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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Hofu Tenmangu

Hofu Tenmangu (防府天満宮), located in Hofu city (防府市), Yamaguchi Prefecture (山口県), is one of the three main shrines dedicated to Tenjin (天神), Michizane Sugawara (菅原道真). The other two major Tenmangu include Kitano Tenmangu (北野天満宮) in Kyoto and Dazaifu Tenmangu (太宰府天満宮) in Fukuoka.

Rohmon Gate (楼門)

The shrine claims to be the oldest Tenmangu estabiished a year after the death of Michizane Sugawara in AD 904. The precinct of the shrine is believed to be one of the places where Michizane Sugawara stopped by when he was exiled to Dazaifu (太宰府) where he passed away in 903. Fujiwara clan members who plotted his downfall believed that Michizane passed away with grudges...


The first Torii gate
Soon after his death the Kyoto citizen in the capital suffered from natural disasters. Since the dehydration persisted since his death, the ritual ceremony to pray for rain took place in June 26th, 930. After the praying dark and thick clouds appeared and covered the Heian capital. 

In principle, the ceremony was successful!!! 
Except the following unexpected incident...


Shimenawa pillars
An after the long-awaited rainfall, the palace was struck by lightning, resulting in several casualties who grabbed the power in the palace. Three months after eyewitnessing the unprecedented disaster, Emperor Daigo passed away.  Based upon the "coincidence", Michizane is worshipped as Tenmandaijizai Tenjin (天満大自在天神).

In AD 909 Tokihira Fujiwara (藤原時平), who expelled Michizane, passed away at the age of 39. Besides epidemic diseases were rife all over. Prince Yasuakira (保明親王), the second son of Emperor Daigo, passed away in AD 923 and his son, Yoshiyori (慶頼王), grandchild of Emperor Daigo, passed away, too in AD 925.



The statue of cow is always somewhere in Tenmangu shrine because there are several folklore saying that "Michizane's Chinese animal is cow", "He had a ride in cow when he was exiled to Dazaifu.", "He loved cow and was loved by cow.", "Cow saved him from assassination.", "The place of Dazaifu Tenmangu was assigned by his cow.", and s on... Cow is considered as a Messenger of God" in Tenmangu shrines.


Tenmangu is located in the Hofu city center and contributed to the development of the town since its foundation.




Panoramic view of the town is all yours (free of charge)!





Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hakozakigu Ikejimaden

This is a part two entry of Hakozakigu (筥崎宮) in Fukuoka Prefecture. 


To the east, there are complex of auxiliary shrines called sessha (摂社). Myriad of hanging straw sandals were hung up there, which caught my attention...


From right to left Ikejima Palace (池島殿), Takeuchi shrine (武内社), Otokogu Palace (乙子宮), Sumiyoshi Palace (住吉殿), Inari shrine (稲荷社)
Enshrined deity in Ikejima Palace are Kagutsuchi (賀具土命), Okutsuhiko (奥津彦命) and Okutsuhime (奥津彦姫). The name of the Palace, Ikejima came from the fact that there used to be a pond (ike/池) and an island (shima or jima/島) in the pond. 

As far as I know Kaguchuchi is a god of fire, however, here Kaguchuchi has been worshipped as a deity of healing diseases related to feet and hands. It makes sense that people who suffer from limb diseases come to visit there and pray. When the disease is cured, they deposit straw sandals...

The remaining deities, Okutsuhiko and Okutsuhime, are also know to be the deity of fire in cooking stove... They are all related to fire somehow...

The annual ritual ceremony (池島殿祭) takes place on the 27th of June (starting at 11 AM).