Tag Archives: pyramid mountain

Sendai’s Taihakusan 太白山 Pyramid Mountain

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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

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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.

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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 http://web-fron.sakura.ne.jp/p/toyama/togariyama/index.html. 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

 

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Kuromanta Yama

Kuromanta coverThis book is by Suzuki Akira.

Kuromanta Yama is a man-made pyramid of seven layers built around four thousand years ago in Akita Ken.  The name ‘Kuramanta’ is not a Japanese word. It is probably from the Jomon. We visited in October 2010. . The pyramid shape was created by Jomon people who started with a natural hill, made seven layers, and then smoothed the sides. This was reported by a university team using x-ray techniques. The forest cover makes it look like a natural yama except for its symmetry. As we can see, the pyramid rises abruptly from the farmland plain.

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The Motomiya Shrine crowns Kuromanta. Although ‘Motomiya’ was named after someone a thousand years ago, intriguingly enough it means ‘original shrine.’ It is said that there has been a shrine at the peak since ancient days. The peak is actually a flat area, as the photo below shows.

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The torii announcing the entrance and path to Motomiya Jinja.

The shrine at the top appears as we climb the forested mountain. The shrine building is a simple wooden structure.

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Kuromanta map

Here is a map from the book. What we need is the location of Kuromanta. The closest we have found is that of Oyu stone circles nearby, 40.3N 140.8 E. Here, the solstice angle is 31.6 degrees.

You will first note that the cardinal directions are shifted by five degrees; the dark lines are the cardinal directions of the Jomon. This is due to their age of 4,100 years ago. Due to precession, the North Star at the time was Ryu-za alpha, Alpha Draconis (Thuban) in the constellation Draco the Dragon. Kuromanta pyramid mountain is at the center of the map. To its southwest is the location of the Oyu Stone Circles indicated by a dot in a circle. There are jinja to the east and west of Kuromanta. We saw the shrine to the east and it was rather unremarkable; no one living near it could say who the enshrined kami is (currently there is a ceramic state of a Bodhisattva). Then therere is the Kusaki Jinja to the south and the Kuromori-yama (Black Forest Mountain) up north – their north.

Note also the many other alignments the author has found – some of them are in directions of the solstice sunrises and sunsets. There are five lines leading to Inu-Hoeru-Mori (Barking Dog Forest). We wanted to go there but we could find no roads to take us. Wouldn’t you be curious too?

Another thing we’ve noticed is the heights of the mountains in this region. Kuromanta is not so tall at 280 m, There are taller mountains to the north (549m) and two to the east (768m and 646m), the 646m one being the Barking Dog Forest. There is also to the northeast, the White Mountain at 429m. in the northwest another pyramid mountain is indicated, at height 332m.

Aomori Ken lies at the northern end of Honshu.    Map_of_Japan_with_highlight_on_02_Aomori_prefecture.svg