Thursday, August 5, 2010
The small shrine on Bentenjima (Benten Island) enshrines the female kami/goddess Benten, sometimes known as Benzaiten. Associated with water, and sometimes equated with Ichikishimahime, Benzaiten is the only female among the seven lucky gods of Japan.
Originally the Hindu Goddess Saraswati, introduced into Japan through Buddhist sutras, so one can find both shinto shrines and buddhist temples dedicated to her.
Benten Island itself is actually just a big rock on Inasa beach, and in the Kuniyuzuri myth the rock was thrown here by Takemikazuchi while engaged in a competition of strength with one of Okuninushi's sons.