Friday, January 9, 2009

Honmyozan Konpira Shrine, Arifuku

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Honmyozan is a 412 meter high mountain behind Arifukuonsen. On top of the mountain is the Konpira Shrine. This is the shrine featured in my hatsuhinode post. Mountaintop shrines are a development of medieval Japan. In ancient Japan the tops of mountains were reserved for the gods to alight upon, and shrines were placed at the base of mountains. It's not uncommon to find Konpira shrines on mountaintops. Atago are other shrines that are commonly found on mountaintops.

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The head Konpira Shrine is on the island of Shikoku, and while Konpira is known particularly as a sea journey protection kami, its widespread popularity owes more to its nature as a kami who answered all prayers, and so, like most kami, there are many different aspects to Konpira.

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The shrine was built by the Amago Clan who ruled this area of Japan until defeated by the Mori Clan. The Amago had a small fort on the mountain top. Actually the shrine is just a small hokora (wayside shrine) that has had a protective building built around and over it.

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The shrine has no priest or festival, but is opened by the Ujiko (parishioners group) on New Years day to sell amulets and talismans.

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Honmyozan is the highest mountain in the vicinity, and so has expansive views up and down the coast and inland.

Index of Shrines

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