earth. "

Sakuya-konohana-hime said. : " If were a baby of some other god, it would be born
dead. If it is your baby, it will be born alive and healthy. I will prove it. "

She had a huge birth house built quickly, and entered it. The house was closed
completely with earth. She set the house on fire. When the fire was very intense,
Hoderi-no-Mikoto was born. he would be the ancestor of Ata-Hayato clan. When the
fire was more intense, Hosuseri-no-mikoto was born. When the fire was dull, Hoori
-no-mikoto was born.

Hoderi-no-mikoto called " Umi-sachi-biko - prince of blessings of the sea " made his
living catching fish in the sea. Hoori-no-mikoto was called " Yama-sachi-biko - Prince
of blessings of the mountain". He made his living hunting in the mountains.

Yama-sachi-biko, just for a change, wanted to do fishing. He asked his elder
brother Umi-sachi-biko to exhange fishing gear for hunting gear. His brother
rejected the request of Yama-sachi-biko. He repeated the request more than three
times and Umi-sachi-biko finally accepted to exchange the fisihng gear and the
hunting gear for some time.

Yama-sachi-biko ( Hoori-no-mikoto ) did not catch any fish and lost the fish hook.
Umi-sachi-biko did not hunt any animal nor bird in the mountains.
Umi-sachi-biko
( Hoderi-no-mikoto ) asked his brother to return the fishing gear,saying " I can do
better with my own gear at sea. You can do better with your own gear in the
mountain. "

Yama-sachi-biko lost the fish hook. A line with the nice hook was bit off by a fish.
He apologized his elder brother for having lost the hook.  But, Umi-sachi-biko
insisted that his brother must find the lost hook and give it back to him.  Yamasachi
Hiko made 500 hooks from his excellent sword he was carrying, but his brother
never forgave him, insisting that Yamasachi Hiko must return the original hook to
him by any means.

He made one thousand more hooks which he offered to his brother to compensate
for the lost hook. Yama-sachi-biko, however, did not accept them. He said that he
wanted to receive back only one good hook and he don't want to receive any other
hooks.

He was quite at a loss and wondering what he should do, depressed and weeping.
standing on a beach. Then,the god old Shiotsuchi no Kami ( the god of the tide and
navigation ) appeared and asked him why he was so sad. Hoori-no-mikoto
( yamasachi-biko replied. : " I ve lost the fish hook of my brother. He did not accept
any of my compensations for it. So, I am sad. "

The god Shiotsuji said. : " It will be no problem. I have a good idea for you. " He made
tightly woven bamboo boat and said : " Get on board this boat. I will push it off a little.
You will soon be on a good current and reach the palaces of the sea god " Watatsumi.
At the main entrance of the palace at the side of a fountain, there is a sacred tree
" Katasura ". Climb it, and then the daughter of the God of Sea will appear. Consult
with her about your problem. "

He did what was advised by the god Shiotsuchi no Kami. Everything went on well as
had been told by the god Shiotsuchi no Kami. He climbed up to the branches of the
tree and waited.

A maid of princess Toyotamabime,daugher of the god Watatsumi
-no-kami came out
of the palace with a beautiful water jar to draw some water from the fountain. She
found the shining figure of Yama-sachi-biko ( Hoori-no-mikoto )reflected in the fountain
and looked up to find a very gallant
young man. She remained speechless for some
moment looking at the goog looking noble man. He called down from the tree that he
was thirsty and asked her for some water.

The woman handed him the water jar. He took off a jewel from his own necklace and
put it in his mouth and vomitted it into the jar and returned it to her. The jewel stuck
to the bottom of the jar and she could take it off. The maid handed the jar with the
jewel to the princess Toyotamabime. Looking at the jewel at the bottom of the jar,
she asked her maid. : " Are there anyone outside ? The maid answered. : " There
is a gallant and noble young man up on a branch of the tree. He looks so noble as
our king Watatsumi-no-kami. He asked for water and vomitted a jewel into the jar.
It can't be taken off, and I have brought the jar with the jewel to you. "

The princess Toyotamabime came out of the palace and looked into his eyes and
he also looked into her eyes. This act was called " Maguwai - confirming the mutual
love with the eyes.

She returned to the palace and said to her father, being so excited. : There is an
excellent noble young man outside of the palace. The god Watatsumi-no-kami
came out of the palace and said. : " It is the Heavenly Prince of the Sun without any
doubt. He prepared the seat for him piling up many skins of sea lions, and on top
of them, many silk cloths, and he invited Yamasachi-biko to sit down there. He put
in front of him many jewels, treasures, and the most delicious foods and ordered
his fish dancers to dance to entertain him.

He offered his daughter to Yama-sachi-biko as his wife. He spent in the Palaces of
the Sea three happy years.

One night, Yama-sachi-biko gave a deep sign remembering the unfulfilled purpose of
his visit to the Palaces of the Sea. Toyotama-bime noticed it and said to his father the
Sea God Watatsumi-no-kami. : " My husband has been happy all these three years.
But, he gave a deep sign last night. He must have something to worry about. "

The god Watatsumi-no-kami asked his son-in-law what was his trouble. Yama-sachi-biko
talked in detail about
the lost fish hook and the trouble with his brother. The Sea God
immediately gave an order to all fishes to gather in the palace. He asked them. : " Has
anyone among you swallowed a fish hook ? One fish said. : " The red snapper complains
for several days that he has a sore throat. He must have a hook stuck in his throat. He is
absent here today. ". The Sea God called the red snapper and discovered the fish hook
at his throat. That was exactly the hook that Yama-sachi-biko ( Hoori-no-mikoto ) was
looking for.


The Sea God took off the hook, washed it, and handed it to Yama-sachi-biko ( Hoori
-no-mikoto )
. The Sea God said to Yama-sachibiko. :" When Your Highness returns it
to Your Highness's brother, don't face him, and gave it back to him with Your Highness's
shoulders turned
to him, uttering " absent-minded hook, mad hook, poor hook, stupid
hook ". ( This act meant cursing on his brother.) " When Your Highness's brother had
a farm land at a high place, cultivate a farm land at a low place. Your Highness's farm
land will suck up water from the farm land of Your Highness's brother.

If Your Highness's brother had a farm land at a low place, have a farm land at a high
place. I am the god in charge of water control. His farm land will be dry and he will be
poor during three years.

If Your Highness's brother bears Your Highness some grudge and attacks Your
Highness, use the magical power of the high-tide control gem " Shiomitsutama "
and drown him with a flood. If he implores Your Highness to help him,use the low-tide
gem " Shiohuru-tama " to draw water and let him alive. I will give Your Highness the
two magical gems. " This story implies that the hunter became the farmer,learning
water control. The transition to a higher sedentary society from the nomad hunting
society.

The Sea God said to all fishes. : " The Heavenly prince of the sun will return to His
Highness's native land on Earth. Who will be able to send His Highness back in a
short time. ? The shark said : " I can take His Highness the Heavenly Prince of the
Sun home and come back in a day. " The shark was nominated to send Yama-sachi
-biko back home. Yama-sachi-biko reached Earth on the shark's back. When the
shark left the Palace, he hung a sword on a string he was carrtying around the neck
of the shark. Therefore, the shark is called " The holder of the sword ". ( Notes :
the sharp teeth of  the shark may be referred to as a sword. There are other
versions. )

Yama-sachi-biko ( Hoori-no-mikoto ) returned the fish hook to his brother Umi-sachi
-biko
( Hoderi-no-mikoto ), who became more and more poorer by the magical power
of the Sea God, and becoming more violent, attacked Yama-sachi-biko.

Yama-sachi-biko used magical power of the gem "" Shiomitsutama " to annoy his
brother with a flood. Umi-sachi-biko ( Hoderi-no-mikoto ) asked his brother to pardon
him. Yama-sachi-biko used the gem " " Shiohuru-tama " to draw water to save him.
Umi-sachi-hiko swore to Yama-sachi-biko that he would serve his brother and guard
his palace day and night. This is the reason why people of the Hayato clan. descendants
of Umi-sachi-biko represent the miserable acts of their drowning and subjugation.
( In the ancient days, it was customary for the subjugated people to represent the acts
to show how they were subjugated to re-confirm their subjugation to the Imperial House.
Some old chronicles tell us that the warriors of the Hayato clan guarded the Imperial
Palace day and night, barking like dogs at night, probably to scare off possible intruders.
In the Medieval ages, the word " Hayato " lost the connotation of barbarians and the
samurai in Satsuma proundly called themselves " Satsuma-Hayato " , brave warriors of
Satsuma. )

Umi-sachi-biko ( Hoderi-no-mikoto ) surrendered and Hoori-no-mikoto became the
second ruler of Hyûga.
One day, the daughter of the Sea God, Toyotama-bime came to
Hoori-no-mikoto and said :

" I am pregnant with your baby. I can not deliver a baby of the Heavenly king of the Sun
deep in the sea without Your Majesty's permission. I have come here to inform Your
Majesty of my pregunancy. "

They bagan to build a Birth Hut thatched with cormorant feathers. When the hut was not
completed yet, she began to suffer the pains of childbirth and entered the hut in a hurry.
She said to Hoori-no-mikoto : " Don't peep into the hut, when I deliver a baby, because
I will be turned to be what I really is. I would be ashamed to be looked at in my real
person.  Hoori-no-Mikoto promised her not to look at her while she deliver a baby, but
being so curious, peeped into the hut to find a big shark wriggling in agony.

Hoori-no-mikoto
, so horrified at the sight of the real form of his wife, fled from there.
Toyotama-bime, so ashamed of being looked at in her real form, said : " I was thinking
of bringing up my baby, coming here frequently through the road which links Earth and
the Sea. I have been looked at, however, in my true form and I am so ashamed and
I would not like to see Your Majesty again. "

She returned to the Palaces down in the Sea, closing the road to the Sea, and leaving
her baby in the hut. The baby was named " Amatsu-hikohiko-nagisa-takeukaya-
hukiaezu-no-mikoto " which means " the heavenly princess born in the hut
incompletedly thatched with cormorant feathers on the beach. "

Toyotama-bime continued to bear grudge to Hoori-no-mikoto. She yearned to see his
son. She sent her younger sister Tamayori-bime to see how his son was, handing her
poem letter to Hoori-no-mikoto.


           Red amber jewels are beautiful , make even their strings shine beutifully

           They do not exceed, however, in noble beauty, the white jewels you wore.

In the ancient times, the white colour indicated noblemess of aristocracy, and the red
colour beauty.

Hoori-no-Mikoto composed a reply poem.

            I do not forget you until the end of my life

            with whom I slept in the Island of the wild ducks,


T
he god Hoori-no-mikoto lived 580 years in the Palace of Takachiho-no-miya.
His remains were burried at the west of the Takachiho-no-mine mountain.

This myth can be supposed to suggest the unification of people living in Japan and
people who immigrated to Japan from the islands in the Pacific Ocean. The story gave
birth to the fairy tale of " Yama-hiko and Umi-hiko " with which all Japanese children
are familiar with.

Ukaya-hukiaezu-no-mikoto, son of the god Hoori-no-mikoto, loved his aunt who
frequently visited him from the Palaces of the Sea, and married her. The consangeneous
marriages were practiced often, but the marriage with aunts were rare. They had children
Itsuse-no-mikoto, Inahi-no-mikoto, Minuke-no-mikoto and Waka-minuke-no-mikoto. This
last god called also Kamu-yamato-iware-biko-no-mikoto, the fourth Heavenly Descendant
of the Sun would be crowned as the first emperor of  Japan in 660 B.C.E.

Minuke-no-mikoto went the Tokoyo-no-ku - the Eternal Land. Inahi-no-mikoto went to the
Palaces of the Sea of his mother.

  On the top  of the holy mountain " Takachiho-no-mine supposed to be the site of the
  Heavenly Dsecent of the god Ninigi-no-mikoto, the heavenly weapon " Ama-no-sachihiko
  is staked.

  It's rusted, because it was not given any preservation treatment, as its preservation
  is up to the god and not to us humans. It belongs to the god.

  It has been there since the times unknown. At the end of the Edo period, Sakamoto
  Ryoma made his honey moon trip, the first in Japan. He climbed Mr. Takachiho
   -no-mine with his wife to see with his own eyes the heavenly weapon at the top of
  the mountain and found it there.

   One of the powerful gods on earth, Ôkuni-nushi-no Mikoto agreed to be ruled by
   the gods in Heaven, but with one condition. He asked the Goddess of the Sun
   Amaterasu Ôminokami to build a colossal shrine in the land of Izumo ( Now,
   Shimane prefecture ) for him.

    It  was an unbelievably extravagant demand from the ruled to the ruler.  Amaterasu
    Ôminokami, however, agreed to his demand and constructed the huge sky-
    scraping shrine in Izumo.  This Shrine originally built by the gods has been
    restored and re-built many times by humans. The Grand Shrine of Izumo was
    taller than the original Great  Buddha Hall in Nara. The present Great Buddha
    Hall is two thirds of the original one, but even so, now we will find it marverously
    huge. It was said in the Heian period : " No.1 is the Grand Shrine of Izumo,
    No.2 is the Great Buddha Hall in Nara, and No.3 is the Daigokuden Hall in the
    Imperial Palace in Kyoto. It is generally said that  the Grand Shrine of Izumo was
    48 meters tall. But, the present Great Buddha Hall in Nara is 47.5 meters tall. The
    origianal was 1 third larger than the the current one. The Grand Shrine of Izumo,
    therefore, should have been taller than 60 meters.

    The huge shrine had  existed up to the Kamakura period, but they stopped
    re-building such a huge temple thereafter. The present Grand Shrine of Izumo is
    24 meters tall.
   
  On the 28th April 2000, The Board of  Education of Taisha-cho town in Shimane
    prefecture released news that huge wooden pillars which supposedly  had
    supported the huge shrine which had been erected at the end of the Heian
    period were discovered from underground at the site between the present
    Worship Hall and the Main Hall of the Izumo Grand Shrine. In September, the
    center pillar was  discovered. Each pillar was made from three pieces of
    wood bound with iron hoops.

   The  largest wood was 1.35 meters in diameter. The pillars with three pieces of
    wood bound is more than 3 meters in diameter. Nine sets of 3 piece-wood were
   discovered in all. Nails and other iron pieces were discovered also. The longest
   nail was about 40 centimeters( 1 foot and 4 inches ) long.

   From the Kamakura period, they did not re-build huge Shrines at that site.

   I believe that the legend of  the Izumo clan who agreed to be ruled by the gods
   from Heaven was intended to justify the dominance of  the imperial house
   of the emperors as descendants of the gods from Heaven. People  in the
   Izumo region was very powerful and had advanced iron making industry and
   high technology of arquitecture. It is a great mystery why they agreed to be
   ruled by the gods who came from the underdeveloped south without military
   resistance. It  suggests the peaceful unification of Japane peoples in ancient
   times.

   The gods from Heaven paid respectful attention to the gods on Earth in Izumo.
   They chose Izumo as the site of the annual convention of the gods. In October
   of the lunar calendar, all 8 million gods all over Japan are said to gather in Izumo.
    In many other provinces, the gods were absent.  Therefore, October  was called
   " the month without gods, or " Kannazuki  ". In the Meiji Era,   the lunar calendar
    was abolished and the Solar Calendar  was introduced.  Even now, the old
    names of months are used as literary words and in poems and in newspapers.

   As the gods on Earth agreed to be ruled, the Goddess of the Sun decided to
   send to the Earth his grandson the god Ninigino Mikoto to rule the land of Sun
   Rising, bestowing on him the Three Heavenly Treasures, i.e., " Yata no kagami "
   Mirror,  " Yasakano Magatama " gem and  " Kusanagi-no Tsurugi " sword, as
    symbols of the ligitimate ruler of  Earth. Three Treasures " Sanshu no Shingi
    have been handed down till now.


  When the first emperor of Japan, great-grand-son of Ninigi-no-Mikoto advanced
  to the East from Kyusyuu, he remained in the Kibi region for 8 years. It is now
  Okayama prefecture. It has a rich mythology, many legends and many shrines. Some
  of the legends were adapted to become fairy tales for children like " Momotaro -
  Peach boy ".

  At many shrines in Okayama prefecture, they hold the shintoist dances and plays
  called  " Kagura " or " Okagura " based on the Japanese mythology. The mask  on
  the pillar of the Shimakigawa bridge as shown in the above photo is one they use
  for one of the famous Shintoist plays  of  " Bichû Kagura " in Takahashi city, Okayama
  prefecture and of the god Saruta-biko no Mikoto.

  Ochi no Mikoto went from the Kyushu Island to the Seto Island Sea to put the islands
  scattered there and the Sea under his rule so that the first emperor Jinmu, the fourth
  Heavenly Descendant could pass through easily the Sea in his Advance to the East.
  In Shikoku, there are many families with the family name of Ochi. In January, 2004, one
  of my uncle on my mother's side Ochi Teruo in Kagawa Prefecture died.

  When he was alive, he used to talk to his nephews proudly : " Our ancestors were
  gods and are enshrined now in the Ôyamatsumi-jinjya Shrine in the Ômishima
  Island. " His grand parents came to Tadotsu-cho town in Kagawa Prefecture.

One day, Kamu-yamato-iware-biko-no-mikoto consulted with his brother Itsuse-no-
Mikoto about the site of the capital and said :

" We sre ruling a small area of the Sun Rising Country. We are in the westernmost
and the southernmost part of this country. We should advance toward the East to
govern better this Nation. "

They agreed on the Advance toward the East, and they started first toward the North
]of Kyushyu.

- to be continued -

  March 6th 2004 - Hiroaki Sasaki
  Revised on 7th September 2004




( A )
狭野神社 ( さのじんじゃ )
宮崎県 高原町 ( たかはるちょう )
Sano-jinjya Shrine
Takaharu-cho Miyazaki Prefecture

In the foreground, the smoking
" Shinmoe-dake ", the flat mountain
adjacent to it is Nakadake.
In the center of the background,
Takachiho-no-mine, and on its
right hand, Ohachi-dake.

( Tokyo University : Earthquake
Research Institute )

(A) Sano-jinjya Shrine
Legend says that the site of this shrine is the place where Kamu-yamato-iware-
no-Mikoto ( who would be the first emperor of Japan Jinmu ) was born.The shrine
was founded in 475 during the reign of the fifth emperor Kôshô. It burnt down by
the erruptions of the Kirishima volcanic mountain range. in 788, 1134 and 1718.
The infant name of emperor Jinmu was Sano-no-mikoto.

(B) Kirishima volcanic mountain range.

In the above photo, the mountain on the right hand with a large crater is
Mt.Shinmoe-dake. The flat mountain adjacent to Mt.Shinmoe-dake is Mt.Naka
-dake. In the background, the highest mountain is the holy Mt. Takachiho-no
-mine to where the god Ninigi-no Mikoto descended from Heaven. On the
right hand of the holy mountain,  the mountain with a crater is Ohachi-dake.

In the ancient times, Kirishima Shrine was situated between the Mt. Takachiho-
no-Mine and Mr.Ohachi ( Mt.Bowl ). All building of the shrines were destroyed by
the volcanic eruptions and the Shrine was moved to other places several times
after each eruption..

Mt. Kishishima usually means the range of  the twenty three volcanos. It
sometimes means, however, specifically the only highest mountain in the
range, 1,700 meter high Mr. Kara-dake. Kyushu is the island of volcanos.







高千穂神社
Takachiho Shrine
( Takachiho-cho, Miyazaki Pref.)
This Shrine uses the Coat of Arms of
the Imperial House " Crysanthemum ",
because the 3 generations of
the Heavenly Descendants are
enshrined here.
The Fourth Heavenly Descendant
would become the first emperor Jinmu
who would advance toward the
East.



Beneath dense fog, among the
mountains, nestles Takachiho-cho
town together with the gods






Takachiho-kyo ravine
( Takachiho-cho, Miyazaki pref.)



O-kagura ( Sacred Shinto Dance )
performances in many private
houses.
Takachiho-cho, Miyazaki pref.
( Takachiho raiway )


O-kagura Theater
Takachiho-cho,
Miyazaki Pref.

Night Performance 8.00 - 9.00 PM
For more detail, contact the Takachiho
-cho Tourist Association 0982-73-1213


Access to Takachiho-cho

From Hakata ( Fukuoka ) to
Kokura by " Nozomi " JR
Shinkansen 16 minutes,
by JR Hikari 17 minutes
From Kokura to Nobeoka
by JR Express " Nichirin "
234 minutes ( 3 H 54 minutes )

From Nobeoka to Takachiho
About 1 hour and 20 minutes by
by Takachiho Railway
 

高千穂の夜神楽

Yo-kagura
Funcion Nocturna de
O-kagura






 Takachiho-cho is the town where 15,500 people live among the gods and with the
  gods.   It is rich in'rich in natural beauty, cultural heritage,and folklore. In Autumn,
  after the rice harvest, when chilly fog creeps into the valleys and the whole area of  
  Takachiho will submerge under thick fog called " Unkai - Sea of foggy clouds ",  from
  the end of  November  until February, many private houses and  local meeting  halls
  in many   villages of Takachiho -cho will become mini-theaters of  O-kagura  
  ( or Kagura ).

  O-Kagura is the religous Shinto Dance and Music. According to a mythlogical legend
   described in the Chronicles " Kojiki " and " Nihon-shoki ", when the goddess of the
  sun Amaterasu Ômi-kami closeted herself in a rock cave shutting it with a heavy rock
  door,
making the whole world dark, godess Amenouzume-no-Mikoto danced
  humorous dances
accompanied with cheerful music. This performance tempted the
  Goddess of the Sun into opening a little the rock door. Then, the strong gods opened
  it wide.  This story is one of the favorite performances of O-Kagura.

   In the ancient times, in 18 village of Takachiho, there were 500 shrines, including 88
   important shrines. The O-Kagura dances and music were completed in the 10th
   century. They were staged only at the shrines by shintoist priests. In the second half
   of the Edo Period, however, the studies of  mythological chronicles, " Kokugaku "
    National Studies were promoted  by some scholars, and people became more
   familiar  with the Japanese myths. At the end of the Edo Period, O-Kagura came to
    be presented in the private houses by people who are not priests nor professional
    entertainers.

   Now, there is the Kagura Theater in Takachiho for tourists. The admission fee is
  ¥500.  Ther performances will be held at 8.00 - 9.00 PM. They will show 4 dances
   for one hour. The O-Kagura in Takachiho are called " Yo-kagura - Night Kagura "
   because they are shown at night.

   In case of the Yo-Kagura in private houses, the gods will be invited by the Shinto
   priest first to the houses  where Yo-kagura is presented. At 7-8 PM, performances
   of Yo-kagura begin.They continue 20-24 hours on end with only one short break.
   Thirty Three dances ( plays ) are presented. Its order and details differ from
   village to village. Each village has customs a little different from those in other
   villages. Although these performances are not for tourists, you can attend them
   as one-day-shintoist with some procedure. They were not exclusive people.
   You must respect their customs and observe them. You must become one-day
   child of the clan - Ujiko. In ancient times, each clan has as its shrine. " Child of
   the clan means " a child of  the god of the shrine of the local community.

   You must present as an offering to the god two or three shô of Syochû or money
   for about ¥3,000 in an envelope with " Go-shinzen - to the presence of the god "
   written. Shô is a quantity of Sake, 1.8 liters in a large bottle. Syochû are alcoholic
   beverage of Kyushu, made from rice, barley, sugar cane and sweet potato. The
   envelopes to contain money are sold at stationary stores or at large book stores.

   You must be aware that  people enjoy watching dances. But, the dances are
   religious  ceremonies. You must not step on the dancing place where only the priests
   and dancers can enter. At some houses, you may be entertained with Syochû and
   some food. They don't run, however, restaurants. You must carry with you some
   food and drink, because the performances last more than 20 hours. You had better
   carry a blanket with you, because in late autumn and in winter, it is cold in
  Takachiho with a temperature - 2 ° - 6 ° C, although the flat places are only 300 meters
   obove the sea level. The windows are taken down and the   houses are wide open so
  that people outside the houses can see performances.






猿田彦神社
二重破風( にじゅうはふ )
の妻入り造り 
( さだひこ ずくり )
( 伊勢市宇治蒲田町 )

Sarutahiko-jinjya Temple
( Uji, Ise city, Mie
Prefecture )




古代出雲神殿の平面図
金輪御造営差図
( かなわ ごぞうえいさしず )
Ground Plan of the
colossal Izumo Shrine
in the ancient times.




出雲巨大神殿の
心御柱

The huge three-piece central
pillar for the Colossal
Grand Izumo Shrine in
ancient times.




古代出雲の巨大神殿
The sky-scraping colossal shrine in the
ancient times in the province of Izumo



現在の出雲大社

Present Grand Izumo Shrine
Taisha-cho, Shimane Prefecture )




神々の国 − 出雲の宍道湖 ー 島根県 松江市
The breath-taking beauty of The Lake Shinji-ko
in the Land of the Gods
Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture



  This story deals with the Hevenly Descent of Ninigi no Mikoto until Kamu-Yamako-Iware-no
  -mikoto  started eastword, written basically according to the descriptions of the Chronicle
" Kojiki ", including some remarks to help our readers undersatand better the mythological story
   written in " Kojiki "





  Atsuta-jingû Shrine is the most prestigious Shinto Shrine next to the Inner
  and the Outer Shrines in the Ise sanctuaries. It was founded about 1900 years
  ago, when the Heavenly magical Sword " Kusanagi-no-tsurugi ", one of the
  Three Imperial Regalias - Sanshu-no-shingi - was enshrined by Miyasu-hime
  -no-mikoto, wife of of the imperial prince Yamato-takeru-no-mikoto during the
  reign of emperor Keikô.

  The imperial prince Yamato-takeru-no-mikoto had died at Nobono ( now in the
   Mie prefecture ) leaving the sword at Hikami ( now, in Nagoya city ).





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