Category Archives: pyramids

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 So we would like to introduce you to Yamanomiya.


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!



Sendai’s Taihakusan 太白山 Pyramid Mountain

DSC00587 first

Taihakusan 太白山   Taihakusan is Great White Mountain. We drove through the city of Sendai past the hilly Tohoku University campus to the other side. We glimpsed an odd shaped mountain and thought this must be the one.  Stopping at a nature area we found a billboard showing on its lower left the tongari-shaped mountain – an equilateral triangle in profile. So we headed in that direction.

DSC00589 billboard             DSC00603 sign


We drove westward, and started going up a yama. At first the slope was gentle and people were strolling with their dogs. Further up was a clearing in the woods with a large parking lot surrounded by many signs. Watch out for bears! Do not start forest fires!

We read on one of the signs that the mountain and shrine are named for 太白星 Taihaku-hoshi, Great White Star. What can it be? It could mean the planet Venus. The sign also says that at the top of the mountain is a stone shrine, 貴船 Kifune Jinja. What is its connection with the 生出森八幡神社 O-ide-mori Hachiman Jinja written on this sign?

We went under the torii up the path leading upwards to the shrine. We got part-way up as far as the (new) kagura-den. Some people came down, one of them dressed a mountain-practitioner dressed all in white with a head-covering. Scattered about as by a giant’s hand were many large boulders, not quite megaliths, some with right-angle surfaces, that were intriguing.

DSC00610 smlDSC00611 megallithsThe photos show our first view of Taihakusan, the conservation signboard showing Taihakusan in the corner, a closer view of the mountain, the sign about the Taihaku-hoshi, the torii, a shrine building, and some of the many boulders.

This post is related to the pyramid mountains listed at Iwaya-Iwakage,

Hida Koku 6. Jomon Pyramids and Rituals

Also, we had earlier posts,

Three Pyramid Mountains

Togariyama 尖山 Pyramid Mountain

Note: this post was prepared on July 3, 2016 but not published until now, April 24, 2022.


Togariyama 尖山 Pyramid Mountain

Toyama MapThis is one of a series of posts about pyramid mountains. Pyramid mountains are man-made mountains, or human-modified natural mountains. They have been modified or created for the purposes of benefit to human society and/or ritual reasons. They usually have flat tops for the holding of rituals and may have directional alignments with other sacred places or with seasonal solar sunrises and sunsets.

Togariyama.  尖山 ‘Togari’ means pointed. Togari is popularly pronounced Tongari. This mountain is in Toyama-ken. It has a steeply triangular profile but it has a flat top. We got to its foot and parked the car at the beginning of the trail. The mountain can be climbed in an hour, but we did not have the time for that.

Torii Rei, in his kami-gami book page 123, shows this map centered on Togariyama. The map says that the grave of Ninigi no Mikoto is here. Flowing into Toyama Bay is the Jinsu River from Gifu-ken. To its east is the Joganji River which flows near Togariyama.

Due east of Tongariyama is the very sacred Tateyama. It lies near the Nagano-ken border. Oyama Jinja is the shrine that venerates Tateyama. There are three shrine locations: the honsha at the peak, one shrine midway down, and a third shrine on the plains. It was the last which we stopped at to pay our respects to both mountains. Although this shrine is modest and charming, this site has been favored with visits from imperial personages over the centuries.

togariyamaHere is a photo of Tongariyama from The other photo is Mt. Tateyama (from a postcard).   Tateyama_0004

This post is related to the pyramid mountains listed at Iwaya-Iwakage,

Hida Koku 6. Jomon Pyramids and Rituals



Hida Koku and Birth of Hida Kuni Jomon Dynasty


Iwaya-Iwakage,our sister site, has just posted a series of articles that begins:

Birth of Hida Kuni Jomon Dynasty

The land of Hida, where the Kanayama Megaliths are located, may not be so well known historically as other parts of the country such as Kyoto and Nara. And yet its history stems from the Jomon Period, 12,000 BCE to 300 BCE. In the article presented below, the unnamed author declares that there are many folkloric sources that reveal the possibility that Hida was the  place where civilization began, ultimately leading to the modern nation of Japan.


Miyagi’s Hakokurayama 函倉山 Pyramid Mountain

dsc00564-closerIn October 2013 we had the chance to visit some pyramid mountains in Tohoku. Previously visited were Kuromanta yama in Akita/Aomori, Himurogatake in Kyoto-fu, Kuraiyama in Gifu-ken. This report is about Hakokurayama (Hako-kura-yama) 函倉山  and two other posts are on Taihakusan 太白山  in Sendai-shi, and Togariyama  尖山  in Toyama-ken. Our visiting Hakokurayama and Taihakusan was based in part on Yo Hamada’s Pyramid Mountains Hakokurayama. 函倉山

In another post, we discussed some of the alignments of Hakokurayama with the winter and summer solstice rising and setting sun.

From Sendai station by car, it took only 30 minutes to get to the Rikuzen-Shirasawa train station which we had read about. We started shooting pictures of the mountains that we could see from there, but we weren’t sure which was it. We guessed it would be the mountain to our right. We started driving around that mountain counter-clockwise past the school, and we knew we were close. We parked at the water pumping station. We walked around two sides of the mountain. There are a creek going around the mountain and several ponds. The pond in the photo below is very lovely. No doubt there are springs here.

If it is a square pyramid as this contour map indicates, … Wow! Note the flat top. There was a hatake and plants were growing well – pyramid energy! That there is so much water must be significant – it may be a water source. The station must be pumping water to Sendai-shi.



The Pyramids of Suzuki Akira

and Kuromanta by Suzuki Akira, 2006.

Suzuki claims that the following six mountains are pyramids in the manner of Kuromanta. His two criteria are having a sacred area on the mountain top, and having alignments to the solstice sunrises and sunsets.

1. Higashitaniyama (Aichi, Nagoya)

2. Miwa (Nara, Sakurai city)

3. Moyamoriyama (Akita, Lake Tazawa city)

4. Senganmori (Fukushima, Iino town)

5. Kasagiyama (Gifu, Ena city)

6. Han no Kiyama (Gifu, Yamaoka town)

The list in Japanese:








In Suzuki’s Kuromanta book, he describes other pyramids. In Sendai, Togamiyama was called Tongariyama (Togariyama). It is not a pyramid.

To the east of Togariyama i Hakokurayama [page 337]. Suzuki says it is a square pyramid, as is seen from a contour map. Although there is no shrine, the top is flat. It has a petrograph megalith facing the direction of the WSSR.

Hakokurayama itself is aligned with a petrograph megalith in the direction of the SSSR, and that megalith is facing the WSSR.

On top of Maeyama, there is a jinja from which one can see Hakokurayama in the direction of SSSS.

North of Hakokurayama is the 10,000 year old Nogawa Iseki ruins. It was built from the very hard stones from Mogamigawa in Yamagata-ken. Did the Yamagata Jomon build Hakokurayama?


Sakai’s List of Japanese Pyramids

Sakai Katsutoki published a book, The Pyramids of Japan, in 1934. Here is his list of 12 pyramid mountains.

  1.  葦嶽山/広島県     Ashitake Yama, Hiroshima
  2. 尖山/富山県     Togari yama, Toyama
  3. 位山/岐阜県     Kuraiyama, Gifu
  4. 五葉山/岩手県     Goyosan, Iwate
  5. 大石神/青森県     Oishigami, Aomori
  6. 黒又山/秋田県     Kuromanta yama, Akita
  7. 三瓶山/島根県     Sanbin yama, Shimane
  8. 剣山/徳島県     Tsurugi san, Tokushima
  9. 日室ガ嶽/京都府     Himurogatake, Kyoto fu
  10. 皆神山/長野県     Minakami yama, Nagano
  11. 千貫森/福島県     Sengan mori, Fukushima
  12. 八幡山/兵庫県     Hachiman yama, HyogoSakai pyramid map_0001

A Japanese pyramid is said to have three characteristics.

1.  It is triangular in profile. While Egyptian and Mayan pyramids have square bases, Japanese pyramids usually have a circular base although there are square ones as well.

2.  At the mountain peak are iwakura, rock seats where kami are said to descend. These are not only large stones, they are megaliths. They may be arranged in different ways. For example, some are menhirs, others are table-formed, others are stone circles.

3.  Since the iwakura are sacred, there is usually a worship location to pray to the kami of the mountain.

We believe that before there was Shinto, or even Koshinto, the spiritual practice of the ancient people was to connect with the universe on mountaintops. Later, when shrine building were erected, they were situated with certain alignments, east-west being a favored one. Also favored were solsticial alignments. At the latitudes of the archipelago, the directions would have been 30 degrees north and south of east.

Kuraiyama, Sacred Pyramid Mountain

Kuraiyama, 36 degrees N, 1529 m, is said to be a pyramid mountain. Moreover, it is claimed by the Takenouchi Documents as the site where extra-terrestrial ancestors touched down. Its name, crown, refers to its regal status in prehistoric annals. More exactly, ‘kurai’ means ranking, and this is the number one ranking. The ichi-i (again, number one) tree grows here. From the wood is made the mace of the emperor.

We have learned more about Kuraiyama since we began this post. See ‘Roots of Japan.’

Kuraiyama has been rudely treated by being partially denuded to accommodate a ski resort. However, it is said to still have a number of interesting megaliths on top. Click on the map to see it enlarged. Eerie stories have circulated about mysterious lights and even more mysterious strangers.

DSCN2281Kuraiyama DSCN2285DSCN0788DSCN0789 DSCN0790kuraiyama-map2

Here’s more about the megaliths. Megaliths were brought to the mountain by the leaders of the people of Hida. Generations of such leaders have been buried around these boulders. This accounts for why Kuraiyama is such a sacred mountain. Its shrine is the Minashi Jinja, q.v.