Category Archives: Mountains

Hokura Shrine 保久良神社(ホクラジンジャ)and Katakamuna

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Katakamuna in Rokkosan

In about the year 1950, the Katakamuna scroll was seen in the mountains of Rokkō (六甲山 Rokkōsan) of Hyogo prefecture by Narasaki Kogetsu. During his engineering work on Kincho-san mountain in the Rokkosan range, Narasaki met a hunter named Hiratōji whose father he said was the “Guji of Katakamuna Shrine”. Hiratoji showed him the makimono scroll, the shintai (sacred object) of the shrine. The Katakamuna Shrine has never been found. However, there is a Hokura Shrine that some associate with Katakamuna.

What we call Katakamuna is connected with the Ashiya tribe, an ancient culture that was known to Taoists in Manchuria, according to Narasaki.

Look at the above map of the Rokko mountains with Ashiya to the southeast and Nishinomiya to the northeast. At Nishinomiya is the Hirota Jinja of Kanasaki Kami who raised Wakahime and is one of the enshrined kami, along with Amaterasu. Wakahime and Mukatsuhime, principal consort of the male Amateru/Amaterasu lived in the Rokko area during Wosite times. The Rokko mountains were originally named Mukoyama after Mukatsuhime. For more about Wakahime and Mukatsuhime, please see WoshiteWorld.

See our other posts on Rokkosan and on Katakamuna by using the Search box.

Reporting on MysterySpot blog

http://mysteryspot.org/report/hokura/hokura.htm

The MysterySpot blog reports on their visit to Hokura Shrine. After showing photos of the many megaliths on the shrine grounds, they propose that the megaliths are arranged in a spiral connected in some way to Katakamuna. This is our interpretation of the final sections of the above blog.

In 1949 or 1950, at Kinchozan, where the Hokura Shrine is located, 楢崎皐月 Narasaki Satsuki (aka Narasaki Kōgetsu) is shown a document called Katakamuna by an old man named Hiratōji at Katakamuna Shrine. The Katakamuna literature is written in iconographic characters consisting of geometric circles and straight lines arranged in spirals. 

Earlier, when Narasaki was stationed in Manchuria (in 1941 or so), he had heard from the priest Lu You San, about the 八鏡化美津文字(ハッキョウカミツモジ) (Hakkyo Kamitsu-moji) of the アシア(Ashia) tribe. So, later when he saw the Katakamuna documents, he thought it might be the characters of Katakamuna and succeeded in translating the documents.

By deciphering, Narasaki found that this Katakamuna document is a science book that describes the view of the universe by ancient people who built a high degree of civilization expressed in the form of poetry. Based on this, Narasaki is developing a unique discipline called 相似象学sōji zō-gaku “similarity pattern science”

It has astonishing contents such as atomic transmutation, principle of positive and negative superposition, uncertainty principle, limit saturation law, landscape engineering, medical method, farming method.

Excerpt from “Nihon no butsurigaku yokō”  Japanese Physics Proceedings by Narasaki Kōgetsu on MysterySpot blog:

Ama is a latent state in which the amount of space-time is degenerate, and it is the original state of Ma before the manifestation and activation of matter and life quality, to be correct, the latent state behind the objective. And it is infinite outside the universe. According to the intuition of the ancients, the universe that we have in concept is a finite universe (Takatama), and there are several universes (Takatama) in the unlimited Ama. In addition, infinite Ama is also an integrated latent state of differential infinite quantity Ame, and there are various latent pattern energy protectors (Nushi) who occupy the unlimited limit of Ama. This is called Ame-no-Minakanushi, and it is said that Ame-no-Minakanushi exists in the unlimited differential quantity.

For those who are interested in another ancient writing system, please visit WoshiteWorld.

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FOREST BATHING

If you have been out on a nature walk through woods, you will remember the relaxed and happy feeling for a long time. Forest bathing, or forest therapy, is a loose translation of the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku. Shinrin means forest, and yoku (equivalently abiru) means to bathe or bask in. In this case, one basks in the pleasant and healing atmosphere of a forest. The Japanese have known this for decades, centuries, or longer. It is only recently that it has become popular as scientific research has proven its effectiveness. 

Here are two of the many news articles on forest bathing.

https://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20190611/forest-bathing-nature-time-hot-health-advice

https://time.com/5259602/japanese-forest-bathing/

In the second article, a link to “phytoncides” explains:  

Some research suggests that when people are in nature, they inhale aromatic compounds from plants called phytoncides. These can increase their number of natural killer cells, a type of white blood cell that supports the immune system and is linked with a lower risk of cancer. These cells are also believed to be important in fighting infections and inflammation, a common marker of disease. https://time.com/4718318/spring-exercise-workout-outside/

Here is a long survey paper by the author of one of the first books on forest bathing, a medical doctor at Tokyo’s Nippon Medical School:  

Qing Li, “Effect of forest bathing trips on human immune function”.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793341/. Dr. Li’s popular book is Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, April 2018.

Quite a few books have appeared by other authors and they are easily found by a search on a book site. Also published in 2018 is the book by Professor Yoshifumi Miyazaki:

Shinrin Yoku: The Japanese Art of Forest Bathing by Yoshifumi Miyazaki in June 2018.

Prof. Miyazaki was among the first to study forest therapy. He is professor at Chiba University’s Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences. An online interview with Prof. Miyazaki tells how he started. https://www.nippon.com/en/people/e00140/miyazaki-yoshifumi-explores-the-healing-power-of-the-forest.html.

INTERVIEWER   What is shinrin-yoku?

MIYAZAKI YOSHIFUMI   It’s an activity where people relax by synchronizing, or harmonizing, with the forest. The term was coined in 1982 by Akiyama Tomohide, director of the Japan Forestry Agency. The agency wanted people to visit Japan’s forests and relax. It was a way to increase the value of these lands.

INTERVIEWER   How did scientific research into shinrin-yoku begin?

MIYAZAKI   I led the first experiments to study the effects of the practice on the island of Yakushima in 1990. At the time, I was 35 and had no research funds of my own, but I was approached by NHK, which funded the experiments as part of a TV program. A new technique had just been developed to detect the levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone, in saliva. We used that to measure stress and relaxation. “Forest therapy,” meanwhile, refers to shinrin-yoku backed by scientific data, and is a term that I coined myself in 2003.

These are some of Dr. Miyazaki’s earlier books in Japanese.

自然セラピーの科学 Shizen Serapii no Kagaku (Nature Therapy Science), October 2016

森林医学 Shinrin Igaku (Forest Medicine), June 2006, coauthor

森林浴はなぜ体にいいか Shinrin yoku wa naze karada ni iika (Why is Forest Bathing Good for the Body?), July 2003

Let us close with Dr. Miyazaki’s words:

MIYAZAKI   In Japan, various shinrin-yoku programs have been developed. These involve various activities: basic ones, such as slow walking and sitting, but also deep breathing, Nordic walking, embracing trees, yoga, meditation, stretching, and even picnics. There are also possibilities like night-sky viewing, cloud watching, playing in water, waterfall viewing, and enjoying music concerts in the forest.

Photos by Okunomichi

The idea of forest bathing is not far from the practice of nature-based Shinto. Okunomichi reported on an interview with Shinto priest and professor Minoru Sonoda. Dr. Sonoda has promoted sacred forests which are often found behind Shinto shrines as well as in wilderness areas. His description helps to explain why forest bathing reduces stress. It is no wonder that the recent forest bathing activity emerged out of the forests of Japan.

Dr. Sonoda is proactive in the chinju no mori sacred forest movement. What is chinju no moriMori means forest. Chinju is written 鎮守. The first character 鎮 is read as shizumeru, to calm the spirit; the second character 守 is mamoru which means to protect. Thus, we may say chinju no mori is a forest whose tranquility is protected. In other words, let’s protect the peace and serenity provided us by forests.

Revised 2019.09.30

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Science Comics: Trees: Kings of the Forest by Andy Hirsch

Science Comics: Trees: Kings of the Forest by Andy Hirsch, 2018.

This is an excellent addition to the Science Comics series, written for children 9-13, yet also suitable for adults as well. Andy Hirsch has done an outstanding job of explaining in easy-to-understand and entertaining comic format the detailed information contained in the book by Peter Wohlleben (which is cited as one of the references, and reviewed in our previous post).

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THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES by Peter Wohlleben

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate. Discoveries from a Secret World, 2016. 

Peter Wohlleben is a forester in Germany, where he runs an environmentally friendly woodland and works for the return of primeval forests. He is the author of numerous books about trees. The following are excerpts from this stunning book, stunning because of its revelations about the amazing abilities of trees to send messages to other trees, to provide food and other support to neighboring trees, develop smart defense mechanisms and to share them. It’s almost as if trees have minds and feelings!

As we know during this critical time of climate change, one of the most effective means of survival is through the enormous capabilities of trees and forests to sustain life on this planet. We must learn all we can about these abilities and harness them in sustainable ways for a healthy planet.

Excerpts

A tree is not a forest. On its own, a tree cannot establish a consistent local climate. It is at the mercy of wind and weather. But together, many trees create an ecosystem that moderates extremes of heat and cold, stores a great deal of water, and generates a great deal of humidity. And in this protected environment, trees can live to be very old. 

Every tree, therefore, is valuable to the community and worth keeping around for as long as possible. And that is why even sick individuals are supported and nourished until they recover. 

p 4

Trees, it turns out, have a completely different way of communicating: they use scent. … The acadia trees that were beig eaten gave off a warning gas that signaled to neighboring trees of the same species that a crisis was at hand. Right away, all the forewarned trees also pumped toxins into their leaves to prepare themselves.

pp 6-7

Trees don’t rely exclusively on dispersal in the air, for if they did, some neighbors would not get wind of the danger. Dr. Suzanne Simard of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver has discovered that they also warn each other using chemical signals sent through the fungal network around their root tips, which operate no matter what the weather. …

The fungal connections transmit signals from one tree to the next, helping the trees exchange news about insects, drought, and other dangers. Science has adopted a term first coined by the journal Nature for Dr. Simard’s discovery of the “wood wide web” pervading our forests.  [S.W. Simard et al, “Net Transfer of Carbon between Tree Species with Shared Ectomycorrhizal Fungi,” Nature 388 (1997): 579-82.

pp 9-11

A tree can only be as strong as the forest that surrounds it.

p 17

The forest is really a giant carbon dioxide vacuum that continually filters out and stores this component of the air.

p 93

If we want to use forests as a weapon in the fight against climate change, then we must allow them to grow old, which is exactly what large conservation groups are asking us to do.

p 98

Forest air is the epitome of healthy air. …The air truly is considerably cleaner under the trees, because the trees act as huge air filters. Their leaves and needles hang in a study breeze, catching large and small particles as they float by. 

p 221

Forests differ a great deal from one another depending on the species of trees they contain. Coniferous forests noticeably reduce the number of germs in the air, which feels particularly good to people who suffer from allergies. 

p 222

The real question is whether we help ourselves only to what we need from the forest ecosystem, and — analogous to our treatment of animals — whether we spare the trees unnecessary suffering when we do this. 

That means it is okay to use wood as long as trees are allowed to live in a way that is appropriate to their species. And that means that they should be allowed to fulfill their social needs, to grow in a true forest environment on undisturbed ground, and to pass their knowledge on to the next generation. And at least some of them should be allowed to grow old with dignity and finally die a natural death.

pp 242-243

We encourage you to learn about trees and forests by reading this book. Another book, in comic-book style for young and not-so-young readers, is discussed in our next post.

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Iizuna Jinja

First torii of Iizuna Jinja Oku no miya on Mt Iizuna

Mt Iizuna 飯縄山

Mt Iizuna straddles Nagano’s northern city of Nagano. 1,917m tall, it is one of Nagano’s Hokushingogaku Northern Five Peaks. Mount Iizuna​ is a mountain located ten kilometers north-northwest of the heart of Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture. Together with Mount Reisenji, Mount Menō, and others, it forms the Iizuna range. This mountain is a sacred site for mountain-based religious sects such as Shugendo.

About the name of Mt Iizuna 飯縄山. When Iizuna is written as 飯砂, the first character is cooked rice, and the second is sand. It refers to a complex of microorganisms such as fungi and algae found locally in Shinshu, “Tengu-no-mugi meshi” (Tengu boiled rice). In other words, people going into these mountains may have found some edible fungi.

GPS coordinates: Latitude: 36° 43′ 59.99″ N, Longitude: 138° 07′ 60.00″ E

Iizuna Jinja

Iizuna Shrine History. This shrine dates to 270 CE, 15th year of Ōjin emperor. It enshrined Tenjin ōdomichi mikoto on the summit of the mountain, and it was originally called īnawa Daimyōjin. 

Satomiya 里宮 of Iizuna Jinja. The Satomiya of Iizuna Shrine is 10km south of Okumiya. The village shrine of Iizuna Jinja is reported on by Genbu who says, although the shrine’s kami is Ukemoti, it is really Inari Kami. Genbu further describes Ukemoti as a kami of food in general, and is the Inari kami in the many Inari shrines around the country. The Inari shrines are readily identified by the pair of guardian foxes which protect the rice crop.

奧宮 Okumiya of Iizuna Jinja. The inner shrine of Iizuna Jinja is located at the top of Mt Iizuna. From here you can see Mt. Fuji and Mt. Asanami 浅聞山 in the southeastern part, Togakushi mountain peaks, Otozuma-yama 乙妻 and Nishidake in the northwest, other mountains of Shinshu in the north, mountains in the Hida Japan Alps in the southwest, literally 360 degrees. 

Seeking Iizuna Jinja. We were recommended to visit Iizuna Jinja since we would be at Mt Togakushi and Mt Iizuna would be nearby. We were already embarked on our journey when the cryptic message came in: Iizuna shrine may be the origin of the Inari shrine system. We had no time to do preliminary research, so after visiting Togakushi Jinja, we started to look for Iizuna Jinja.

Our navigation system took us to a paved parking lot in the forest on the slopes of Mt Iizuna. Right in front of us stood a torii and beyond it was a narrow trail over exposed tree roots. A foray up the trail led to a second torii but the rest of the way was obscured. This was the trail to the okumiya which we never reached, and we almost got lost on the way back.

We tried two other Iizuna sites but they were in non-descript locations (that offered no clue as to a nearby shrine) and yielded nothing. Later, our friend confessed to being taken to sha at these three locations  by a local resident. Unfortunately, we did not have a knowledgable guide. However, we did have an adventure on the mountainside of Mt Iizuna before departing Nagano!

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SHINANO: Where Earth and Spirit Meet

Shinano

2019 May found us on a field trip to the Kanayama Megaliths in Hida (Gifu Prefecture). After, we visited the adjacent former province of Shinano, now known as Nagano Prefecture. We had several reasons for our visit. We wanted to see the other, Eastern, side of the Hida mountains which border Hida and Shinano, and which form the Northern Japanese Alps. There is a map of provinces in time of Ieyasu. The map above is cropped from the insert and it shows Hida and Shinano separated by the Hida mountain range. We are interested in the watershed river systems and the cool lakes. We wanted to pray at Shinano’s ancient shrines, which were sacred places before they formally became shrine sites. And we had heard about the museum which houses the Jomon Venus and the Masked Goddess clay figures unearthed from the Jomon Period thousands of years ago. Although the two prefectures are adjacent on a map, they are not easily crossed from one to the other because of the mountains which separate them. For example, it takes five hours to travel from Hida Kanayama to Nagano City by limited-express train via Nagoya (348 km), compared with only 95 min from Tokyo (222 km) via Shinkansen. Below is the route from Nagano station to Kyoto station.

Nagano – Kyoto route by Google Maps

Japanese Alps

The Japanese Alps run through the center of the main Japanese island of Honshu. They are comprised of the mountain rainges:

Northern Alps: the Hida Mountains (飛騨山脈 Hida Sanmyaku), containing such important mountains as Ontake ( 3,067 m), Norikuradake (3,026 m), and Tateyama (3,015 m).

Central Alps: the Kiso Mountains (木曽山脈 Kiso Sanmyaku), including Mt Ena (2,191 m).

Southern Alps: the Akaishi Mountains (赤石山脈 Akaishi Sanmyaku).

Map centered on Lake Suwa in Nagano prefecture, shows the mountain ranges in shades of red. From Japan Atlas, A Bilingual Guide, Kodansha International, pp 20-21. Hida range NW of Suwa, Akaishi SE, and Kiso range between.

View of Mt Ontake from N36.03, E 138.05, Alt 815 m

We wanted to see Mt Ontake 御嶽山, Ontake-san, which straddles Gifu and Nagano prefectures. The elevation of this mountain is 3,067 m, the second highest volcano after Mt. Fuji. Indeed, this mountain is partly the reason why the prefectures are divided this way along the mountain ridges. The peak of Ontake could be seen from the lookout at a michinoeki, a good place to stop for lunch of the local kamameshi steamed mixed rice (1080 yen).

Mt Ontake, 3,067 m

Kiso River System 木曽川流域

The Kiso River (木曽川, Kisogawa) is 229 km long, flowing through 長野県 Nagano, 岐阜県 Gifu, 愛知県 Aichi, and 三重県 Mie prefectures into Ise Bay. The source of its waters is Mt Hachimori (2,191 m) in Nagano prefecture. It is the main river of the Kiso Three Rivers together with the Ibi-gawa and Nagara-gawa. The source of the Ibi is Mt Kanmuri in Gifu, and that of the Nagara is Gujo, also in Gifu. In our post at Yamanomiya, we showed the whirlpool in the Kiso-gawa at Kawakami Jinja in Yaotsu town in Minokamo. The Kiso River basin (including Shiga prefecture) is 9,1000 square km, the fifth largest in Japan.

Kiso River, viewed facing west at Michinoeki
Kiso River System. The Kiso River (blue line) flows through Nagano (upper right), Gifu (yellow), Aichi (lower right) and Mie (lower left) before pouring into Ise Bay.

Kisokoma Highlands  N 36.85, E 137.76, Alt 1036 m

Mt Komagatake ( 2,956m)

We started our visit at the Kisofukushima station in the southern part of Nagano. Kisofukushima is well-known through Hiroshige’s woodblock print, Fukushima-juku, in the series Sixty-nine Stations of Kiso Road, the Kisoji. The seventeenth century daimyo took this scenic road to Edo, the capital.

We learned that this region is called Shinshuu, in the highlands of Kisokoma . The name 木曽駒高原 Kisokoma Kougen is a composite of 木曽 for Kiso River, 駒 for Komagatake Mountain, and kougen 高原mountain pass. In case you’re wondering about the word 駒 koma which means small horse, the Kiso uma are famous. The tall mountains were still capped with snow in late May. Yet here at the Morino Hotel on the slopes at 1,000 m altitude it was a warm spring day with many wildflowers and green all around. It was hard to believe we were less than a half hour away from the station. Dinner was a gourmet treat of trout, tempura, chawan mushi, artisan tofu, misoshiru, and the tender Shinshuu gyu beef with hoba miso on a tabletop grill. We added a clear Kisoji sake. Dessert was a light raspberry-mango cream cheese. We would head out the following morning. We next present a series of reports on the places we visited.

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Hokuriku Coast and Basho

Oyashirazu

Northern Alps drop into

the Sea of Japan.

Photo and verse by Okunomichi (c) 2018.

Hokuriku

Along the Sea of Japan, Hokuriku, which means Northlands region, is known for its heavy winter snows. Historically it includes the Koshi and Hokurikudo provinces and the Noto Peninsula. Current prefectures include Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, and Fukui. This series of posts is about a visit to Niigata and Toyama in May 2018. There are vistas of breathtaking beauty and power, and there are sacred shrines which grew organically out of this primordial region. There is a lot of unknown cultural history over the last ten thousand years, along with well-understood scientific history extending over 500 million years.

Oyashirazu

The cliffs at which the Northern Japanese Alps fall into the Sea of Japan were the product of terrestrial volcanic activity occurring about 100 million years ago. The ancient Hokuriku Road was wedged in a small space between these cliffs and the sea, making for a perilous journey, especially when the waves would surge. Large pockets and caves eroded into the wall where travelers would take refuge from the stormy seas still remain on the face of these cliffs.    

Oyashirazu    ko wa kono ura no    namimakura

koshiji no iso no    awa to kieyuku

Taira-no-Yorimori was a general of the once powerful Taira clan which was defeated by their rivals, the Minamoto clan, in the late 12th century. After their defeat, Yorimori fled to what is now Niigata prefecture. Following after him, his wife crossed Oyashirazu where she lost their child to the raging seas. In her sorrow she wrote this poem, which lends the cliffs their name.

Without his parent knowing,

my child, in this shore’s waves along the Koshiji road,

vanishes in the foam.

The above passages are from the Itoigawa Geopark’s extensive website. Itoigawa is home to the Itoigawa Geopark and the Fossa Magna Museum.  At the Oyashirazu lookout is this statue of a mother and two children, a memorial to all the children who were lost here. All photos are by Okunomichi © 2018.    

IMG_2866

Oku no Hosomichi

Matsuo Basho, traveled through the northern country in 1689 with his student Sora. After visiting Kasawaski, they stopped one night in Ichiburi near the Oyashirazu cliffs. At the inn, there were two ladies of leisure. Basho, perhaps mulling over the life and death pathos in the above Oyashirazu waka by Yorimori’s wife, wrote the haiku,

一家に遊女もねたり萩と月

hitotsuya ni    juujo mo netari    hagi to tsuki

In the same lodging

Play-girls too are sleeping —

Bush clover and moon.

(tr. by Christine Murasaki Millet, 1997)

This seemingly straight-forward haiku has overtones of contrasting themes: playgirls/monks, women/men, bush clover/moon, impermanence/permanence.

Poetic Monument of Matsuo Basho

At Choenji Temple, a stone monument commemorates Basho’s visit and haiku.

2018-05-18 10.03.18 Choenji

Choenji Temple 2018

 

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Togariyama, Toyama’s Pyramid Mountain

Pyramid mountains have been described in various places, including our own sister site, Yamanomiya.wordpress.com. Several authors have provided lists of pyramid mountains, such as Kosaka ,  Sakai ,  and Suzuki . Togariyama in Toyama is listed, and has been reported on here.

This year, in May of 2018, we went seeking to photograph Togariyama. According to our map, this 559 m tall mountain is in a mountainous area, and we drove around and around. We caught a glimpse of it, then lost it as we rounded the next curve, and on and on.  It was certainly elusive and it seemed to be just one of the natural mountains.

However, the photo below shows how it stands alone with beautiful symmetry and a distinctly flat top. Jomon people leveled tops of mountains to make space for holding rituals. Togariyama is said to have a stone circle on top of it. After returning to our computer and examining a Google map of the terrain, it was clear that Togariyama is truly remarkable. It has a round base and differs geometrically from the surrounding mountains. This makes us wonder if indeed this is an artificial mountain.

2018-05-18 13.17.53 Tongariyama last

What do you think?

Here are additional photos from our Togariyama album.

2018-05-18 13.02.01 2nd

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Tateyama, Sacred Mountain

Furthermore, due east of Togariyama (36.6 N, 137.3 E) is sacred mountain Tateyama (36.6 N, 137.6 E) of the Hida mountain range (Northern Alps). Could Togariyama have been constructed as a ritual site from which participants celebrated the equinox sun rising over Tateyama?

Tateyama poster

Tateyama, from a poster

Tateyama in the Hida mountain range, at 3,015 m is the tallest mountain in Toyama-ken. It is one of the 100 Famous Japanese Mountains, as well as one of Japan’s Three Holy Mountains (Mt Fuji, Mt Hakusan, and Mt Tateyama). According to Torii Rei, Tateyama is goshintai of Kurakine, brother of Isanagi, and Toyama is the sanctuary of Japan.

 

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Yamanomoya – Mountains and Shrines of Mystery

As part of the research program on Ancient Japan, Okunomichi has paid a lot of attention to the jinja shrines and their kami that played a role in Hinomoto which led to modern Japan. Many shrines have been mentioned in ancient texts and by other researchers. For that reason, Okunomichi has been actually going to the mountains and visiting these historical jinja.

Now, Okunomichi is moving its posts on jinja and pyramid mountains to https://yamanomiya.wordpress.com/. So we would like to introduce you to Yamanomiya.

Jinja

The shrines described by Yamanomiya are connected historically to ancient documents in the Woshite literature (namely, the Hotsuma Tsutae). And to the kami that are prominent in that literature: Toyoke/Toyouke O-kami, Isanami-O-kami, Isanagi O-kami, Amateru-kami, Seoritsuhime, Shirayamahime, and others.

At Yamanomiya, there are a series of posts on the Moto-Ise shrines. These are the shrines where the kami of the current Ise Jingu Naiku and Geku — Amateru and Toyouke, respectively — were honored that were located, in Tamba no Kuni (in current Kyoto-fu), previous to Ise in the Kii peninsula. Legend says that it was Yamatohime who traveled from place to place until finally settling the enshrinements of Amateru Amakami and his grandfather Toyoke-Okami in Ise. This was long before the Ise shrines were adopted by the Imperial Family, even before there was even such a family.

Pyramid mountains

Yamanomiya also reports on the many pyramid mountains in Japan. In particular, you will find lists of pyramid mountains claimed by researchers Sakai, Kosaka, and Suzuki, Pyramid mountains were built thousands of years ago out of natural hills by human hands. They were made for ritual and societal purposes. They were usually flattened on top so that sacred ceremonies could be held, and today there are still shrines there.

Pyramids stabilized the land during earthquakes. They sent energy down to the land below to improve the productivity of farming. Pyramids and shrines were situated in very special geometrical and astronomical layouts. Frequently the lines connecting them pointed to the summer or winter solstice sunrises and sunsets.

And of course, the mountains of interest are considered especially sacred to kami, whether they are man-made or natural.

Let’s explore mountains and shrines with Yamanomiya!

 

 

Rokkosan:  Mukoyama and Mukatsuhime

The modern city of Kobe lies between the Rokkosan 六甲山 mountains and the sea. In a previous post, we wrote about the megaliths of Rokkosan. These mountains are the locale of a fascinating story with both historical and linguistic interest.

Hotsuma History.  During the times of Amateru Amakami in the Hotsuma Tsutae document, the mountains were known as Mukoyama, and the peak as Mukatsu-mine. The land of Muko was the domain of the Kanasaki family. When Isanami and Isanagi were unable to keep their first-born daughter Hiruko, they sent her to Kanasaki for fostering. There, Hiruko was lovingly raised and taught the art of waka poetry. Hiruko became so skilled with the kototama word power of waka that she became known as Wakahime. The area of Muko is called Hirota, perhaps because of her fostering. For his kindness, Kanasaki is known as Sumiyoshi Kami.

Wakahime was the elder sister of Amateru. Amateru led his people for many long years. When he felt his life’s end nearing, he sent his beloved wife Seoritsuhime to Hirota. There, she peacefully passed her remaining years in these mountains until “her spirit ascended.”

Linguistic Changes.  Seoritsuhime is Mukatsuhime. The latter name appears in several places. In the Takenouchi Documents, it is アマサカリ ヒニ ムカイツ ヒメ ノミヒカリ アマツ ヒツギ アメノ スメラミコトAmasakari hini mukaitsu hime no mihikari amatsu hitsugi ame no sumera mikoto. The principal deity of Hirota Jinja is the aramitama wrathful spirit of Amateru Ookami, named ツキサカキ イツノ ミタマ アマサカル ムカツヒメ ノ ミコトTsukisakaki-itsuno mitama amasakaru mukatsuhime no mikoto.

How did Mukoyama change its name to Rokkosan? Please keep in mind that Woshite, the language of Hotsuma, was syllabic when spoken and when written in Woshite moji characters. Much later, Woshite writing fell out of use and was replaced by the kanji imported from China. The name Mukoyama 六甲山 when written in kanji  can be read, Sino-wise, as Rokkosan.

Jinja Shrines.  These shrines all have Mukatsuhime as their enshrined kami.

Hirota Jinja 広田神社 is located in Nishinomiya adjacent to Kobe. hirota-jinja_nishinomiya05n3200While it enshrines the aramitama of Amateru-kami, Mukatsuhime, it also honors Sumiyoshi-kami whom we know as Kanasaki.

Rokkohime Jinja 六甲比命神社 = Mukatsuhime Jinja.  This shrine is on the mountain. Its deity is Benzaiten. [Wikipedia: Benzaiten is the goddess of everything that flows: water, time, words, speech, eloquence, music and by extension, knowledge.]  Many believe that she is a later Buddhist version of Mukatsuhime.

Mukatsu Jinja (Ishi-no-houden) is a sessha sub-shrine of Hirota Jinja so that naturally, its gosaishin is Mukatsuhime.

Mukoyama Jinja 六甲山神社 is also a sessha with gosaishin Mukatsuhime.

mukoyamajinja

Rokkohime Daizen Jinja 六甲比命大善神社 (ろっこうひめだいぜんじんじゃ) = Mukohime Jinja 六甲比女(むこひめ)神社. Benzaiten is worshipped there. There is a huge iwakura goshintai on which is carved the Buddhist Heart Sutra. Some say that Mukatsuhime’s tomb is here, and the Sutra is in her memory. This shrine is the okunoin of Tamonji Temple in Kobe which forms a line  between the temple and the shrine to the summer solstice setting sun.

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Photos are from Japanese Wikipedia.

Sources include

http://mysteryspot.main.jp/mysteryspot/rotukou3/rotukou3.htm

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