Izumo Oyashiro: A Gathering Place for Japanese Deities
Izumo Oyashiro is a traditional shrine located in Izumo City, Shimane Prefecture, japan. It is believed to be a gathering place for all Japanese deities, making it a significant religious and cultural site in the country. The shrine is especially renowned for its association with the deity of marriage, Okuninushi-no-Ookami, who is believed to create bonds not only between people but also between all living creatures.
The History and Legends of Izumo Oyashiro
Mentions of Izumo Oyashiro date back to ancient times and can be found in the Kojiki, Japan’s oldest existing compilation of history, traditions, and legends. According to one legend, Shinto deities from all across Japan gather at Izumo Oyashiro for a meeting called “Kamuhakari” during the 10th month of the lunar calendar, which roughly corresponds to November in the solar calendar. This meeting is said to bring people together and ensure their happiness. In the Izumo region, this month is known as Kamiarizuki, or the Month of the Gods, while the rest of Japan observes Kannazuki, or the Month without Gods.
Another legend associated with Izumo Oyashiro is the story of Okuninushi no Okami, the host deity of the shrine. Okuninushi is known for his kindness and compassion. According to the legend, Okuninushi saved a white rabbit from his less altruistic siblings who intended to harm it. He delayed his own travels to help the rabbit, which ultimately led to him winning the heart of the beautiful princess Yakamihime. This legend is commemorated in the form of cute, little white statues of rabbits found throughout the shrine grounds.
Exploring Izumo Oyashiro
The Izumo Oyashiro complex is a must-visit for those interested in Japanese culture and spirituality. The complex features four torii shrine gates, each marking a different stage of approaching the main shrine building. Walking on the edge of the shrine approach, lined with magnificent pine trees, is considered a sacred path taken by the deities. It is believed to offer a sense of strong divine energy.
The main shrine building of Izumo Oyashiro is a national treasure. It stands 24 meters tall, although it was previously twice its current height at 48 meters. The shrine is also famous for its large-scaled shimenawa, ropes of straw that are hung in sacred places to ward away evil. The shimenawa rope at Kagura Hall, a part of the shrine complex, is an impressive 13.6 meters long and weighs 5.2 tons.
Getting to Izumo Oyashiro
To reach Izumo Oyashiro, one can start from JR Izumoshi Station and transfer onto the Ichibata bus bound for Izumo Taisha. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes, and visitors can get off at Seimon-mae, the nearest bus stop to the shrine. Alternatively, Izumo can also be reached via Izumo Airport, which has connections to major cities in Japan such as Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka. From the airport, it takes around 30 minutes to reach Izumo Oyashiro by car or direct bus.
The Significance of Izumo Oyashiro in Relationships
Izumo Oyashiro holds great importance for those seeking positive relationships in their lives. It is a popular wedding location for couples who want to have a traditional Japanese ceremony and start their married life with the blessings of the deities. However, the shrine is not limited to romantic relationships alone. It is also a place where people seek to cultivate positive relationships with friends and work colleagues.
Paying respects at Izumo Oyashiro follows a slightly different method compared to other shrines in Japan. Instead of bowing twice, clapping twice, and then bowing once more, visitors to Izumo Oyashiro bow twice and then clap four times before the final bow. This unique ritual is believed to enhance the connection with the deities and bring blessings to the devotees.
Exploring the Surroundings of Izumo Oyashiro
While visiting Izumo Oyashiro, it is worth taking the time to explore the surrounding area. The shrine approach, which stretches for approximately 700 meters from Ichi-no-torii to Ni-no-torii, is lined with numerous souvenir shops and cafes. This is an excellent opportunity to purchase traditional Japanese crafts and sample local delicacies.
One of the highlights of the area is Izumo soba noodles. These noodles are darker in color and served with a black, thick yet sweet soup that sets them apart from other soba dishes in Japan. Several restaurants near the shrine offer Izumo soba, often served in three-tiered containers.
Other notable attractions near Izumo Oyashiro include the Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo, where visitors can learn more about the history and culture of the region. Inasa Beach is another must-visit spot, offering a serene and spiritual atmosphere. The beach is considered one of Japan’s 100 great beaches and is perfect for relaxation and contemplation. Additionally, the Izumo Hinomisaki Lighthouse provides a breathtaking view of the coastal sealine and is the tallest lighthouse in East asia.
Izumo Oyashiro is a significant religious and cultural site in Japan, attracting visitors from all over the world. With its association with the deity of marriage and its role as a gathering place for Japanese deities, the shrine holds immense importance for those seeking positive relationships and blessings in their lives. Exploring the shrine grounds and its surroundings offers a unique insight into Japanese traditions, legends, and spirituality. Whether it’s for a wedding ceremony, a spiritual journey, or a cultural experience, a visit to Izumo Oyashiro is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Address And Maps Location:
195 Taisha-cho Kizukihigashi, Izumo-shi, Shimane-ken