Friday, April 5, 2013

Kushida Shrine


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Kushida Shrine is the most important shrine in Hakata. Founded in 757 when Hakata was the main port for official international travel and commerce. Being an urban shrine it is quite compact but there is a lot to see.

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On display is a "float" from the hakata Gion Yamakasi Matsuri, one of the great festivals of Japan. 10 meters high these floats are no longer used because of overhead power lines, but during the first 2 weeks of July ten of them are put on display around Hakata.

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Inside the main hall are half a dozen or so big tengu masks with particularly long noses. there are also soem nice carvings in the building itself.

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The main kami is Ohatanushi, I believe the ancestral kami of one of the priestly lineages from Ise. Amataerasu and Susano are also enshrined.

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There are dozens of smaller shrines in the grounds, among them Inari, Matsuo, Suwa, Konpira, Awashima, Tenmagu, and Ebisu.

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There is a huge Camphor tree, said to be 1,000 years old, and 2 stone anchors which is claimed came from the invading Mongol fleet but which are in fact from Chinese merchant ships.

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