Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kibitsuhiko Shrine

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Kibitsuhiko Shrine is at one end of the Kibi Bike path near to Bizen Ichinomiya Station where bikes can be rented or dropped off if coming from the other end. The shrine is about 1k from Kibitsu Shrine which is the Ichinomiya (first-ranked shrine) of the old Bitchu province. Kibitsuhiko Shrine is the Ichinomiya of the old Bizen province.

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The shrine is also known as Asahinomiya as the building are lined up with the sunrise and sunset of summer solstice.

The main kami enshrined is once again Kibitsuhiko, one of the sources of the Momotaro story. Also the mythical/legendary 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Emperors are enshrined here though I suspect that they may have been a Meiji era addition.

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Traditionally the Japanese did not enshrine emperors as kami. Other than the case of Ojin who became equated with the kami Hachiman through an oracle, and a couple of emperors who died violent deaths and were enshrined in a buddhist procedure, all the emperors now enshrined as kami were done in the modern era of State Shinto/ Emperor worship. Some of the biggest shrines now, Meiji Jingu in Tokyo, Heian Jingu in Kyoto, Kashihara Shrine in Nara, are all modern creations.

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In the grounds of the shrine is a stone lanterm 11.5 meters tall. Possibly the biggest stone lantern in Japan.

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There is also an old, large sacred tree, but on closer examination it turns out to be mostly concrete. Most of the tree died with some form of rot so to keep it standing the rotten part was filled in and sculpted with concrete.

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