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Due south: Konpira Shrine in Kagawa – Part 4 –

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/20 Traditional Culture, Travel & View point , , ,

Konpira in Kagawa (4)

Konpira Shrine (4)

[“Okusha” or “Oku no Yashiro” (Back shrine)]

583 steps to go from the main shrine to here. (1368 steps in total)

Okusya, the Konpira Shrine

“Okusha” is also known as “Izutama Jinjya”, Izutama shrine.
This shrine was placed near “Ema-den” at first with a different name, but moved to the present location with a new name in 1905.
It was built to worship the guru of “Kotohira honkyou” (Kotohira religion) as “Izutamahiko no mikoto”, who was the fourth master of the shrine (Konpira was also a temple at that time).

The master traveled around Japan to tell people how they should live as humans, to save sick and / or suffering people, as well as devoting himself to rebuild and redevelop the forsaken shrine because of provincial wars, until he died on a stormy day in 1613.
Before he died, he hoped that peace would come to the whole country with the help from the God of Konpira.
He also swore that he would become a god to take good care of people, and would come back to this world as the third generation to make Konpira solid and strong.
Predictably, during the third generation after his death, Konpira had developed more and more.

“Kotohira honkyou” is a new religion, authorized as a religious institution by the government on August 5th in 1969.

[Asahi-sha (Asahi shrine)]

“Asahi” is one Kanji character which means “rising sun”.
If you come here before the main shrine, it means you walked up 628 steps in total.


Asahi-sha from the side, if memory serves.

Many gods are enshrined here including gods who are described as the first three gods in Japan in “Kojiki”, the oldest extant chronicle in the early 8th century:
“Ame no minakanushi” – the very first god in Japan .
“Takamimusubi” – the second / third god, whose daughter is Princess Mohotsu (see this post).
“Kamimusubi” – the second / third god.


The frame of Asahi-sha, the Konpira Shrine

-The frame on Asahi-sha-
The characters are based on the handwriting of a Chinese chirographer, Wang Wen zhi (in Japanese, "Ou Bunchi").
This frame was offered by a Chinese person.

It’s a big shrine about 18 meter (60 feet) high, so many people have mistaken this as the main shrine.
It is said “Mori no Ishimatsu” (see this post), who visited Konpira instead of his boss, believed this was the main shrine and dedicated a “katana” (Japanese sword) here.
You can see the katana in the treasury.

The present shrine was completed in 1837.

Konpira amulet

Konpira amulet

-Konpira amulet with a small Konpira dog figure-

Amulet is “omamori” in Japanese.
You can buy Konpira amulet at the office near the main shrine.

– Omamori –

In Japan, omamori usually means a hexagon amulet laced up and covered with cloth.

Omamori image

-Image of general omamori-

There are several kinds of omamori to wish for;

  • Good health
  • Economic fortune
  • Love, successful pregnancy, easy delivery
  • Academic achievement, passing exams
  • Safety – family, to avoid traffic accidents, safe travels
  • Avoid bad luck
  • General good luck
  • Other specific good luck like a good harvest

To know what omamori is for, you have got to read the letters stitched on it.
On the Konpira one I have, the name of the shrine “Kotohira-guu” is stitched, so this is not for specific wish but for general luck.
I assume that common ones are for academic achievement (passing exams), easy delivery and general good luck.

You can buy omamori both at shrines and temples.
Its protection supposed to last for a year, so many people buy omamori at New Year’s and then on the following year, give it back to a shrine / temple to be burnt and buy new one.
A new, clean omamori is supposed to have more power of god (or Buddha) than an old and dirty one.
The more it gets dirty or is exposed to bad energies of this world for a long time, the more god’s power gets weakened.

If you buy omamori for a fixed-term wish like “goukaku kigan” (wish for passing exams), give it back when you know the result.
It does not matter whether your wish is fulfilled or not, and if a year has passed since you bought it.

To give back omamori, it is best to bring it to the place where you bought it.
But if it’s difficult, you can bring it to another shrine if you bought it at a shrine.
If you bought it at a temple, then you should find another temple of the same religion.
Or you can send it to the shrine / temple by post.



Related posts:
#Konpira(1) (2) (3)

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A Japanese living in Okayama. A proud "Otaku"! Loves animals, snacks, manga, games (PC, iPad, Nintendo DS, PSP), foreign TV dramas, traveling and football (soccer).

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