Miyajidake Shrine

Miyajidake Shrine (宮地嶽神社) is located in Fukutsu city, Fukuoka Prefecture. Based upon Japan chronicles, Kojiki/古事記 and Nihon-shoki/日本書紀, the shrine is said to be founded around 1,700 years ago when Empress Jingu/Okunagatarashihimenomikoto (神功皇后/息長帯比売命) stopped by at Mt. Miyajidake for praying a victory of conquering the southern part of Korea (although there is no historical evidence supporting her reign in Korea. See this link for more detail). The deities to whom Empress Jingu prayed for triumph were Munakata three sisters, "Tagirihine (タギリヒメ)", "Ichikishimabine (イチキシマヒメ)" and "Tagitsubine (タギツヒメ).

Currently, Empress Jingu is enshrined as a main deity and Katsumura-ookami/勝村大神 (藤之高麿) and Katsuyori ookami/勝頼大神 (藤之助麿) are also enshrined as supporting ones. The two supporting deities are considered to be the local clan reigning around Mt. Miyajitake who went to Korea to support Empress Jingu. However, enshrined deities varied with eras...  

At Miyajitake shrine, there are three objects that are ranked the first place in Japan.

The first one is the biggest shinenawa (注連縄). It is 11 meter long with a diameter of 2. 6 meters, weighed at around 3000 kg. It is replaced annually.

The biggest shimenawa in Japan
The second one is the biggest drum/taiko (太鼓) with a diameter of 2.2 meters. Well to be strictly precise, there is drum that is even bigger than this but the shrine claims that their taiko is the biggest that is made of all Japanese materials.
Image from Miyajitake shrine HP
The third object is the biggest bell, weighed at 350 kg that is donated by an ardent believer.

Image from Miyajitake shrine HP

Below is copy&paste the text from shrine's HP. When you have a chance to visit the shrine, why don't you try to find "shining rubbing black cow?"

In Japan, there’s a folk belief that if you stroke a statue of a seated cow, your illness will be cured. This statue is called “nade-ushi (stroking cow)”. It’s believed that your illness will be cured by stroking a nade-ushi statue at the same part of the body where you have the illness. While many shrines across Japan have this nade-ushi, our shrine’s nade-ushi is tiny and cute. It sits quietly in a special place in the vast premises of the shrine. Please try to find our nade-ushi!

The precinct of shrine is quite vast. I spent more than 2 hours there, although there was a constant rainfall there. To be honest, I didn't care above-mentioned three No.1 objects in the shrine... What I wanted to see there was the ancient grave (Kofun/古墳 in Japanese), named Miyajitake Kofun (宮地嶽古墳) that is presumably made in 6th century. I will post part two entry in the future... so stay tuned!

To be continued...

P.S. Official English shrine booklet is available here!

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