Thursday, March 4, 2010
The full name of Sai shrine is Sainiimasuomiwaaramitama Shrine. It enshrines Omiwa Aramitama, the spirit of the sacred mountain Mount Miwa. It is an affiliate shrine of the great Omiwa Shrine, and is located right next door, close to the southern end of the Yamanobenomichi in Nara Prefecture.
Mount Miwa has been sacred since ancient times, and is an example of a "kannabi", a mountain where the kami resides IN the mountain, rather than descending onto the mountain. After ceding "Japan" to the Yamato, Okuninushi settled in Mount Miwa, and 5 of his relatives from Izumo inhabited other mountains surrounding the Yamato Basin, and it seems most likely that the concept of kannabi is from Izumo
It is possible to go up on the mountain, though there are many restrictions. There are about 6 periods during the year when it is forbidden, but the rest of the time you pay a fee of 300 yen, put on a white sash and begin the climb here. No photography or eating is allowed, and you can only spend 3 hours.
The spring at the shrine is renowned for its healing qualities.
Kotoshironushi, Okuninushi's son, is also enshrined here.