Maruyama Jinja and Funa-iwa 丸山神社 鮒岩

Maruyama Jinja 丸山神社 is a very unusual shrine. It is located in Nakatsugawa City, Gifu, in a flat plain of villages and farms. Maruyama is more of a hill than a mountain, and rises abruptly from the plain, like a bowl turned upside-down on a table. Its name, round, indicates its shape. Some say it is an artificial mound.

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Even more unusual are the many boulders of megalith size on this hill. The most astounding one is a twenty-ton stone fish. The name of the megalith, Funa, means carracius carp, although it looks more like a whale because the eye is set low in the head. The broadside of the carp/whale faces south. One of the megaliths on top has a split pointing due north.


There is a torii at the bottom of the hill, and a kaidan going up. You can also follow a string of small red torii similar to those at the famous Fushimi Inari Jingu in Kyoto. At the top, there is the worship hall but there is no guji on the premises. You can walk amongst the many boulders, and make your way to the tail of the fish. There are cupules carved into the tail. One archaeologist says they represent the Big Dipper constellation.

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