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Ukishima Kumanomasu Shrine(浮島熊野坐神社) Kashima-town Kumamoto ~Worships two gods who are believed to create Japan~

Have you studied mythology of your country in your life?

Some of you may think why I ask you this question. 

In Japan, we have 古事記(Kojiki) which is the book edited in 6th century by 太安万侶(Oo no Yasumaro).

Source : Wikipedia

It’s the oldest history book which tells us how all the Gods in Japan were born and how Japan was created.

(Unlike Christians, Japanese believe in the existence of myriads of gods and deities.)

I had no idea about the book or even the mythology in Japan before.

But the more I visit places and learn about them, I realized that historical places and even region’s names came from the mythology.

Unfortunately, we don’t learn our mythology at school anymore after the World War Ⅱ because GHQ had reached the conclusion that the mythology contributed us to go on the extreme way.

Source : amazon.co.jp

Source : amazon.co.jp

A few weeks ago, I read Kojiki and found it quite interesting. I realized how close we live with it.

Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto

This time, I’d like to introduce you the shrine called 浮島熊野坐神社(Ukishima Kumamonasu jinja, means Ukishima Kumanomasu Shrine) in Ukishima, Kashima-town.

Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto

Ukishima Kumamomasu Shrine worships two grand Gods who were the first husband and wife in Japan and are told to have created Japan.

Ukishima Pond, Ukishima Kumanomasu Shrine and the surroundings are affectionally called “浮島さん(Ukishima-san)” by locals.

Source : https://messeid.exblog.jp/3713007/

“浮(uki)” means floating whereas “島(shima)” stands for an island.

Ukishima Kumanomasu Shrine is not on an island but on the peninsula.

But from some point, the shrine looks like it’s on an island.

Ukishima Kumanomasu Shrine(浮島熊野坐神社) in Kashima-town Kumamoto

The origine of 浮島熊野坐神社(Ukishima Kumanomasu Shrine), Kashima-town Kumamoto.

Ukishima area used to suffer the poor harvest because of the marsh land.

In 1001, 井王三郎直久(Iou Saburou Naohisa), who had ruled the area, had prayed to God for days and nights, wishing they would gain more crops.

One day, a dog appeared in his dream and asked him to dig the north part of his house. Once Iou dug, water gathered from marsh lands and the water became a pond next to the house.

Thanks to this, all the marsh lands turned into farmland and the locals were very happy.

Now, Kashima town is famous for all kinds of crops and fruits.

Ukishima Pond is around 3 hectares and generates 150,000 tons a day, which account for the majority of spring water in Kashima town.

The water is soft water and the temperature is 18℃ throughout a year.

You’ll notice how the water is clean and clear.

It was noted one of the best 100 waters in Japan.

Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto

You’ll enjoy various wild life of forests and pond.

There are many birds, such as little grebes, river kingfishers, ducks etc.

What good luck you’ll get by praying at Ukishima Kumanomasu Shrine. ~Learn about Izanagi & Izanami, the first couple who are told to have created Japan~

Ukishima Shrine worships イザナギ(Izanagi(male)) and イザナミ(Izanami(female)), who are Gods and the first husband and wife in Japan.

Source : Wikipedia

It is told that they had created Japan and had a lot of children who were also Gods.

Izanagi and Izanami were very close and a happy married couple. So this shrine brings good luck with matchmaking, happy marriage, be blessed with children, etc.

Also there is an interesting story about Izanagi and Izanami.

When Izanami was giving a birth of the God of Fire, she got severely burned and died at the end. Izanagi was in deep grief and desperate.

One day Izanagi made up his mind to visit 黄泉の国(Yomi no kuni) which means the World of the Dead.

In front of the gate of the World of the Dead, Izanagi spoked to Izanami, “I love you very much and I can’t live without you. Let’s go home together. We haven’t finished creating the country(means Japan) .“

Izanami answered “Why didn’t you come earlier because I’ve already eaten the food in this world. I became a resident of the World of the Dead and can’t go home anymore.” 

But Izanami told Izanagi that she would ask the God of Death so wait for her. More importantly, never come in until Izanami says ok.

Izanagi promised to wait outside of the gate until Izanami came back.

Even though Izanagi waited for a long time, Izanami hadn’t come back.

Izanagi worried about Izanami and broke the promise and entered to the World of the Dead.

Since it was pitch-black, Izanagi broke one tooth of his comb and put fire on it. (By his behavior, seeing one lit of fire is considered to be bad luck in Japan).

Izanagi saw Izanami’s dead body which was decomposing and surrounded by 8 Death Gods.

Izanami got very angry because Izanagi broke the promise. Also she was so sad and shamed because she didn’t want her husband to see her look.

Izanami got raged and let 黄泉醜女(Yomotsushikome, who is a female demon looking very ugly and scary) go and catch Izanagi.

Izanagi kept running and running. He fought with Yomotsushikome and tried to escape from her.

Izanagi managed to run away from her but soon later the 8 Death Gods came and tried to catch Izanagi.

He was able to run away and reached to the point between the actual world and the World of the Dead.

Finally, Izanami came and tried to capture her husband.

Izanagi decided to seal the point with a huge rock, which was told that it needed 1000 people to move.

He moved the rock only by himself and put the rock between the two world.

Izanami got furious and spoke to her husband,  “My dearest husband. If you do such brutal thing to me, I’ll kill 1000 people in your world everyday.” 

Izanagi answered “My dearest wife. If you kill 1000 people everyday, then I’ll create 1500 people everyday.”

After that, Izanagi and Izanami walked on different paths in their lives.

After coming back from the World of the Dead, Izanagi realized that he was defiled. Approached to the river and took into the sea.

After that, going into the sea to purify ourselves is called “禊(Misogi)” which means purification ceremony.

Nowadays, instead of going into the sea, we use salt for purification.

For example, in 相撲(Sumo) games, Sumo wrestlers sprinkle salt before a game for purifying the place.

Source : http://blog.livedoor.jp/hrtk8/archives/6534015.html

Also, after coming back from funerals, we sprinkle salt and put some in front of an entrance, so that we believe ghosts can’t enter inside of our houses.

Ukishima has clear spring water, many people visit there and pray to ward off bad lucks.

Because Ukishima Kumanomasu Shrine looks like floating on the Ukishima Pond and don’t soak in water even with typhoons, it’s expressed as “not going down” .

So people who have their own business, salesmen, students etc. come to get good luck of numbers.

The priest of Ukishima shrine loves riding a bicycle over 20 years. So he made charms for safety driving and many bicycle lovers from all around Japan visit the shrine.

Source : https://www.ukishimajinja.com/cn16/cn43/omamori.html

As I mentioned, Izanagi and Izanami were the first couple and they were told to create Japan and a lot of Gods.

So people visit to attract many kinds of good lucks.

Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto

Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto

Visit Ukishima Kumanomasu Shrine in Kashima-town Kumamoto!

As I posted in the last article, the sunrise in Ukishima is a Must-See.

Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto

The sunrise, Ukishima Kumanomasu Shrine and Ukishima Pond create the amazing scenery.

※ Check the article about the sunrise at Ukishima!

浮島(Ukishima) ~Breathtaking Sunrise and Beautiful Pond~  →  http://untappedkumamoto.com/nature/1068

Since the scenery is so beautiful and also mysterious, you might feel that Izanagi and Izanami are there.

Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto

Visit Ukishima Kumanomasu Shrine and get many good lucks!

Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto

【Information and Links】

Official website of 浮島熊野坐神社(Ukishima Kumanomasu jinja, means Ukishima Kumanomasu Shrine)


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