Category Archives: Kyoto Fu

Toyouke Ōkami



Toyoke-sama.  Our beloved Toyoke-sama is also known as Toyoke Kami and Toyouke Ōkami 豊受大神. Toyoke-sama was arguably the greatest kami of Hotsuma. He is remembered as the father of Isanami and grandfather of Amateru. Amateru came to study with him when he was sixteen. Toyoke-sama imparted to the future Amakami of Yamato the wisdom of the ancestors known as the To-no-Wosite teachings of the Ame-naru Michi, the Way of Universe. 

The teaching is for all, and especially for leaders of society, to embody high principles of human behavior: honesty, integrity, and caring for the welfare of others.

Hutakami.  Toyoke’s daughter Hisako became Isanami, spouse of Isanagi. The couple are known as Hutakami (Futakami), the kami couple of myth and legend. The Hutakami went throughout the land of Hinomoto teaching the Awa no Uta, the Song of Universe, containing all 48 of the syllables of Wosite language, promoting speech for improved communication and cooperation as well as for promoting good health and vitality.

Takamimusubi.  Toyoke was descended from Ta-no-Kunisatsuchi. Toyoke’s imina birth name was Tamakine. This means he was a man of tama spirit. We notice the many local words beginning with Ta. Tamakine became the fifth Takamimusubi in Hitakami which we now call Tohoku. Hi-taka-mi means to see the sun high in the sky. A remnant of Hitakami remains in the name of the major Tohoku river, Kitakami-gawa, whose old name was indeed Hitakami-gawa.

Taga.  The center of Hitakami was at Tagajo (Taka-jo), east of current Sendai. You can get there after a short train ride. You will be shown the remains of a former government center. There is still a large stone inscribed in more recent times, called the Keta-tsubo. On this rise may have been located the Yamate-miya of Toyoke. Nearby are several shrines named Taga Jinja. One of these, we believe, is the original shrine of Toyoke. This shrine spun off the Taga Taisha in Ōmi (now Shiga-ken). Why Ōmi? Ōmi was the center of Yamato under the care of Isanami and Isanagi.

We visited Taga Taisha. It is a large shrine that hosts a million devotees on New Year’s Hatsumode. By looking for the oldest part of the keidai precincts, we found Toyoke’s hokora next to Amateru’s.

Tanba.  Toyoke lived to a ripe age. When he was quite along in years, there was a disturbance in the region we call Kyotango in Kyoto-fu near the Japan Sea. Amateru asked Toyoke-sama to manage the situation from a base in Miyazu. Toyoke-sama transferred from Hitakami to Tanba and all went well and the people prospered. Toyoke-sama taught how to raise the five grains such as rice, wheat, and beans, and also how to raise silkworms for weaving.

When Toyoke-sama felt his lifeforce dwindling, he called for a tomb to be dug in the mountain of Kujigatake. He would prepare for his last breath. When Amateru heard about his grandfather, he rushed to his side. He entered Toyoke’s tomb and received the final teaching. Thus Amateru was initiated into the high level of wisdom. Then Amateru was sent out and the tomb sealed. The people were in such grief that Amateru stayed for a while to comfort them.

Toyoke’s tomb is said to be on Mt. Kujigatake (Kushi-gatake, also called Manai-gatake) where there is a manai spring. At the foot of Kujigatake is a shrine called Hinumanai Jinja. Toyoke Ōkami is the revered deity. The monument shown above mentions Five Grains. It is said that half-way up the mountain is an altar rock for the offering of five grains and other foods.

When Amateru himself came to the end of his life, he had a tomb built nearby. Amateru’s trusted friend, Sarutahiko, was the last to see Amateru in his tomb.

Futomani.  Toyoke-sama is the author of the Futomani Motoake chart which was employed as an aid for teaching cosmology and as a guide for decision-making. Amateru complemented the Futomani by selecting its 128 waka. We wouldn’t be surprised if Toyoke-sama also organized the Wosite syllabary into the neat, logical system that it is.


Motoake chart from Julian-Way

Another grandson of Toyoke-sama also attended the lessons with Amateru, and he became Takagi, the seventh Takamimusubi.

ukesuteme     ne no kuni ni kite     tamakine ni …

Ukesuteme came to Ne no kuni to see Tamakine …   from Hotsuma Tsutae Aya 15

Another Kunisatsuchi, Ta’s brother, Ka-no-Kunisatsuchi, had gone to China, and he had a descendant named Ukesuteme. Ukesuteme came to Hitakami to study with Toyoke accompanied by the sister of Isanagi from the land of Ne. Shirayama-hime (Kokori-hime) and Ukesuteme both excelled in acquiring the wisdom of To.

ukesuteme korohin kimi to      tinami ai

After Ukesuteme returned to the Korohin mountains and married the ruler of Akagata, they had a son. Consequently, admired for her wisdom as for her nurturing, she became known as Nishi no Haha, Mother of the West. In China, the Mother of the West has the name Xi Wangu. She is one of the Seven Immortals. In Taoist paintings she holds the Peach of Immortality in her hand. In the Wosite literature, it is written that she received peach branches from Toyoke-sama to plant in Korohin.

Alternate identities.  Another name for the kami of food is Ukanomitama. And Toyouke’s most popular identity is Inari, the kami of the rice fields. The Inari shrines are the most plentiful in Japan, grounded in folk religion. Inari devotees may not realize the connection with the sage of Hitakami.

Toyouke at Ise and Moto-Ise Shrines:  Probably due to Toyouke’s reknown as provider of Five Grains and foodstuffs, his name has morphed into the female Toyouke-hime no kami at the Geku Outer Shrine of Ise Jingu. And yet, the chigi of the honden is cut vertically in male sotosogi fashion! As it is at the Moto-Ise shrines Hinumanai Jinja and Manai Jinja Okumiya of Kono Jinja (below).


Remembering Toyoke-sama

Let us remember Toyoke-sama who served the people of Hinomoto during their critical developmental period. Toyoke-sama, the great sage, set society’s tone of compassion based on a deep connection with Universe  And in remembering Tamakine Toyoke-sama, we do not forget our own tama nature.

Note:  This has been cross-posted from




Toyoke, Fifth Takamimusubi

During the time of the 6th Amakami Omotaru [Amakami is the ruler of Hotsuma], the weather changed and there was not much food. Toyoke was born in the family of the Takamimusubi, the ruling family of Hitakami in what is now called Tohoku. He was named Tamakine.

Toyoke governed Hitakami as the 5th Takamimusubi. He organized ceremonies for kami so that people could pray together in the same manner. He made the Futomani Motoake chart.

Toyoke was successful in increasing food production for his people. He was called Higashi-no-kimi, King of the East, and also Hotsuma-kimi. The people bestowed upon him the name Toyoke, or Toyouke. Here, ‘toyo’ means abundant, ‘u’ means greatness, and ‘ke’ is food.

Since the 6th Amakami Omotaru had no children, Toyoke resolved to find a solution. He asked his daughter Isako to marry Takahito and they would serve as the 7th Amakami. Takahito was the eldest son of Awanagi, ruler of Ne-no-kuni. This was the area known today as Hokuriku at the Sea of Japan and including Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures.

The couple became the 7th Amakami, Isanami and Isanagi. For a long while they had no children, and Toyoke was concerned that there would be no heir to rule Hotsuma. By his earnest praying a prince was born. This child became the 8th Amakami, Amateru.

Toyoke taught the young Amateru together with another grandson, Furimaro, in the Yamate Palace at Tagajo. The latter became Takagi, the 7th Takamimusubi, after his father Yasokine / Kanmimusubi.

Toyoke excelled at government, engineering, and education. He taught about horseback riding, obstetrics, metalwork, and yuki-no-michi.

Late in age, Toyoke was asked by Amateru to govern the San-in region, so he relocated to Miyazu in Tango (now Kyoto-Fu). When Toyoke knew he was about to die, he had a hokora tomb dug in the Kujigatake mountain of Mineyama-cho, 20 km northwest of Miyazu. He entered the tomb while still alive – this is called Toyoke-nori. He is deified at the Hinumanai Jinja at the foot of Kujigatake. Amateru, later, was also entombed at Kujigatake.

Note:  As Ikeda exclaims, Toyoke cannot be compared with anyone else. This is exemplified by Toyoke creating the Futomani chart to teach the Way. That is why we are devoting many posts to the life and teachings of Toyoke. We have also visited his shrines in Hitakami, Omi, and San-in, as well as the Geku of Ise Jingu and the Moto-Ise shrines of Tanba.

This is an edited excerpt from the encyclopedia of Ikeda Mitsuru, 1999, 308pp.