Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Three Lights Shrine

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This is not a mosque, but a shrine. The symbol is of the three kami enshrined at Mihashinoyama Shrine on Sangaisan, at 378 metres the highest mountain overlooking Hamada.

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The three kami are Amaterasu, represented as the sun, Tsukiyomi, the kami of the moon, and Susano represented as a star,.... the three lights.

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There are actually 3 shrines on the mountaintop, lower, middle, and upper. The middle shrine, shown above, contains the main buildings, and is in the style of the meiji era, so I suspect that the attribution of the 3 kami occurred at that time. Prior to that the 3 kami were known as Gongen, buddhist manifestations of Japanese kami.

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The most common version of the story of the creation of the 3 kami is from the Kojiki, when Izanagi fled from visiting his dead wife, Izanami, in the underworld, Yomi. While ritually purifying himself in a stream, Amaterasu, Tsukiyomi, and Susano are expelled from Izanagi's eyes and nose.

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In the Kojiki version of the myths, thats the last we hear of Tsukiyomi, and there are very few shrines to him in Japan. I've never come across another shrine where all 3 of the kami are represented in the same way as here.

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The mountaintop shrine was known as a place to view sunrise, and a place to pray for safety on sea journeys and for fishing.

There are great views looking down over Hamada as well as down the coast and also inland.

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Its possible to drive to within a few hundred meters of the shrine, and there is a footpath up the mountain that starts behind the University.

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting... had not heard the myth of Tsukiyomi, but then again i don't have a copy of Kojiki either! ?:-)
    You're very lucky to be able to visit these shrines. What's your favourite mountain shrine?

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