Tag Archives: Isanagi

Hokuriku: Nou Hakusan Jinja

2018-05-16 18.05.53 Nou Hakusan Jinja

Nou Hakusan Jinja

Benten Iwa 弁天岩

Benten iwa is an eye-catching small island immediately off-shore near the Nou Hakusan Jinja.  The two sites are geologically connected, having the same type of stone. Benten is short for Benzaiten, deity of water, originally the Hindu Saraswati. Made by the eruption of the submarine volcano of Fossa Magna 3 million years ago, Benten Iwa is one of the Geosites of Itoigawa Geopark. Itsukushima shrine to Benzaiten (Ichikishima-hime) as the guardian deity of the sea is on the island. The Itsukushima Shrine is considered a satellite shrine of Hakusan. The lighthouse continues to light the way for fishing boats coming back to the Nosei fishing port. There are large koinobori carp kites swimming in the strong wind over the Japan Sea. 2018-05-16 18.03.56 Benten Iwa

Benten Iwa

Nou Hakusan Jinja 能生白山神社

The Nou Hakusan Jinja is on the side of a small yama near Benten Iwa. In a sense, Benten Iwa is an extension of the mountain. Nou Hakusan is a Hakusan jinja in the Nou district. The honden was built in 1515, although it must have an older origin as a sacred place.  Nou Hakusan contains a number of relics of Hakusan Worship and is a bridge to the Nou Region’s ancient history. It is a Nationally Registered Important Cultural Property. The top photo shows the thatched roof of the prayer hall which resembles that of the Amatsu Jinja, shown earlier.

Kukurihime (Shirayamahime) was the earlier gosaishin. Shirayamahime is the guardian of Hakusan. During the Meiji period, her name was replaced by Nunokawa-hime’s. The current gosaishin are Nunakawahime 奴奈川姫命Isanagi no Mikoto  伊佐奈岐命 and  大己貴命 Oonamuchi no Mikoto. The kami trio of Shirayamahime (original gosaishin), Isanagi, and Oonamuchi are closely connected in the Hotsuma Tsutaye. Isanagi was the father of Amateru. When Amateru was born, Shirayamahime heard him speak his name, Uhirugi. That is how she received her Kukurihime name (she heard him). Amateru’s younger brother was Sosanowo, and Oonamuchi was Sosanowo’s son. 

Nou Hakusan Honden

While the dramatic building of the haiden faces the open grounds, the mysterious honden is in the woods behind the haiden. 

Akiha Jinja 秋葉神社

On the grounds of Nou Hakusan is a small shrine, the Akiha Jinja. The next post will show another Akiha Jinja in Itoigawa town.

Nou Hakusan Akiha Jinja

All photos by Okunomichi 2018.

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Awa Mystery

Hi-no-michi map

Hi-no-michi Map, Izanagi Jingu, May 2016

In our post on Woshite World, https://woshiteworld.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/894/we mentioned a mystery of an alignment of shrines that has been proposed at Isanagi Jingu on Awajishima, in Awaji-no-kuni. We first encountered it here, Onogoro and Kuni-umi Myth.  Then we received much information from Hitoshi Uchiyama. We are grateful to him for sharing the results of his research.

There is a theory that all the “Awa” place names are related in some way. For the sake of discussion, let us disregard the kanji rendering of “Awa.” There are several different kanji and they may be totally irrelevant to the reasoning of the story. We must remember that Awa is a word from Isanami/Isanagi times, long before kanji was introduced into the written language. That is to say, “Awa” would have been written in Woshite moji with the Woshite syllables for “A” and “Wa.” In hiragana, it is written  あわ.

Awaji.  We have noted that Isanagi Jingu on Awaji island has a monument with a map of shrine alignments called Hi-no-michi. Hi-no-michi means path of the sun. This shrine is ichinomiya of Awaji. Note that Awaji means road to Awa.

Awa-no-kuni.  There are two Awa-no-kuni we’ve mentioned so far. The original at Oumi from the time of Isanami and Isanagi. The other is Awa-no-kuni on Shikoku, adjacent to Awaji (now Tokushima, home of the popular awa-odori). There is a third Awa in today’s Chiba-ken. And there is an indirect connection between Kumano and Awa in Chiba through some place names in common, such as Shirahama and Katsu-ura. 

Awa in Hida.   Norikuradake, Mt. Norikura, in Hida was once called Awa-dake, Mt. Awa. And, at the border of Hida and Shinano kuni (now Nagano), there is Abo-toge Pass, written with kanji that can be read “Awa-toge.” This makes four places where Awa is found.

Miyazaki.   Now, let’s introduce the (possibly) unifying element, Jimmu Tenno. He bore the name Kamuyamato-Iwarehiko in the seventh century BCE, a sixth-generation descendant of Isanami and Isanagi. He unified the land of Yamato beginning from Miyazaku, Kyushu. The Miyazaki area was called Himuka or Hyuga.

Iwarehiko developed plantations in different areas. Fusa-no-kuni is in present Chiba-ken. During the campaign, Iwarehiko was also in Osaka and Kumano. The similarity of cultures can be noted among Hyugo/Miyazaki, Awa/Shikoku, Kumano (east coast of Kii), and Awa/Chiba. These are all places visited by Iwarebiko. One can surmise that he is possibly the unifying factor among them. A look at the southern coastlines of Honshu, Shikoku and the eastern part of Kyushu — all places where he has been — can be convincing.

Alignment Theory.   This reasoning has led some to believe that perhaps Iwarehiko is the one who initiated the alignment of shrines such as that on the Hi-no-Michi of Isanagi Jingu on Awajishima. The shrine’s GPS coordinates are 34.46, 134.85.

Shrines of the Hi-no-Michi Alignment.   There are four cardinal directions and four solsticial directions, centered at Isanagi Jingu. At latitude 35 degrees, the solstice directions are 30 degrees north and south of east and west. (At latitude 34.5, the solstice angles are less than 30 degrees.) This makes for the stunning geometry seen in the alignment map. The cardinal shrines are:

North:   Izushi Jinja  出石 神社 (ichinomiya of Tajima 但馬国 , Tamba-no-kuni)

East:   Ise Jingu 伊勢神宮 (内宮 Naigu)     

South:   Yuzuruha Jinja  諭鶴羽(ユズルハ), Awajishima

West:   Kaijin Jinja 海神 神社(かいじんじんじゃ), Tsushima

The solsticial shrines are:

SSR:   Suwa Taisha 諏訪大社 (ichinomiya of Shinano  信濃国一宮)

WSR:   Kumano Taisha  熊野大社

WSS:   Takachiho Jinja  高千穂神社, Ama-no-Iwato Jinja  天岩戸神社

SSS:   Izumo Taisha  出雲大社 (ichinomiya of Izumo), Hinomisaki Jinja  日御碕神社

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